17
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
221 tasting notes

The aroma of the leaves is faint, if you bury your nose right in the tin you can make out a hint of chocolate. The resulting infusion has a promising hazelnut on the nose, but falls flat on the first sip. A smooth, medium-bodied black tea with a ghost of chocolate flavour, which I could just be imagining due to my desperation to taste something, anything!

This is the second Harney & Sons tea that I’ve tried that hasn’t had much flavour to it, contrary to the other tasting notes, so I’m starting to wonder if this is a freshness issue. The leaf is packed loose in the tin (other companies I buy tins from will seal the tea in a bag inside the tin) and there is a best before date for August 2010. A “packed on” date would be much more helpful to me really, is this tea a year old or 5 years old? Just how airtight are the tins? Why isn’t there a decent stockist here? Why am I poking around on Steepster instead of sewing my dress?
So many questions, I’m not sure there are answers…

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Doulton

I’m sorry that you’ve had a bad experience with Florence. I think it’s one of the richer teas out there. I recently tried a tea that has a great reputation and many accolades and I suspected that something had happened to the tea. Somebody perhaps kept it in a plastic bag on a hot windowsill or found it in an attic. I heard someplace—cannot remember where—that the numbers on the Harney’s tins, which appear to be dates, are actually some sort of production number.

But maybe that’s an urban legend.

~lauren.

Oh, so sad that you didn’t enjoy this tea – it’s one of my favorites! But maybe you are onto something with the expiration date. Are you ordering directly from Harney & Son’s website or another provider (e.g., Amazon)?

Cofftea

Whoa… I almost took a double take on this rating. Too sad! :,(

Miss Sweet

There is a printed sticker on the bottom of the tin which actually says “best before”, but again its frustrating not knowing how long they think their tea is good for!
I buy from a local department store that carries a range of the Harney teas, I suspect it probably has something to do with the tea not being sealed properly inside the tin, shortening its shelf life. They have a NZ based distributor, but if I buy direct from them it will be the same tea that the department store gets.
I’m so bummed, this tea sounds like its meant to be really delicious and I just wasted $20! :(

Cofftea

You could always try sending Emeric a PM.

~lauren.

Totally off topic (my apologies, you must hear this all the time) but I saw LOTR I, II, III and fell in love with NZ. One of my kids went there to visit and came back with amazing landscape photos from the ground & air! The other one only made it to Australia but didn’t to NZ :( Simply lovely!

Cofftea

I have a friend (one of my ex’s actually) who’s grandfather and aunt live there- they were there for Christmas.

~lauren.

I would love to visit – but it’s an 18 hour flight! Can you imagine being on a plane for 18 hours?

AmazonV

I am sad that it seems to be falling flat for you and i like how you point out the packing vagueness – it is hard for you to gauge the freshness of it – any idea on how bad the cost would be to ship you a sample size? those are plastic mylar sealed bags…

Miss Sweet

Haha yeah I hear the LOTR thing a lot. You get used to 18hr+ flights living here and wanting to travel anywhere, being so isolated from the entire world has a lot of downsides!

@AmazonV I’m not sure the main Harney site ships here, will have to get in touch. Interestingly enough the refill bags for the tins are much cheaper than from the NZ distributor, shipping costs would probably make it similar costwise but I’d be guarunteed freshness. Oh the things I have to do for decent tea!

SoccerMom

Miss Sweet, Some of the H&S teas do come bagged and in the tin. I have ordered from them several times and on one of my later orders (Lung Ching) it was bagged inside the tin.

Miss Sweet

@Mike_Harney Wow thanks so much, have flicked you an email!

@SoccorMom Oh good to know- I’ve never bought the loose leaf before, maybe they’ve changed how they package the tins :)

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Doulton

I’m sorry that you’ve had a bad experience with Florence. I think it’s one of the richer teas out there. I recently tried a tea that has a great reputation and many accolades and I suspected that something had happened to the tea. Somebody perhaps kept it in a plastic bag on a hot windowsill or found it in an attic. I heard someplace—cannot remember where—that the numbers on the Harney’s tins, which appear to be dates, are actually some sort of production number.

But maybe that’s an urban legend.

~lauren.

Oh, so sad that you didn’t enjoy this tea – it’s one of my favorites! But maybe you are onto something with the expiration date. Are you ordering directly from Harney & Son’s website or another provider (e.g., Amazon)?

Cofftea

Whoa… I almost took a double take on this rating. Too sad! :,(

Miss Sweet

There is a printed sticker on the bottom of the tin which actually says “best before”, but again its frustrating not knowing how long they think their tea is good for!
I buy from a local department store that carries a range of the Harney teas, I suspect it probably has something to do with the tea not being sealed properly inside the tin, shortening its shelf life. They have a NZ based distributor, but if I buy direct from them it will be the same tea that the department store gets.
I’m so bummed, this tea sounds like its meant to be really delicious and I just wasted $20! :(

Cofftea

You could always try sending Emeric a PM.

~lauren.

Totally off topic (my apologies, you must hear this all the time) but I saw LOTR I, II, III and fell in love with NZ. One of my kids went there to visit and came back with amazing landscape photos from the ground & air! The other one only made it to Australia but didn’t to NZ :( Simply lovely!

Cofftea

I have a friend (one of my ex’s actually) who’s grandfather and aunt live there- they were there for Christmas.

~lauren.

I would love to visit – but it’s an 18 hour flight! Can you imagine being on a plane for 18 hours?

AmazonV

I am sad that it seems to be falling flat for you and i like how you point out the packing vagueness – it is hard for you to gauge the freshness of it – any idea on how bad the cost would be to ship you a sample size? those are plastic mylar sealed bags…

Miss Sweet

Haha yeah I hear the LOTR thing a lot. You get used to 18hr+ flights living here and wanting to travel anywhere, being so isolated from the entire world has a lot of downsides!

@AmazonV I’m not sure the main Harney site ships here, will have to get in touch. Interestingly enough the refill bags for the tins are much cheaper than from the NZ distributor, shipping costs would probably make it similar costwise but I’d be guarunteed freshness. Oh the things I have to do for decent tea!

SoccerMom

Miss Sweet, Some of the H&S teas do come bagged and in the tin. I have ordered from them several times and on one of my later orders (Lung Ching) it was bagged inside the tin.

Miss Sweet

@Mike_Harney Wow thanks so much, have flicked you an email!

@SoccorMom Oh good to know- I’ve never bought the loose leaf before, maybe they’ve changed how they package the tins :)

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An earl grey sipping, Sinatra swooning, retail management maven from New Zealand, planning to take over the world with tea, one charleston at a time.

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