983 Tasting Notes


Tea of the morning…..

I purchased another round of 2 oz samples from the Harney Millerton Shop. I love getting tea in 2 oz amounts for sampling. The samples on their website work, but I prefer having a little more time to make my decision about purchasing larger quantities. Sarah was the one who filled my order, and was the one who handled my email correspondence. She was very helpful and very professional. There were questions I sent to the main website that were more easily answered by her at the shop, and I appreciate the extra effort to get me an answer.

Skip this part if you want….it is my mini-rant about online customer service in general. Not specific to Harney. (I was asking about the Black Jasmine and when it might return to stock. I have not yet gotten an answer from the web form inquiry, which I am guessing the person who handles those questions did not know the answer. Sarah asked Michael Harney for me. Sometimes it is knowing who to ask. Also, I wish that whoever answers the web form understands that an ‘I don’t know’ answer is perfectly acceptable! Just answer the inquiry rather than leaving someone hanging! I often wonder if people who have worked customer service in person realize that there is a different way of handling service by correspondence. You need to answer every single email in a timely fashion. If the customer does not get an email response in a few days, it seems like he is being ignored rather than his issue being looked into or it does not have a direct answer….. The “in person” equivalent from the customer’s perspective: You are working the counter, and they are the only person standing there having asked a question, and you are pretending like you did not hear them. )

I am in a spot where I am almost out of my 8 oz. of Malachi McCormick that is my favorite breakfast beverage, so I decided to try a few more options for my breakfast tea of choice before diving into another 8-16 oz. Supreme Breakfast sounded like it would be a good contender as it has higher quality teas of the same varieties that are in my beloved Malachi. I also ordered a few ounces of Eight at the Fort, Palm Court(Titanic)*, Organic Assam, and Irish Breakfast. Let the trials begin!

Tippy Assam and Hao Ya B. This is really good. It is a more refined version of Malachi McCormick. The leaves are finer and I can see the golden tips in comparison to Malachi. The taste is smooth and malty with a touch of smoke and cocoa, plus a velvety mouthfeel. I am glad I have more of this to figure out if I want this one or Malachi. Or maybe 8 oz of each…..which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to simplify and pick one….. I just hope I don’t end up with 5 winners plus the Malachi.

Usual teapot method with a 3 minute steep.

*Surprisingly, my receipt listed it this way, so I am guessing that means Palm Court and Titanic are the same blend. I am so not sorry I bought the Titanic Blend, though. The tin is so pretty.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

2 Emails I sent to Harney were never answered. One concerned my credit card which was used by someone else right after placing an order with them.


Sometimes I wonder if a web form even works when I don’t get answered…. I work in online CS and I see how the customer feels about non-answered emails because some of our customers post on an outside forum kind of similar to this. There does need to be a respect for business hours, but all emails should be answered even if it is just to say for example “we have received your email. Unfortunately we don’t have an estimated time of restocking of x at this point. Mr. Harney is looking for a tea that meets his standards and has not found any.” How hard is that?

So sorry about the credit card thing. Are you sure it could be traced back to them? I have called a few times and gotten great service. If it was as serious as the credit card, I probably would have called.

Electronic CS is a young field and the rules of in person/by phone don’t apply. They need to spend more time on it!


I totally agree with “I wish that whoever answers the web form understands that an ‘I don’t know’ answer is perfectly acceptable! … it seems like he is being ignored rather than his issue being looked into or it does not have a direct answer.” My guess is that when they (an online business) get an electronic communication (email, webform, etc) that they can’t answer right away, they think it’s better to not answer it (and then, the world being ‘busy’ as it is, my guess is they don’t track it to enable them to get back to it at some later date) rather than admit, in same way, shape, or form: “I DON’T KNOW”. I have been a teacher and a trainer for much of my life, and it’s hard to admit it when I can’t answer a student’s question; but I have found, “I don’t know, but I will look into it and get back to you.” to be a much better ‘answer’ (and then to follow up with them, even if the response is, “I’m sorry, I looked but I could not find anything. You may want to try looking here …”) than just letting the question drop. The customer/student may not initially like an answer like, “I don’t know,” but they know at least you were honest (and if you followed up, you made an attempt to find the answer).

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Iced tea of the day……

I made this one by my usual iced tea method. No sweetener, because I am weird in that I only like hot tea sweetened. So, I am surprised at the sweetness in this one! It must be the licorice root. I get sweet, lemony, tart, and a slight bit of mint all rolled up into one refreshing drink. (Luckily the hibiscus in this one is very light and not the main player in the flavor profile!) I am a little concerned, though. It is almost 7pm and there is ginseng in this. Am I going to be up all night again?

I will definitely continue to make this one iced. It is yummy!

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Second tea of the morning… (SRP #25)

Man, I am dragging to day. I was hoping that my fist pot of Keemun would wake me up, but no go. In fact, this one is not helping, either.

As far as the flavor goes, it is good enough. I don’t think this will make the purchase list. The bergamot is strong in this one, but I guess since they were aiming for extra, they hit it in my book. I agree with Cheryl that you can taste the tea in there, but just a little. It is pretty much bergamot tea. Of what I taste in the base, it is a good basic black. I might have to sample their Original Earl Grey next.

Usual teapot method.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

When all else fails, do a mini workout : )
(talking to myself too)

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Tea of the morning…. (SRP #25)

If you like a smokier Keemun, this is the one for you. The leaves are on the short side, kind of like something that is a BOP. Although it is not smokin’ like a Lapsang Souchong, it does have a notable smokey character that is perfect for the morning’s wake me up cup. It has a chocolate note in there, too, and a fullish mouthfeel similar to coffee. I am considering this one, because the smokiness kind of reminds me of my F&M Keemun that I loved while I had it. It is organic, which is a bonus, plus it is a bargain at just under $6 for 125 grams.

