13 Tasting Notes
This is one of my favorite tea companies in the world! It is truly a family-run company, with John Harney Sr.’s sons traveling to India, China & Japan to find tea to bring back to their cafe, tasting room, and wholesale business.
I was at their tasting room in Millerton, NY, and had to get this tea (along with a few others).
Being from Darjeeling (most Earl Grey varieties are from Assam, Keemun, or Ceylon, depending on the brand), this Earl Grey is delicate yet crisp. It has no smokiness like some Earl Greys, and the bergamot is suitably balanced. Not too much on the citrus, but certainly detectable.
All around, this tea hit the mark. It’s a great tea to get the morning started, to continue the day, or to lounge around at night. It feels appropriate always. This tea is fantastic without any additions. Try it!
It’s easy to bash on the big bad corporations, but when Tazo (wholly-owned by Starbucks) upgraded its teas from fannings in fabric tea bags to whole leaf in sachets, they drastically improved their product. This updated Earl Grey is more on the smokey side than it is citrusy, and I appreciate that. If it was strong on the bergamot, it wouldn’t go as well with additions at the condiment bar, since Starbucks usually doesn’t have lemons handy. It also gives you the option of making it into a latte, where the smokiness shines.
Try it iced before the summer ends. Order it as follows:
“Short earl grey, 2 tea bags, venti cup of ice.” Make sure the water is filled to the top of the short cup, and make sure the venti cup is filled to the top with ice. Steep as recommended below, and add sweeteners (if desired) while hot. Once dissolved, pour over ice, and either add cold milk on top, or add more water to fill the cup up. Either way, it’ll be perfect! I have made this drink a couple of hundred times, without fail.
In general, I like Numi Tea. I think they have decent quality, that tastes good, and their packaging is appealing (yes, I do judge books by their covers).
This tea is average. But I can’t say for sure, because my water is very metallic right now, and everything tastes like a hose. That doesn’t help delicate flavors one bit. I’m going to give this tea the benefit of doubt and give it a halfway decent review.
I’m a big fan of Pu Erh. The Chinese consider this stomach medicine, and as the middle class grows in China, Pu Erh is becoming increasingly popular. This is a problem for us in the West, as supply is limited to start with, and demand is increasing in China and abroad, so supply will be further limited.
That being said, this tea is OK. Some of the flavor qualities of Pu Erh come from compressed cakes of tea, that allow minimal fermentation to take place. This tea is all loose.
Packaging is a bit over the top, and also underwhelmed. The external storage is a hollowed out bamboo container, but inside it’s a plastic bag that can’t be resealed. No logic in that. I look like a drug smuggler when I take this tea out of the package.
The tea itself, when I made it as described, was pretty good. It didn’t have the pungent flavor and scent that is typical to black Pu Erh. It did have a deep red color, and was still enjoyable enough.
This is the record holder for most expensive tea ever sold on the Indian tea market in Calcutta (Kolkata). I was fortunate enough to visit Makaibari estate last Spring, and this tea cost me $20 for 50g, from the source! In India, that is quite expensive, especially considering there is no middle-man.
Nonetheless, it was worth every penny. I shared this tea with people for many months, around Europe and home. The reaction on their faces confirmed that even a casual tea drinker can recognize when a tea is incredible. I think I have one serving left.
This tea is remarkable. It’s delicate, and powerful. It’s light and crisp, yet full and lingers. It’s everything. It’s manna from heaven in beverage form. It is as beautiful and special as the region and plantation it comes from.