1204 Tasting Notes


John Harney Appreciation Tea #21

The first time I brewed Winter White Earl Grey, I oversteeped and the result was less than felicitous. Today, I kept the steep time short, and the result is very pleasing. On reflection, that principle (mutatis mutandis) may hold for ever decent tea on the planet: it all turns on the preparation parameters. Get them right, and you’ll be satisfied. Get them wrong, and you’re likely to cry foul, when in fact you are at fault!

I have already been noticing that white tea serves as an excellent canvas for flavors. In this case, Winter White Earl Grey lets the imbiber really get in touch with the essence of bergamot: lemony goodness with no sharpness whatsoever. I know, it sounds impossible, but here it is!

I also taste the white tea in this blend. In hot weather such as today’s, I prefer not to have a heavy cream-doused earl grey. This one was just right.

Flavors: Bergamot

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #20

I bought a tin of this Lover’s Leap a few months ago but somehow it got lost in my cupboard. It’s easy to succumb to temptation at the H&S website because their teas are so reasonably priced!

Happy to report that this light-amber liquoring tea is very smooth and refreshing brewed hot on a warm day! It almost has a lemon accent built into it, and so tasted great au naturel (I have already finished my large glass…). The color is gorgeous: yellowish amber, and the infused leaves are torn into pieces and rather green. This is a high altitude Ceylon tea, but I find overlaps with darjeeling as well. Think: darjeeling without the grass and with a dash of lemon added. The dried leaves, too, reminded me a bit of darjeeling, which is why I kept the steep time shorter than I would for a darker black tea.

I would not think to adulterate Lover’s Leap. Its smoothness and fine flavor make this a stand-alone for me.

Flavors: Lemon

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Your H&S stash is seriously impressive!


Thanks mj! I’ve decided to brew up a glass of each variety as my tribute to John Harney. I have a few more to go…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Mint Verbena by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #19

This is not my favorite mint blend, but I was feeling a bit queasy earlier this evening, and I have to say that it made me feel better all around. I definitely recommend it as a “functional benefits” tisane.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


John Harney Appreciation Tea #18

I found a few of these wrapped sachets of Organic English Breakfast tea from H&S (I believe that they came in the beautiful red linen covered gift box), and just noticed that the tea is actually completely different from the HT tin English Breakfast. In this case, the tea is straight organic Keemun. In the HT tins, the English Breakfast is a multi-origin blend.

Well, I prefer this one (although the other one tastes more like my “concept” of English Breakfast). I am drinking this orange liquor au naturel, and the flavor is really nice—as good as some of the haute single origin black teas I’ve tasted recently. But of course that’s what this is: Organic China Keemun!

I wonder why the ratings are lower for this than the standard H&S English Breakfast? Perhaps because this tea tastes less like the English Breakfast we’re all so used to, from Twinings, et al…

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


John Harney Appreciation Tea #17

My second cuppa the day was this tasty reddish-amber liquoring English breakfast tea. I drank it with cream.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Valentine's Blend by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #16

I woke up very late today and so skipped my usual mid-day green tea regimen. Instead, I brewed up a glass of Valentine’s Blend and drank it with a bit of cream. Chocolate and roses and tea are good!

2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


John Harney Appreciation Tea #15

I’ve been mainly preparing loose leaf chamomile since I acquired a big 1 lb bag of it, but now and then I still brew up a sachet. It’s just as delicious and not as messy, plus it’s a good method for portion control. Seriously, I sometimes really go overboard with my loose-leaf brew. I also love to use the spent sachets for eye masks. When my Historic Palace tin is empty (I have a few more sachets), I’ll be filling the gorgeous and generous-sized tin with the rest of my loose-leaf supply.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Yellow and Blue by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #14

This Yellow and Blue is aesthetically pleasing on so many levels. Olfactorily, the lavender and chamomile mingle together most enticingly. The dried tea is visually gorgeous with the cornflower and lavender mixed in with the chamomile. The liquor has a brief yellow opening but then quickly becomes somewhat green—it’s the mix of the blue and the yellow. It becomes a bit more golden after a couple of minutes. The tin is beautiful (it’s one of the HT tins with copper accents and inside and a matte blue outside color with adorable embellishments).

Then there’s of course the taste. This is basically the perfect balance of lavender and chamomile. Very soothing and delicious, too.

Flavors: Flowers, Lavender

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Fruits d'Alsace by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #13

The first time I tried Fruits d’Alsace, I found the brew too weak. Today I weighed out the tea, and the result was much better! Once again, I was able to enjoy a flavored black tea sans crème. I guess that adding cream became a habit after so many scratchy blacks. These ones from Harney & Sons, however, I find to be smooth. They do not need to be camouflaged.

Fruits d’Alsace dried smells exactly like Bonne Maman Fruits Rouges Preserves, with a big emphasis on raspberry! The dark amber liquor does not taste specifically like raspberry to me, however. Instead, this is a red berry-flavored black tea. Very smooth and enjoyable.

Flavors: Berries

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Ahh your tasting notes make me wanna order again! There’s so much to try!


Ost: what I find amazing is the percentage of hits. There are other companies (Teavana, David’s, et al. who produce just as many mehs as marvelous teas. With H&S I seem to like nearly everything!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
1204 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #12

Breaking news: I just discovered that Boston is better than Paris! Seriously, I imbibed this glass au naturel, and it was totally delicious! By force of habit, I reach naturally for cream when I prepare a flavored black tea, but I occasionally remember to take a sip plain before adulteration. Today I discovered that Boston tastes great with nothing added! Now I must increase my rating…

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

I need to try this one for sure :)


Love this one, tastes like strawberries and cream to me :-)


Tamarindel and TheTeaFairy: these flavored teas from H&S are slowly changing my drinking habits. It used to be that I added cream to every flavored black tea, but I find that the quality of the base is much better than usual in these cases.


I agree! I don’t know what H&S is using for their black tea base, but it’s so smooth and blends beautifully with the flavors :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Update: 28 September 2014.

I am officially going on strike. You have lost another contributor, Steepster. Two months is too long to endure total site dysfunctionality. I’ll be writing about tea-related matters at a new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves, from here on out. I cannot waste any more time here.


A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):



Somerville, Massachusetts, USA



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer