23 Tasting Notes
An Earl Grey with floral lavender and vanilla. What’s not to like? I actually don’t think I have had a tea with lavender before. Maybe I have had a herbal tea before but definitely not a black one.
It’s supposed to evoke the aroma of a London Fog, a beverage that consists of Earl Grey tea with steamed milk, vanilla syrup and sometimes lavender, so the ingredients in this tea definitely make sense based on this. I don’t know what makes it Victorian, though. According to Wikipedia, the London Fog beverage was invented in Vancouver, Canada in the 1990s, not during the Victorian Era like H&S claims.
The dry leaves smell mainly of bergamot and lavender. In my opinion, there is barely any vanilla here. If I focus really hard, I can perhaps detect a little bit of vanilla, but the bergamot and lavender are the two strongest aromas by far and they are about equally strong. The bergamot is possibly slightly stronger.
The steeped tea smells mostly of bergamot and lavender like the dry leaves, but the lavender is stronger now and the bergamot more subdued. The vanilla is there as well but it’s very faint. The vanilla flavor is not nearly as strong as in their other vanilla flavored teas like Paris, Tower of London, Florence etc.
There is something about the herbacious lavender that makes this tea smell a little like hay or chamomile to me. I don’t why.
When you taste the tea, you clearly get the bergamot and lavender. The vanilla is once again very subdued. I don’t know if the vanilla is supposed to be this faint – maybe I got a bad batch. I guess I will find out when I reorder it.
The black tea base is pretty strong, just like the tea base in their other Earl Greys (EG Supreme and EG Imperial). I would say medium to full-bodied in terms of tea strength.
All in all, this is a scrumptious Earl Grey with strong, herbacious and floral lavender notes and a touch of vanilla. It’s very, very good and is an excellent morning cuppa.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Hay, Herbaceous, Herbal, Lavender, Tea, Vanilla
This is VERY similar to Harney & Sons Paris. Like Paris’ twin. I am not sure if I can taste any difference to be honest and I don’t really get any honey flavor from it. It’s probably there but I have a hard time differentiating between the vanilla, caramel and honey flavors that are in this blend. They all kind of blend together into one thing. But I want to say that out of those 3 flavors I can taste the caramel the most, vanilla the second most and honey the least. The most prominent of all the flavors in the tea is the black currant. I also get some bergamot – more than in the Paris blend, I think. Black currant, caramel and vanilla are the primary flavors all in all, though.
I want to say that Tower of London is more fruity (black currant/bergamot) while Paris has more vanilla and caramel but I am not sure if that is accurate. It says something about stonefruit flavors on the tin which I can’t really taste.
The black tea base tastes the same as the one in Paris, i.e. a medium-bodied and smooth Chinese black tea without much astringency or bitterness.
All in all, this is an incredibly delicious tea from Harney & Sons that’s almost identical to Paris. I can’t really say which I prefer, but if I had to choose I would probably choose Tower of London by a very small margin.
If you already have their Paris blend, I can’t necessarily see the reason to also get Tower of London and vice versa. They are that similar.
Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Black Currant, Caramel, Citrus, Fruity, Tea, Vanilla
A Mounds bar in tea form! So delicious and decadent. It’s kind of similar to the chocolate and hazelnut flavored Florence because of the creamy nuttiness of the coconut which is not too far off the flavor of hazelnut. The dry leaves smell like chocolate, coconut and vanilla. There are pink amaranth petals in this tea which is pretty but they don’t add any flavor to the tea. The chocolate, coconut and vanilla all come through clearly in the steeped tea which is a medium-bodied Chinese black tea. The coconut is especially noticeable in the aftertaste. This tea really tastes like a Mounds bar. I think it would be delicious to drink it with coconut milk to give it even more coconut flavor. So far, I have only tried it with regular milk and I like to have it with a Bounty coconut cookie you can get here in Europe (Bounty is what Mounds is called in Europe).
This is a very decadent, dessert-style tea and probably the most decadent I have had from Harney & Sons so far.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coconut, Tea, Tropical, Vanilla
A delicious, strong Earl Grey. This has a stronger bergamot aroma than their Earl Grey Supreme and the tea base seems to be slightly stronger as well and perhaps a little maltier and not as floral. It’s so strong it’s instantly leaving brown stains on the inside of my white Harney & Sons mug. I like to drink this tea with breakfast and with a good splash of milk.
So far I have tried 3 blends from Harney & Sons that I would categorize as “Earl Greys” (EG Imperial, EG Supreme and Victorian London Fog) and they have all had considerably stronger tea bases than Harney’s other flavored black teas. Is this accurate or is it just me?
