Ambessa (by Harney & Sons)

Recent Tasting Notes


Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #26
I feel like I rate teas like high school grades- under 55 is definitely failing. 75 is okay. 80s are exceptional and 97-100 you are acing the class!
A Harney black tea in a teabag… I’ll give it a try! This one is perfect for breakfast. Robust while not being CTC. The wet leaves really fill up the teabag. Malty, bready, a bit of a bite. A very solid black tea.. almost hints toward the tomato flavor but thankfully the tomato doesn’t fully make an appearance!
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #2 // half mug // just boiled // 4 min

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From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB

Tea of the morning. This is a tea to wake you up! Robust and full bodied, it has a steel cut oats flavor that I enjoyed. This could easily take milk and sugar, but it’s really good plain. No astringency or bitterness. Just a simple dark tea to give you a kick in the pants and send you on your way.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Mmm! There’s a grocery store (Whole Foods clone) within occasional driving distance that carries several Ambessa varieties. Wonder if this is one of them…


This sounds good.


Gmathis- I wish I had a store near me that sold it. All of the tea shops around here are going out of business. :(

Cheri – It’s very nice, and it comes in a tea bag which can be helpful on those mornings when I’m running behind.


The store I’m referring to is about an hour south; probably a good thing because it’s too far for me to blow my grocery budget on nothing but tea. Locally, the tea selection is expanding a little (can actually find a few Harney & Sons basics at our Target) but still isn’t as elegant and eclectic as I’d like it to be.


Veronica The Fresh Market has this.

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Thanks to Liberteas for adding this to a box at my request.

I am a big Marcus Samuelsson fan, so I was intrigued when I saw his teas at The Fresh Market. Of the four, this was the only one they didn’t have, and the one I wanted to try the most. Go figure.

I love Earl Grey teas. I realize that they aren’t necessary popular here, but they are what set me off on this tea journey. I like the Earl part of this, but the smoky taste is a bit of a turn off. I am enjoying the sips for the most part, but as the cup sits here under my nose, I am not enjoying the aroma, which reminds me of an ash tray.

To be fair, I don’t really like ash or smoke in any form – not burnt marshmallows, not cigarettes, and not the smell your hair gets after going to a smoky bar (and I don’t anymore). So I’m not going to rate this since that’s a personal preference for me.


I love good EG


Same here!

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I confess, I got this (and Safari Breakfast, and maybe I will get choco-nut as well) for the tin. Tins, ohh I had drooled about these tins ever since I first saw them and when i spotted these on sale at iherb, thought it a good excuse to test their cheap shipping ( not bad at all, around 3 weeks to Europe for 4 dollars up to a certain large weight).

And the tins, oh they are as nice as I hoped, and they look so wonderful in my kitchen. The teas, being teabags kind of fill a need, I have a lot of tea, kilos of tea, but I do not have a lot of teabags and sometimes it´s just more practical for when making tea away from home. Individually wrapped teabags would have been even nicer, but then I guess there would be no justification for packaging it in tins.

This is a earl grey with some jasmine. I am not a earl grey person, and I am very much not a earl grey made with my local tap water person (weird alchemy, my tap water and bergamot, I just do not like the mix). I got to try this with mineral water next.

No rating till then, but first impressions, not bad at all.

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And thaaat’s a sip down, thanks to the wonderful Sil. This reminds me too much of Florence, of which I’ve had my fill, so it was nice to try this and know that’s it’s essentially another H&S tea in disguise.

One more sip down and I’ll be under one hundred again, and I’m totally going to do that today.

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Not only did I defend my thesis proposal today, but Canada won gold in women’s hockey. Best day this year!

Thanks to the fantastical Sil for this! I’ve been curious about Marcus Samuelsson’s blends, seeing that he is… also… a Swedish chef and all. I’m also a fan of chocolatey peanut stuff (Peanut Buster Parfaits are the king) so I’ve been especially interested in this one, and in the lingonbery green too.

