1279 Tasting Notes


Today I was craving Mao Feng, so I decided to brew up a small tetsubin of this selection from Yunnan Sourcing. It is good! I’m finding that texture is as important as taste with many green teas… This one is smooth and silky.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 45 sec 4 g 18 OZ / 532 ML

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John Harney Appreciation Tea #25

My latest H&S order arrived yesterday, and in it was included a sample filter bag of Pomegranate Oolong Iced. It was huge and filled with beautiful whole-leaf TQY scented with pomegranate. I have been toying with the hypothesis that I have some sort of allergy to oolong, but I’ve resolved to find out whether or not this is true by testing several oolongs before hanging my oolong pot out to dry.

In some ways, it makes no sense really: all tea is camellia sinensis, so why would have I have issues with oolong, but not with black, green, white, or yellow teas? Is oolong prepared with the addition of some other ingredient? Or could the concentrations of something in tea be higher in oolong than in other forms of tea? It’s all a big mystery to me.

Anyway, I tried this tea in the sachet version brewed hot a while back with unclear results (my feeling of slight queasiness may have had another source…), so I decided to begin my oolong inquiry with a big batch of this tea cold brewed. I am drinking it right now, and all that I can really say is that it tastes like oolong! The liquor is bright yellow, and I was so impressed at the heft of the infused filter bag that I briefly considered reinfusing it. But I am trying to give oolong a fair shake, so I tossed it instead. So far, so good. I do not feel ill. Only time will tell whether that weird headachey feeling will return to me after consuming all of this tea.

A propos: I do not actually taste much pomegranate in this brew. I taste oolong, oolong, oolong! I believe that I could acquire a taste for oolong, but first I must determine whether or not we are compatible… I should be able to answer that question by the time I’ve tested the six different oolong samples which also arrived in the H&S package. This was the first time that I ever order samples from H&S. They come in attractive black matte envelopes with gold accents, and the size is generous, predictably enough. Their prices are so reasonable, that I usually just order a whole tin of any tea I’m curious about. Not oolong, though. I did not want to have pounds of it on hand, just in case we were never meant to be. We shall see.

In closing this 25 tea tribute, I would like to reiterate how grateful I am to John Harney for all that he did for the world by sharing with us his abundant love of tea.

May he rest in peace.

Iced 8 min or more
Cameron B.

I just ordered a bunch of samples from them yesterday, it’s good to hear that they’re generous! :D I really enjoyed reading about all of your Harney tribute teas. <3


Thanks, Cameron B! Enjoy your H&S haul! ;-)

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John Harney Appreciation Tea[tisane] #24

I haven’t brewed up any Ginger & Liquorice for a while, but I vaguely recalled that it makes a great cold infusion, plus I ate a very complicated meal for dinner—pasta with a sauce made of braised fennel, sauteed garlic, chopped tomatoes, sardines, raisins, white wine, etc—so I figured why not prepare a preemptive dose of ginger?

Who am I kidding? This combination needs no functional pretext to justify its existence. It just tastes very good—provided that one loves both ginger and licorice, which I do.

Very much looking forward to the reinfused batch over ice tomorrow, as the weather forecast says that we’re headed for the 90s…

Flavors: Ginger, Licorice

Boiling 8 min or more 8 g 30 OZ / 887 ML

Oh, that pasta dish sounds delish :-)


It was, TheTeaFairy! Happily there were leftovers…

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John Harney Appreciation Tea #23

I know that I have written a tasting note before for Organic Bangkok, so I must have stowed it under the Green Tea with Thai Flavors profile, since the two are very similar. With one notable exception: these sachets are certified organic, which is not true of the HT tin version or the loose-leaf Bangkok.

Anyway, it’s delicious as usual. I’m generally not inclined to like flavored green teas, but Organic Bangkok (and Green Tea with Thai Flavors) is an exception to the rule. Usually I find one of two problems with flavored greens. Either the base tea is seriously mediocre, or the base tea is good but shrouded by mediocre flavors.