Usual teapot method with a 3 minute steep.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Chai by Harney & Sons
983 tasting notes

More tea in the afternoon…..

I have several wrapped bags of this in my stash, so I guess this is a test to see if it will be added to the bagged tea for traveling or edited. I have really only prepared this as a chai in the past, so I really needed to test it as a standard brew in a cup.

It will be saved! But not replaced. I do have to say that as far as bagged tea goes, it is good. Convenience coupled with decent tea are a must when I travel, and this will work. There is a solid black tea base with notes of cinnamon and cardamom. It is not a super spicy blend, but it is very warming and cozy.

The key to bagged tea for me is to be sure I am using the right amount of water (which is 6-8 oz for most bags, and 12 oz for most sachets) and a shorter steep than I would for loose leaf since the teas in the bags are likely more broken up than loose leaf. I know in my pre-loose leaf days, I would use almost twice the water that one bag could flavor well. Ick.

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Tea of the afternoon….(SRP #24)

I added this one to my order because it is an Earl Grey with a Keemun base and one of my favorite Earl Greys is similar. I also love rose teas, so I figured it was worth a shot. I am definitely not disappointed! This is super yummy. The notes of rose and bergamot are a little on the strong side, but it really works with the slightly chocolatey and subtly smokey tea base. Such a perfect afternoon tea! It is a little heavier of a tea than the Rosy Earl Grey from Teas Etc. and I really like them both. If I had to pick one of the two…..well, I don’t, so I won’t go there! I may have to order more of this one and the Earl Grey Jasmine Monkey King…… Not sure how soon that will be, but it is looking like it might be May 31st-ish….. If I still like it by then, I will probably cave.

Usual mug method.

Edit to add…..after a few cups, I decided that I like my other Earl Grey rose blend better. There is not enough cupboard space for two versions!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Tea at elevensies…… (SRP #23)

Mmmmm. Not sure I expected much from this one, but I like it. I think this will probably be in the cupboard someday since it comes from a place I regularly shop and it is currently only $6.80 for 125 grams. (Hmm….I wonder what it will taste like with a little jasmine…..yes, there seems to be a theme running though my tea selections as of late.) Bright bergamot on a smoth green base. Not a hint of bitterness.

Usual mug method, 3 minutes at about 185.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

How does this compare bergamotwise to the Empire Tea version? Upton’s regular EG says it is a light English version. I like my bergamot with guts.


I would not call it light. I like a heft to my bergamot, and this one fits me. I am thinking it will be my replacement for Earl Green at Empire. I am also trying to cup back on extraneous orders. There are times when I order from a place for a single tea, and that seems kind of silly unless the tea in question is unmatchable. Earl Green from ETS is a wonderful tea, but I am not sure it is so much more wonderful than this one….


Thanks. There were no reviews on Upton’s site. I have heard great thing about them in general but was concerned this would be too light so glad to hear otherwise. ETS is within a couple hours for me so once a year I can justify a drive. I actually liked their Ti Kuan Yin better than Teavivre’s.

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Second tea of the morning….. (SRP #22)

This is pretty good. I love coconut teas. I can tell this has a different tea base to the Black Jasmine Cream. This tea base complements the flavor rather than competing with it. I will definitely enjoy what I have in this sample. Sweet and slightly nutty.

Usual mug method.

4 min, 0 sec
Yogini Undefined

Ooh sounds yummy!

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Tea of the morning……. (SRP #21)

Initial thoughts: I am undecided on this one. It definitely comes across as jasmine vanilla, but I think the tea base is too smokey (which does not really mean it is all that smokey, just too smokey for this flavor profile.) When I imagined this tea, I imagined the flavor of jasmine and vanilla on a lighter, sweeter black tea base. This one seems a little heavy. In my opinion, jasmine and a heavy black tea base just don’t seamlessly blend on the palate. I taste the distinct flavors. They did do a good job of matching the depth of the jasmine to the vanilla. I might have to play around with the steeping parameters a little. I did go with slightly lower temps on the water just because there is green tea involved in this blend.

Usual mug method with slightly cooler water.

Edit to add: I am going to try adding some jasmine pearls to my Vanilla Black from Harney. I have a feeling that this one will be rehomed. Surprising, because I love the Earl Grey Jasmine Monkey King.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #20)

Yes, new tea samples from a new company for me. New Mexico Tea Company is currently having a free shipping offer until May 31, 2012. I decided to jump on that and try a few things, so I got this, Black Jasmine Cream, Rosie Earl Grey, and a free sample of Coconut Dream. Since I am on a jasmine and Earl Grey kick, these seemed fitting. They offer their teas in 1 oz amounts for sampling, plus 4 ,8, and 16 oz amounts, and they send a free sample that is probably a half ounce of your request. The service was prompt and shipping turnaround was very fast. The samples are packaged in a silver cello bag with a resealable zip closure. So far, I am impressed. I also ordered a round latch tin that will hold about 4 oz. of tea. I like the tin, too.

This tea is Springtime in a cup. There are jasmine notes intermingled with a light bergamot. It is definitely light and airy, floral and lightly citrusy. I definitely like it!

Brewed at about 160 for 2 minutes by the mug method.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Um, yum?!! That sounds awesome. Since I can’t buy any tea right now my thoughts immediately went to: blend of Empire Tea Services Earl Green, plus some jasmine green tea. Must try that soon!


I’ll have to find this place the next time I go to New Mexico (one of my favorite vacation spots)!

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My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)



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