Chocolate peanut, eh? I don’t taste peanut in here whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I momentarily forgot this was supposed to have peanuts in it, and get the same vaguely nutty, but mostly chocolatey nuances I get from Florence. That signature Harney chocolate note takes everything over, which is unfortunate because I seem to be one of the few who doesn’t care for it. When I add milk, it’s seriously like Florence. I just finished you a few weeks ago, Florence! Get out of my life, already.

I’m incredibly grateful that I have been able to try this, and have a teabag left still since I’ve been experimenting with it twice now and Sil gave me a few teabags. :)

Sorry, Marcus, no peanuts. I banish thee to Börköarna.




Congrats on defending your thesis!


Yes, congrats on the defence. :)


YAY! Congratulations!


Congrats on getting through your proposal! Is that along the lines of a comprehensive, or something?

We also won women’s curling gold! A very good day overall, assuming I don’t look outside… (terrible weather. I haven’t left the house!)


Thanks, all! Kittenna, it was for my Master’s. Finally haha.

I heard they won gold too! But I wasn’t sure when they played. Apparently the men’s final is early tomorrow morning. Let’s gooooooo.

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This is one I specifically requested when I ordered a box from LiberTEAS, and she sent me two sachets. Thank you!

When I first smelled this I was a little scared, because it smelled a lot like the Lapsang Souchong I hated. Once it brewed, though, I got a lot more bergamot out of it. The taste is interesting. Definite bergamot and there are some honey and wood notes, but there’s a moderately strong smokiness throughout that puts me off. I’m starting to think that true smoked teas aren’t for me and I only like smoke flavors when they’re naturally-occurring. Still, I’m glad I got to try this one!

ETA: This is much better as it cools, and the fruit takes over the blend more. The smoke is still there and I’m sure that that’s what’s throwing this off for me, but it’s more manageable this way.

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Sitting in a training, listening to the drone of those with expertise, but who have forgotten how to speak in regular people language… Glad I brought my .48l zojirushi filled with this tea. I’ve reviewed this before, but I’ve been having trouble with teas feeling like they are coating my tongue lately…. Maybe it has to do with the tea, maybe it has to do with my health, who knows. But today, from this thermos, comes bliss. The zojirushi is brilliant. I filled it at 6 am, and the tea is still “blow on it” hot. And it’s gooooooood! It’s full, earthy flavor makes it easy to disappear from boredom for a few minutes…. Priceless.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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There is something about African teas that I love. Since I’m new to tea “tasting” (something I consider different from tea drinking) I can’t tell you exactly WHY this tea matches what my tongue wants, but I’ll try. There’s no dryness to this tea….like sometimes wine is too dry for me. Dry translates to a bit bitter to me and I do not like any bitterness in life. In general. Let alone in my tea. This tea also made my nilla wafers seem obsolete. THAT, my friends, is a good sign. There is a wholeness to this without being heavy….others have mentioned “grains”…but I have more to learn before I can throw words like that around. I can tell you that I just ordered a bag of 50 teabags from Harney after only 3 cups…. that’s saying something!

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I love african teas. Did I say I love african teas? Well I do. So this blend from Harney & Sons was a VERY welcome addition to my tea collection! There is a wonderful earthiness….almost maltiness to this tea. And milk and honey do something magical to round out the earthy flavor. I’m not sure what it is, but DANG it’s nom! If you are a Breakfast blend drinker, don’t pass up the opportunity to try a pure african blend breakfast tea. This will be a standard in my cabinet for years to come! Harney has a travel “tagalong” of this tea for $4 that holds 5 bags. Worth every penny!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I don’t think I’ve found a tea quite like this one before … one that focuses only on the Lingonberry. I’ve had a few teas that feature lingonberries in it, but, not one that highlights the lingonberry quite like this. Maybe I’ll have to look at Ikea the next time I’m there to see if they have a lingonberry tea.

I like. Tart, yes, and I’m not usually a fan of tart, but, the tart softens somewhat with the sweetness of the green tea. The berry really brightens the cup. Softly textured, silky. A really good tea … I’ve enjoyed all four of the Ambessa teas!

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I really like this one from Ambessa. I actually enjoyed all of the Ambessa line.