All in all, this is an outstanding Earl Grey with a lot of bergamot flavor and a strong tea base to back it up. It’s wonderful and possibly even better than their Earl Grey Supreme in my mind.
I will definitely repurchase this one when I run out. What an incredible Earl Grey this is!
Flavors: Bergamot, Brisk, Citrus, Citrusy, Earl Grey, Malt, Tea
The first thing you notice with this tea is its beautiful color; it’s deep indigo blue with a purple hue. It looks stunning. Apparently, it changes color depending on the hardness (amount of minerals) of the water you brew the tea in. Where I live, we have very soft water and when I brew the tea, it’s a deep dark blue with a purple hue. More blue than purple.
The dry leaves smell mainly like raspberry. I can’t really smell much besides that. It’s a kind of blue raspberry/candy-like raspberry smell.
When you smell the brewed tea, you get more of the lemon and lemongrass coming through and when you drink the tea, you can taste even more of the lemon and lemongrass flavor along with a slight honey note. The candy-like raspberry flavor is still primary, though, but the lemon and lemongrass is almost as strong. There is a very mild acidity at the end of each sip because of the hibiscus but it’s not overwhelming like some hibiscus teas. The body is watery and thin but that’s to be expected from a herbal tea, and there is barely any briskness either.
Overall, I recommend it if you like the idea of a blue/purple colored tea and would like to try a herbal tea flavored with raspberry and lemon. I am not a big fan of herbal teas in general, but it’s pretty good for a herbal tea.
Flavors: Blue Raspberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Honey, Lemon, Lemongrass, Raspberry
This is how I imagine vanilla ice cream would taste if it were a tea. The vanilla flavor is so deep and creamy. It does not have any of that fake vanilla flavor that is used in cheap ice cream. It smells very much like a vanilla bean you just scraped the seeds out of.
In the dry leaves, I get that pure, natural vanilla bean aroma mixed with something that smells a little like apple. So it sort of ends up smelling like an apple puree with vanilla which is very nice.
It’s the same with the brewed tea; I get that natural vanilla bean flavor and apple-like flavor both on the nose and when I drink the tea. Since this tea is decaffeinated, the tea flavor itself is very muted and softened, so I can barely taste any tea underneath the vanilla flavor, which is apparently a Ceylon base. Because the tea flavor is so light, it makes the vanilla flavor stand out, which is nice. Due to the decaffeination process, the body of the tea is also kind of watery and weak – I would call it a light-bodied tea with almost no briskness. This isn’t negative, it’s just an inherent trait of a decaf tea. But the thick, creamy vanilla flavor balances out the light body of the tea base.
I highly recommend this tea if you are looking for a decaf vanilla flavored tea, or just a vanilla flavored tea, period, since the decaffeination process doesn’t make this tea worse in the slightest.
Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Custard, Red Apple, Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla
As promised, a black tea flavored with passion fruit. I don’t think I care for passion fruit flavored teas, at least not this one. It’s not bad, I just don’t have the desire to reach for it when I have 20+ teas that are much better.
The dry leaves have a strong, acidic and tropical passion fruit smell. So strong that it almost hurts my nostrils for some reason. The passion fruit smell in this tea comes across to me as being kind of floral, almost like ylang-ylang or something, which I don’t really like.
The steeped tea has a strong and acidic passion fruit smell too, but obviously not as strong as the dry leaves. The floral smell I don’t really care for is still here.
In the mouth, you get a strong passion fruit flavor first and foremost, along with that floral note, once again. The tea itself is medium-bodied, but for some reason it brews to a lighter brown than most of my other black teas from Harney & Sons.
I don’t have much else to say about this tea. It’s a black tea flavored with passion fruit that comes across to me as being floral which I don’t particularly like. It’s not necessarily bad but not really that good either.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Passion Fruit, Tea, Tropical, Tropical Fruit
This is pretty similar to Hot Cinnamon Spice. It’s Hot Cinnamon Spice with a twist. The predominant flavor is the hot, sweet cinnamon which reminds me of cinnamon flavored gum. The apple is there in the background both in the dry leaves and in the brewed tea but it is not very strong. The apple flavor is like that of apple cider or apple juice. It is not a fake green apple flavor. The apple flavor kind of mellows the hot cinnamon flavor to me, so the cinnamon is not quite as strong or sweet as in Hot Cinnamon Spice.
There is also a flavor in this tea that makes me think of honey for some reason, which really isn’t something I have experienced with Hot Cinnamon Spice. It must be the cinnamon and apple flavors combined.
