97
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
1169 tasting notes

I have been wanting to try this for freakin’ ever and I decided today is The Day.

I expected to smell Frangelico when I opened the sample packet. OMG. It’s not a syrupy “essence o’ nuts” I’m smelling, it’s the nuts themselves. Down to their planty innards! I can almost feel their little round bodies cracking between my teeth. And the slightly bitter smell of baking chocolate. I can see why people are invoking Ferraro Roche (drool), but the thing that makes this different is it isn’t sugary like those little balls of trouble are.

And this is just the smell of the dry leaves, which, by the way, are dark dark dark and look almost soft and beautiful. I’m coming to recognize this as the signature of an awesome flavored black tea.

The liquor brews lighter than I’d expected for some reason. It is, interestingly, a sort of hazel nut color. The “true nut” aroma of the hazel nut seems to have mellowed some with steeping, and blended into the chocolate. Mmmmm.

And the taste is a lot like the smell. It’s quite wonderful plain, but the lack of sweetness in the chocolate seems to beg for milk and something to sweeten it. I was happy to accomodate it. With just a small amount of sweetening, the flavor becomes downright lush. The chocolate moves from the unsweetened taste of baking chocolate to the bittersweet of dark chocolate. With more milk, it would probably move further, all the way to milk chocolate. Three, three, three drinks in one! The hazelnut is an accent; a strong, Italian one, that provides a middle note during the sipping and a reminder on the back end.

I was only in Florence for a few days many years ago, but I loved it. It was unseasonably cool when I was there in the summertime, a welcome contrast to the heat of Rome. My memories are, primarily, of clear blue skies and flowers in window boxes everywhere I turned. I remember going for a run along the Arno, the Uffizi (of course), and the adorable little bed and breakfast we stayed in with its old fashioned cage of a lift and its roof garden where we ate in the morning. I still have the pocketbooks and coat I bought while I was there. Mostly I remember being young and in love, the future stretching ahead like the clean pages of a new journal, waiting to be written.

I’m not sure how much it is the name of this tea that makes me want to buy a pound of it immediately, and how much is how it actually tastes.

Ah youth.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

Lovely memory! I know that feeling well.

Rabs

Absolutely lovely note! Thank you for sharing your memories :)

Ewa

Oh wow, I can’t wait until my shipment comes in! This sounds great! And what a lovely note to go with it!

ashmanra

I’ve been craving this one lately. I agree, it is heavenly with milk and sugar and I almost never use milk and usually only a little sugar with other teas, but this one….ah, this one becomes a decadent treat and you could swear you were drinking a hot chocolate when you sip!

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Comments

Stephanie

Lovely memory! I know that feeling well.

Rabs

Absolutely lovely note! Thank you for sharing your memories :)

Ewa

Oh wow, I can’t wait until my shipment comes in! This sounds great! And what a lovely note to go with it!

ashmanra

I’ve been craving this one lately. I agree, it is heavenly with milk and sugar and I almost never use milk and usually only a little sugar with other teas, but this one….ah, this one becomes a decadent treat and you could swear you were drinking a hot chocolate when you sip!

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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