So I drank this partially because it’s a sample and will be an easy sipdown for my mission, but mostly because I’ve read on a few people’s notes that Mr. Harney has passed away sadly. It’s not much, but a little token of respect. I’ve only just recently started exploring Harney & Sons teas more, and only own a few of their blends, but each one I’ve tried so far has been lovely. I really enjoyed this tea, too, which is truly a testament to how good Harney’s teas really are, as I have vanilla listed on my flavour dislikes. So rest in peace, Mr Harney, and thanks for sharing your teas with the world.
This came in my recent parcel from MissB, and I was curious to try it to see if I can in fact like vanilla flavoured tea (turns out I can!) Although it was a sample and I had only two cups worth, I wasn’t planning on drinking this any time soon. I have some older small samples I was planning on sipping down first. After I heard the sad news, though, I went rootling around my (far too messy) draw for some Harney’s blends and this was the first one I came across. I quite fancied a dessert tea and I couldn’t be bothered to look thorough for another one, as it took quite a while to find this in the first place. It was hanging out with my caffeinated samples, so I was surprised to read that it was decaf. As it turns out, this was perfect as I’d just finished a huge mug of coffee (Starbucks microground Colombian – genius) and didn’t really fancy the jitters. I will have to remember to switch it to my 6pm onwards draw, though.
As I’ve already said and mentioned in previous reviews, I came to the shock conclusion around four months ago that as a flavour in its own right, I am not vanilla’s biggest fan. Because of this, I wasn’t the most excited I could have been to try this tea. This lack of excitement continued right up until the moment I took my second sip. The packet smelled sweet and vanilla-ish, much as expected, and the tea brewed up smelling of Ceylon with a sweet hint. I added a level teaspoon of sugar (for the first time in a while) and a splash of skimmed milk, as I wanted a desserty treat, and the small sip I tried black was too astringent for my liking. After the additions, the whole cup brightened up, and was actually quite lovely. It wasn’t necessarily the strong, almost chemical vanilla flavour I am used to, but instead a more mellow and somewhat creamy and more rounded vanilla which reminded me both of birthday cake and sugared almonds. These two have a common element so I’d hazard a guess that what it most reminded me was of icing, although I swear there is some spongey cakiness in there somewhere, too. Despite how it sounds, it was not at all cloying or sickly – the black tea base actually shines and works as a part of the blend rather than just something for the other flavours to use. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It was delicious though, and whilst my views on vanilla still haven’t changed that much, and I still wouldn’t reach for it every day, it’s nice to know that I can still appreciate a really good vanilla blend.
I’m not quite a vanilla convert, but I will enjoy every last drop of my remaining sample. Thanks for the opportunity to try this, Bonny!