The orange and cloves which are also supposed to be in this tea are not very noticeable at all.
The flavor of the black tea is completely lost in the sweet, spicy cinnamon flavor and apple flavor. But I would say that the tea itself is medium-bodied. It’s not a bad thing that the tea flavor itself is completely covered up, since it isn’t the point of this tea.
If you love Hot Cinnamon Spice and love apple flavor in tea, then I would definitely give this tea a try. I am not really too keen on the sweet, hot cinnamon flavor that both Hot Apple Spice and Hot Cinnamon Spice has, since I don’t like sugar in my tea. It’s nice once in a while as a change of pace, but I wouldn’t like to drink either of them on a daily basis. The sweet, spicy cinnamon flavor is just too overwhelming for that.
I prefer Hot Cinnamon Spice but not by much.
Flavors: Apple, Artificial, Cinnamon, Honey, Spices, Spicy, Sweet
This tea is packed with Christmas spice flavors: Cloves, cinnamon, orange, vanilla and almond. When I smell the brewed tea, the cloves, cinnamon, orange and vanilla are all about equally strong while the almond flavor is more subdued. On the palate, the orange is more noticeable and is together with the cloves the two most prominent flavors. The cinnamon and vanilla are definitely there too. The almond is still the most difficult flavor to detect. For some reason, I get a chocolatey flavor from this tea even though it does not contain any. It must be the combination of all the different flavors that makes it smell and taste chocolatey.
The Chinese black tea base is medium-bodied and not that brisk compared to an Indian black tea. The black tea base is the same in terms of body and briskness as most of Harney’s other flavored Chinese black teas with the exception of their Earl Grey blends which I find to have a stronger body than their other flavored black teas.
On the back end of each sip, there is a a very subtle warming, spicy feeling similar to ginger or black pepper which builds up as you drink the tea.
This is an excellent Holiday inspired flavored black tea blend with lots of spices, orange and vanilla flavors and is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit, although I like to enjoy this tea at other times as well but especially during winter. It’s a great tea to have with breakfast on a cold winter morning.
Dry leaves, appearance:
Black tea leaves with bright red/orange safflower petals and pieces of orange rind.
Dry leaves, aroma:
I get more orange and vanilla in the dry leaves than in the brewed tea. The cloves and cinnamon are also quite noticeable. The almond is probably the least prominent smell. The dry leaves somehow smell chocolatey to me. The smell of this tea reminds me of a Danish Christmas cake called “honningkage”, literally “honey cake” in English, which contains some of the same spices that are in this tea.
Medium to dark brown.
HRP tin of 30 sachets.
Flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cloves, Orange, Pepper, Spices, Tea, Vanilla
It’s a snowy and cloudy day in Denmark today and this tea is perfect for that kind of weather!
This feels like a proper Irish Breakfast tea – made from 100% Assam. It has lots of malty notes, tannins and some bitterness. But it’s actually a surprisingly subtle bitterness when you think of how full-bodied the tea is. The strength is right up there with the strongest bagged teas: Yorkshire, Typhoo etc. But this feels a little more refined, more aromatic and not as bitter. Unlike bagged teas, this is not dust but small broken leaves.
Harney & Sons’ says that “This tea recalls a time when the teas came from Assam, not Africa; and were small broken leaves, not CTC pellets. So this is a simple tea that can handle milk and sugar well.”.
I definitely agree with that. It is very nice and simple and takes milk and/or sugar well. I appreciate that this is not CTC as I am not a big fan of CTC teas. I have not had that many, but the ones I have had where too strong and not aromatic enough in my opinion.
The brewed tea without milk is a deep dark brown. When you add milk, it looks like milky coffee but with a noticeable red/orange hue. The brewed tea smells like… tea. There are strong malty notes but not much else. This is definitely not a complex tea. It’s simple and straight-forward.
In the mouth, there is a strong maltiness again and it is very brisk, but only has a hint of bitterness. It is more astringent than bitter. This tea is a full-bodied tea for sure. It is so strong that it colors my white mug brown instantly.
All in all, this is an excellent, bold Irish Breakfast tea that fits the bill when you want a simple, plain black tea that goes well with a healthy splash of milk.
I feel like you should be drinking this tea while listening to Thin Lizzy or U2 ;-)
Dry leaves, appearance:
Small broken tea leaves with a few golden specks here and there. 100% Assam.
Dry leaves, aroma:
A very subtle aroma. Smells like a classic, malty Assam.
Deep dark brown with a red hue.
8 oz. loose tea tin.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Malt, Tannic, Tea, Thick