1692 Tasting Notes
One of the first fine teas I ever bought was Harney and Sons Royal English Breakfast in the Historic Royal Palaces tin at Barnes and Noble. My youngest daughter really loved it and I bought it several times, but we really got away from making anything but loose leaf tea and she started drinking Vanilla Black or Lapsang teas.
A couple of months ago I asked her to finish up the tin as I was doing a tea clean out. Those last two cups recaptured her heart and she wanted more. What to do? I didn’t want more big sachet tins, and I wanted loose leaf. As I looked at their website I discovered that Big Red Sun and Royal English Breakfast seem to be exactly the same tea!
Harney and Sons even repackaged it for me into the black and gold tin so it would match the others on my tea wall!
I had it with my bagel yesterday and I am convinced this is exactly the same as REB. It was so robust that with my meal it actually tasted fruity. It has that really distinctive flavor that shouts TEA!! early in the morning. Slightly astringent, bold, full of body, yet I was able to enjoy it plain and didn’t have to tame it with milk and sugar. This is a keeper, and I am planning to share this with my new doctor who is from Eritria and loves Kenyan tea. I think he will love it even more blended with this smooth and malty Ceylon.
I am so excited. LOL! I wanted this last year but didn’t get it, and then I gave one as a gift to a friend but I had it shipped straight to her so I never saw it in person.
When I placed my most recent Harney order, I decided to get one for myself and I justified it by saying it as a good way to have a varied assortment for guests. LOL!
Well, it is here, it is adorable, it is handsome, and I would gladly give this as a gift to anyone, even to people who are not as ga-ga over tea as I am.
It comes in a snug cardboard box to protect it. This would also make it super easy to wrap if you were giving it away.
The wooden box is very attractive, super well made, and I couldn’t believe how many little tea bags they managed to fit in it. They are foil wrapped and no aroma is escaping from any, even though I know that a few of these are very aromatic. So that means there will be no contamination of flavors.
I love it, love it, LOVE it! (I already have their large tea chest, and love it, too.)
I bought this to tide me over until my Harney order arrives. It is more astringent than Harney’s but for the price it isn’t bad at all, and went well with my bagel. It smells absolutely awesome when I open my tin. With food, the astringency is subdued and not at all unpleasant, but I do prefer the Harney and Nina’s versions to this one. It is a great value, though.
It’s baaaaaaaack! After two years of not being able to buy this one, they have it on shelf at A Southern Season again. The bad news is, it has gone up to $14.95 an ounce. O.O But hey, I can buy one ounce, resteep like mad, and hoard it until I can afford more.
When I first tried this one I was rather new to oolongs. This tea fascinated me, and it still does. It doesn’t seem quite as alien to me now, though. For a long time I was convinced that something had been added, like perhaps licorice root. (The staff vows that nothing at all has been added.) But now that I have had some really fine TGY teas, mostly thanks to Teavivre, I recognize that this is somewhat similar to those. It is much stronger though, and has a cooling flowery presence that swells each time you inhale, and it doesn’t stop after your finish your tea. I can continue for quite a long time.
This is one I will only drink when I have time alone with my kettle and cup.
Dang, this is good!
I had my leftovers from the Asian buffet today and made a pot just for little old me. I usually steep this twice and combine the steeps in a large pot. I also usually start eating before I taste it. Today I steeped only once and even forgot to set the timer so I have no idea how long it steeped. I was afraid it would be bitter, but it isn’t at all!
I sipped it while I waited for my lunch to heat and oh man, it was amazing! It tasted like the freshest peas and green beans! Then the nutty flavor rises high in the palate and there is sweetness at the beginning and after the sip.
Also, this is ridiculously good with candy corn.
All I can say is, wooooooooooooooow! I really enjoyed this tonight. We went to the Asian buffet and got take out. I had made two steeps of this before we left the house and poured it in my tetsubin and put it over the warmer. Hubby and I drank it with our food and it was really good. Then when the food was all gone, I poured some more and had my dessert of three mellocreme pumpkins. (Like candy corn, for the uninitiated.) It was fantastic. I have heard that it is traditional to celebrate special events in Asia with super sweet desserts and tea, and it must say my mouth was celebrating this tea tonight!
This was sweet, smooth, fresh, green, and lightly nutty. It had just enough oomph to go with a meal, and not enough astringency to be bitter.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the delicious sample!
Golden Monkey and I go way back. When I first started drinking hot tea instead of sweet Southern style iced tea, I took it with milk and sugar.
One day I posted on Harney and Sons Facebook wall about a tea of theirs I liked, and a man recommended that I try GM. I was in my tea ordering frenzy at the time and bought some right away. He had said it was very sweet and wonderful, so my friend and I sat down with great expectations as we tasted it.
I added sugar but no milk and said “BLECH!” It wasn’t good! We decided it must need honey instead of sugar and again, not good. Finally we tried it plain and heaven opened and angels began to sing. NATURALLY sweet! And so full of flavor that I would have missed if I buried it under sugar.
I am not a huge snob who looks down on people who add sugar to their tea, but most good tea tastes best without it to me. There are a few to which I will always add sugar and many I will NEVER add sugar.
Anyway, one of our Writers’ Group members always arrives early because she rides the bus. I don’t know why, but last night it occurred to me that perhaps she doesn’t have time to eat since she has to leave early to catch the bus. I offered her some dinner and she happily accepted. It was just vegetable soup and a peanut butter sandwich, but she wanted tea to go with it. I felt that it needed a black tea to go with it well, but I knew she preferred greens and doesn’t generally add sugar. I chose GM because of its very special flavors, its ability to stand with a meal, and its general smoothness.
I am happy to say that she and (later when they arrived) the whole group really liked it. We drink oolongs mostly, and a few greens, so it was a nice change to have some smooth and sweet black tea.
Our group, by the way, consists of four adults over 45, three young adults age 20-28, and four or five teens around 15-16 years old. We are trying to come up with a name for ourselves that includes tea, so suggest away!
Last night was Writers’ Group night at my house. Everyone has come to expect unlimited tea! We are trying to come up with a good name for our group and want to incorporate a reference to tea, so if anyone has ideas, let me know!
We had Golden Monkey from Harney and Sons first and everyone liked it but I have found that these folks really prefer oolongs and greens.
From one delicious smelling packet of leaves, we made about 100 ounces of this tea. If it hadn’t been so late when we started drinking it I would have had to open another packet, and we even had one member missing last night. Seriously, I inhaled the aroma of those dry leaves deeply into my lungs over and over, it was sooo good.
This was definitely their favorite. When the first person sipped it, she held out her cup almost reverentially and breathed, “Oh, THIS is GOOD!”
The color was quite pale, paler than many greens, and the flavor was silky, milky, buttery, and super smooth.
Thank you, Teavivre, for this exquisite sample!
This is the “special blend” batch again. I have had the munchies a lot lately and decided to have this instead of snacking. I can’t believe what a bargain this was, and I am 90% sure it is the lower grade in the bag. The usual grade is better, sure, but for the price this is totally drinkable and enjoyable, I get almost double out of it because it is rich enough to make more than they say, and it was so inexpensive that I got three bags at once because the shipping the same. Now I have enough for 90 large lattes and I think I paid $20 with shipping. This was a seriously good deal. I have to work the election Tuesday and I plan to take this and a gallon of milk with me to share with everyone.