Neither problem obtains in this case. The bancha base is good, but so are the flavors with which it is laced! This version seems a bit less sweet and coconuty than the HT tin version, but I’d have to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure…

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

I am sort of amazed at how many Harneys you have.

Cameron B.

Sort of makes you curious about how many teas are in her cupboard, doesn’t it? ;)


Marzipan and Cameron B.: I have a frightening number of teas. I’ll be undertaking a buying moratium and sipdown initiative just as soon as my Harney Tribute has come to an end.


Perhaps even more difficult to believe is that I actually own many more perfumes than teas. ;-)


Oh! I can relate sherapop, at one point, I was truly addicted to FrangranceX. But I was able to stop ordering every week, and I now use what I already own…plus I found my signature perfume, yes, the ultimate, “the one” the only brand I allow myself to reorder when I’m out… wishing to do the same eventually with tea (but I know it’s never really going to happen!!)


Ok so what is it, the one? I luv parfume, I don’t use much right now because of my severe allergies developed recently. But I spent lots of time reading on FragranceX.


Ok, I get compliments EVERY TIME I wear this. Bought it at $90 in a large dept store the first time, later found it on FranganceX for $40!! It’s Eclat d’Arpege from Lanvin, an irresistible fruity/floral so fresh and light, and yet, everyone seem to notice it, in a good way:-) i like that it’s so feminine and womanly, not one of those overly sweet fragrances.



The Tea Fairy: the good news is that since I became obsessed with tea, I have stopped buying perfume. Having to move was also a wake-up call. All of my chests of drawers and cabinets were filled with perfume! So now I have continued to buy tea, but I console myself that I get to try about 50 new teas for the price of 1 perfume. Really, I have to stop buying tea, too. I received a H&S order only minutes ago. lol. Nothing big, but I wanted to buy the 30th Anniversary tin and also samples of all of the oolongs on sale. I’m still trying to figure out whether it is even possible for me to drink oolong, so after these 6 samples, I should know the answer to that question!

I prefer Arpège to Eclat d’Arpège, but now you are making me want to go try it again! Unfortunately, it’s in the back of my storage space somewhere. That’s why I’m not buying any more perfume—probably ever again. Besides, I have so many beautiful perfumes, and most of the new stuff is synthetic and abstract chemical soup. At least I’m already covered! Here’s a link to my perfume pictures with model HRH Emperor Oliver:


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drank Sencha by Harney & Sons
1279 tasting notes

John Harney Appreciation Tea #22

I was happy to read that John Harney drank sencha every day. That must be why they offer such a nice one. After a lunch of sauteed mizuna with eggs on pita bread and served with sliced fresh tomatoes (all veggies from the local farmers’ market), I realized that only sencha would do. In addition to my supply of filter bags, I had located a couple of errant sachets of this Japanese Sencha from Harney & Sons, which turned out to be the perfect post-meal brew! Dark roasted spinach-scented dried leaves; citrine-peridot, slightly cloudy liquor with just a touch of saltiness, making it the perfect savory meal tea.

I believe that I obtained a handful of these sachets in the red linen wrapped display box. Now that the sencha sachet envelopes from that set are depleted, I’ll probably replenish this tea in the looseleaf form. It’s very good, and that’s coming from someone who has tried many varieties of sencha.

Of course, if you dislike sencha, then you won’t like this. But serious sencha aficionados are bound to like this classic selection.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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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

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drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
1279 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…

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drank Mint Verbena by Harney & Sons
1279 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.

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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

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John Harney Appreciation Tea #17

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

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Update: 28 September 2014.

On the above date, I officially went on strike and stopped posting tasting notes at Steepster, having endured more than two months of this site’s complete and utter dysfunctionality.

Today is November 1, 2014. I write now to announce that I’ll be launching my new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves, in the not too distant future…

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



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