2513 Tasting Notes

drank Hao Ya 'A' by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

Had my first cup this morning. This is a good Keemun tea, but I think I like Winey Keemun by Grace Rare Teas a little better. I detect a woodsy, slightly bitter scent, but I wasn’t getting dark chocolate. I think I would like this tea a LOT more if I lowered the water temperature just a hair and shaved about 30 seconds off the steeping time. Will add a new note when I try that. That being said, I think this tea is supposed to be a bit bracing. After all, it is supposedly on the breakfast table of the Queen of England, and we know how the British usually take their tea – strong, with lots of milk and sugar! I added no milk and only a little sugar to mine. It could grow on me….

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

Okay, so this stuff was making me nuts! There was something about it that I just couldn’t put my finger on! So tonight I did a little experiment. I have seen this tea described as a dessert tea, as sugar cookies, etc. but I was picking up something familiar – and beloved – and I think I have it. This tea reminds me of pure maple syrup. In the best way possible, too. I actually heated a tiny amount of maple syrup, stuck my finger in it and tasted, and alternated tasting the syrup with deeply inhaling the aroma of the tea. As I combined those two experiences, I not only detected some maple scents in the leaves, it also seemed to make me zero in on a bourbon-type aroma in the dry leaves like a fine bourbon vanilla. Just heavenly. Not sickly sweet, at least not to me. This stuff is great. Oh when will my big bag arrive? Sigh.

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

Tried this for the first time tonight. Hubby says buy the one pound loose leaf bag on my next Harney order. It’s that good.

This is my first vanilla tea. I opened the sample pack, and wished I could stick in a spoon and just eat what was in there! It was heavenly. Hubby was intrigued by it. Then we tasted it with a friend. All three of us said, “Oooooo, ahhhhh.” My twelve year old said it was too strong for her -she doesn’t like flavored tea and prefers black tea with milk and LOTS of sugar – so we gave her a re-brew of the leaves and she loved it. This is heaven sent since I can’t handle caffeine at night, and my husband is trying to cut way back on caffeine. Can’t wait to get more….

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

This tea has me confused! I think I like it. I liked trying it. But it isn’t at all what I expected.

I was trying to find a substitute for A Southern Season’s Super China Black Zhen Quo which is as smooth and mellow as a Ceylon, rich and full-bodied without being strong. Golden Monkey comes from the same general area, the Fujian province of China, Wuyi mountain region. The appearance was very similar, but Zhen Quo has a lot of fuzzy golden buds, the fuzziest I have ever seen.

I expected Golden Monkey to be very similar in taste, but it is VERY different. I expected a honey taste from the other reviews I have seen, but I didn’t expect a strong clover honey aroma and taste without sweetness. That isn’t bad, just unexpected. The tea changes as its temperature changes as well.

If you smell the wet leaves, you will note the honey aroma, almost a caramel scent, and the barest hint of smoke. As the tea in the cup cools, you can taste the smoke, but only a little.

I will have to say this is a complex and interesting tea with a lot of personality, but not the smooth and soothing cup to cradle when I need to de-stress that I was expecting. My friend who tasted it with me liked it and felt that it grew more and more like the Zhen Quo in flavor as it cooled. It is worth a try. If you love oolongs, I think this is a black tea you would love.

I think when I make this one again I will use a slightly lower water temperature, as this tea seems too delicate for a full boil.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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drank Earl Grey Supreme by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

I can see why Harney and Sons says that people who try this never go back to regular Earl Grey! I was not a big Earl Grey fan, and when this one came with my tea chest I expected the “Supreme” to mean that they had added a lot of extra bergamot. Not so! They put all the Supreme into the leaves themselves! This is a beautiful base of black tea, oolong tea, and silver tips. I believe Mike Harney’s book said they order Formosa Oolong especially for the base of this tea. The bergamot is a lovely addition, but not overwhelming and only enhances this tea. It isn’t there to cover up the use of inferior leaves, as is often the case with flavored teas. This one will definitely be kept in stock in my cupboard.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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This is not a bad tea. This is one of the first loose leaf teas I bought since we don’t have any real tea shops around here. I bought mine at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. As a first loose leaf tea, I really liked it. It is a good morning cup, not exactly full of nuance but serviceable. My 16 year old has to have a 22 oz. pot by her side to do her algebra each morning and prefers this one to my more expensive, more complex teas. It comes in tea bags, too, but we prefer the loose leaf. It is a small particle size, so don’t steep it too long!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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This one isn’t bad, but reminds of what many companies market as English Breakfast. I do try to steep it a shorter time since the leaf particles are smaller than I usually buy, but today I understeeped it so it is a little bland. Even so, it is more astringent than my favorite pekoe which is Extra Fancy Ceylon Orange Pekoe from A Southern Season. It is more of a strong morning wake-up cuppa than a comforting, round, smooth aaaaah! relaxation tea. A good buy for the price, but I won’t be making an effort to keep it in the cupboard. When this tin is empty I will fill it with Southern Season pekoe!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
2513 tasting notes

Woke up needing a kick this morning, as I was stiff and sore. I chose English Breakfast because this particular one is robust and strong without being overpowering or bitter. This is the loose leaf tea rather than H&S Royal English Breakfast which is in sachets. I did add a little splash of milk and a wee bit of sugar, but that’s just me! It was just what I needed. I like that this EB is all Keemun, that’s right, one hundred percent! I think this must be what a coffee drinker feels like in the morning with their cuppa, so if you are switching from coffee to tea for the lower caffeine and theonine benefits, this might be a good choice for you. I use a shorter steep time to make sure it doesn’t get bitter.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Ruby #18 by A Southern Season
2513 tasting notes

This is a light colored tea and has a light but complex and interesting body. I love this one alone or with a light snack like delicate tea cookies. I would NEVER add milk to this one, but I love it with just a touch of sugar. I guess it makes sense that since this is Taiwan’s only black tea it would behave and taste a bit like an oolong. You can brew this tea at least three times, and it is almost impossible to oversteep it – it just doesn’t get bitter! I read that it should be steeped for 8 minutes on the first steeping, and even after that time was still very light in color. On my second steeping I actually forgot about it and was afraid it was ruined, but it was still delightful! This is one I will not let supplies get low. My youngest child is not a fan of greens or oolongs ( and I am not overfond of oolongs myself) but loves this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about twelve years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

Location

North Carolina

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