8 Tasting Notes
Found this Chinese Pu Er at a local Vietnamese market.
Package is cylindrical, ca. 7" tall and 4" in diameter.
Label colors are mostly dark yellow and burgundy/rust with a green and white oval sticker as a safety precaution to show that package has not been opened.
Lid pops off too quickly with a turn.
Mylar bag inside with loose tea. Nothing in package to reclose the mylar bag. Large leaves. Friendly, slightly inviting smell of a light brown, tiny bit fruity pu erh, and the smell of cardboard.
First sip. Mild. Tastes of cardboard.
Wonder how flavor- and smell-protective the mylar is. Cardboard is not.
Second more focussed sip.. Cardboardy taste is very there.
Reminds me of drinking tea made from tea bags that have been exposed to the air for weeks or months.
Gulping from the back of the mouth, to see if different taste buds change my impression. No. The tea still has and leaves a cardboard aftertaste.
There is another taste of a mild, pleasant, very-on-the-cheap-side pu erh.
Not completely undrinkable, but, if someone had a better choice, this one could be used for poultices or compost or ???
I rarely toss a tea after so few swallows. But, this one is now in the trash.
Flavors: Cardboard, Dirt, Dust, Fruity
Surprised by the strong fruity flavor. The puerh teas I have tried have been dark, earthy, dirt, musty and full-bodied, or a pale, light version of those. If someone enjoys fruitiness in the flavors, this tea is fruity.
Tasted at one-minute of steeping: the fruity flavor was markedly there.
Took out tea ball at 4.5 minutes. More of the earth taste I expected, and fruity flavor still dramatically present.
If someone is looking for that very earthy, musty, dirt flavor and texture experience of puerh, I would not recommend this tea for that experience.
If someone drinks flavored black teas, or fruity black teas, then Harney’s Puerh might be an introduction to puerh for them.
For me, this tea is useful for the health benefits of puerh, but will consider combining it sometimes with a plain black tea, such as Harney’s Special English Breakfast.
Might post updates after subsequent tastings.
Have tried this three times since buying a 4-ounce tin.
The multi-faceted bouquet of aroma comes through even with milk.
It seems like a holiday tea to me, with its strong layers of aroma and taste.
It almost seems as though there are added fragrances and flavors, although all that is the tea leaves themselves.
For me, it is not a daily morning tea, due to the plethora of smells and tastes.
If someone cannot drink teas with added flavors and fragrances, and would like to have a tea that has many aromas and multi-layered flavors on it own, this would be a good one to try.
If one wishes a basic, strong breakfast tea, this has so much more going on that the abundance of aroma and flavor might come as a surprise.
Not an extensive review as there are many other reviews.
I bought a four-ounce tin of loose leaf tea.
Steeped 3 minutes to endeavor to discern more than the kickstart factors that come out at five minutes. Still came out kickstart strong.Water boiling. Used Pyrex glass for steeping, and stainless steel mesh ball. Drinking from Corelle glass tea cup.
First cup drunk black to discern what I can.
This is a jumpstart, get-up-and-go tea. Bit of astringent pucker, but mostly full caffeine slam.
Harney’s website states:
Briskness 4 (out of 5)
I agree with that assessment.
Here is the description from Harney’s website:
“Dry Leaves: A mixture of dark brown leaves, the smaller pieces of Assam and Ceylon and Assam CTC (cut, tear, curl) method make for a stronger tea.
Liquor: This is one of our darkest teas, brewing a very dark brown color. Many Scots would lighten it with milk.
Aroma: Aroma is not the point of this tea, so there are only hints of suggestions of malt.
Flavors: Strong and simple, this tea is meant to be drunk with milk.
Caffeine Level: Caffeinated
Body: Full-bodied. A strong, full body is the purpose of this tea, and it delivers. It is perhaps the strongest tea we offer.
Brewing Time: 5 minutes
Brewing Temp: 212º”
I am rating this tea a 98, because, to me, it is exactly what Harney’s states that it is. (Somehow rating teas according to how much I like them does not seem as though it would be very useful to others, as age, diet, DNA, and many other factors determine ability to discern flavor/aroma, texture, etc, and preference. So, I am rating according to how accurate the company’s description is.)
I think this tea would also do very well with cream, or Kerrygold butter, or clarified butter and salt, or to add meat/bone broth, if one is looking for a nourishing winter tea broth recipe.
It is not unpleasant drinking it black, but one can tell the choice of leaves is intended for dairy and perhaps something else to be put into the cup.
If you want a jumpstart tea, this one will do well.
If you are looking for complex bouquet, multi-faceted wonders to enjoy, this is not, in my opinion, the tea for that kind of experience.
I bought Harney’s Special English Breakfast, looking for a replacement for PG Tips which no longer has the flavor and tea experience it had in earlier years.
Using filtered city water, and an electric tea kettle, steeped in Pyrex glass and drunk from a Corelle glass cup. Steeped three minutes.
First impressions: smooth, friendly, pleasant, strong, nice Breakfast Tea kick, bit of a pucker that, to me, calls for milk or half-n-half. But, I give first impressions the respect of drinking them plain.
First report: I will be trying this again and again, to see what steeping time suits me best, and what kind of milk/cream or how much I will add, etc.
The Harney website states that this tea consists of:
“Small dark leaves from the British Commonwealth: India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Kenya.” Harney gives part of the profits from this tea to a charity for low-income people in New York who come from the British Commonwealth….
I am rating it at 95, because, to me, the tea is exactly as described on the website.
From the Harney website:
“Liquor: Dark brown.
Aroma: Light toasted notes.
Flavors: Toast, citrus and hints of dark honey.
Caffeine Level: Caffeinated
Body: Full-bodied. The small leaves make for a strong tea with lots of body.”
Website gives following measurements:
Briskness 4 (out of 5)
Harney says to steep this five minutes. The label on the tin states “4-5 minutes”.
I found that the second cup, with my usual goat’s milk, could have used a longer steeping to take the milk. Just my preference. Others, of course, will have their own preferences.
If someone is looking for a basic, good, get-going tea, I think this one is worth trying. It is not a multi-faceted, multi-layered taste or experience. It is a decent strong cup of tea, which for me, has a place in the tea cupboard.
I bought a four-ounce tin of loose tea, and have ordered another pound.
ETA: Another test: I put a bit of Harney’s Supreme Breakfast in with this tea, which gives this one a bit more flavor and interest, giving it a bit of a “fancy” tea experience.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Citrus, Malt, Winter Honey