This is a good, solid black tea with a lot of heft to it. It is a good breakfast blend because it will give you what you need to get going. (It’s really good with biscotti!)

Rich, invigorating, and it has that yummy bake-y kind of taste to it. A really good breakfast tea.


I wish these came in loose leaf…


Me too. That’s the main reason that these ambessa teas didn’t get an even higher score from me, because as much as I did enjoy them, I don’t like that they were sachet only.

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I was excited to try this one. I like this twist on my classic favorite. Chef Marcus Samuelsson did my beloved Earl Grey proud.

It does have a smoky profile, but it’s not overtly smoky. It’s more of a gentle presence of smoke, and the smoke doesn’t interfere or block the wonderful bergamot tones which are also not overdone here. Not a soapy or cologne-y taste from the bergamot, just a tangy-sweet citrus note.

Very nice.

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Wow. Can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this yet. I bought it right after they started the Ambessa line – I’m a sucker like that…

I didn’t like it when I first had it. But in the intervening time, my tea tastes have been changing apparently. I dropped one of the bags in my cup at work a couple of weeks ago when I was in a hurry and didn’t really want to pick a tea from my work stash for the morning – I just wanted some brown leaf juice as gmathis would put it. :) I really liked it. So much so that I’ve worked my way through the whole remaining tin in the last week and a half.

It’s a bold, strong blend that smells wonderful in the cup. I’d easily replace this one if I needed to hit the shipping level though I’m not positive I’d place an order specifically for this one – I just have tons of really good basic black teas, even African ones.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This one is really yummy. I’ve been wanting to try these teas for quite a while so when Harney offered free shipping a few months back, I grabbed a small tin of each of the Ambessa teas.

This one is deliciously chocolate-y and it’s a dark chocolate note. The nutty tones are sweet and accent the dark chocolate flavor very nicely. There are some caramel undertones and a hint of apricot in this blend. The apricot came around about mid-cup. A wonderfully complex and delicious blend.

The only thing I don’t like about this line from Harney is that it’s only available in sachets. I want loose leaf!

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Yay! I finally get to try this one! Back when the Ambessa line first came out, Russel generously sent me some of the teas. They were great, but this wasn’t available just yet and I really wanted to try it. Then I put myself on a small buying restriction until I can get some of my tea stash drunk up, but today I got to break my rule.

If I go somewhere like the Fresh Market or A Southern Season or Tin Roof Teas, I allow myself to buy a SMALL amount of tea. I nabbed this one today at The Fresh Market.

I have never had lingonberries, and I don’t think I had even heard of them before this blend. The tin smelled sweet and fruity. And while I am loving the tea, it has thrown me for a loop because no one can smell what I am smelling.

When I poured my cup, right away I thought of cough syrup, eucalyptus, rosemary, or those little cedar berries that are all bumpy. I thought of Mentholatum. I tasted rosemary and eucalyptus, mild and smooth. I handed the cup to my daughters and asked them to smell it. They said it just smells like tea to them. One of them sipped. She said it tasted like something from the yard. I think she means the giant rosemary bush, and doesn’t realize it! Husband said it tasted fruity to him,

Maybe something is wrong with my sense of taste and smell, which wouldn’t be too surprising since I have a stuffy nose.

So does anyone else think lingonberries have a savory aroma like rosemary? I can really see myself craving this tea as a comfort tea when I have a cold or don’t feel well. I must like it pretty well. I am about to finish 20 ounces and I just got started.


I’ve only had lingonberry jam and it didn’t taste like rosemary from what I recall.


We have a Fresh Market just over an hour from us now. Next trip, we are tapping our savings account and taking a cooler ;)


This is the closest Fresh Market we have. It is in Southern Pines, right by Oinehurst, the “golf Capitol of the world.” We usually go to the ones in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Cary even though they are farther away, simply because we are in that area more often than Suthern Pines. We often take a cooler so we can buy the wonderful cheeses! Their flowers are magnificent, their produce is gorgeous, and their bakery is drool worthy.

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awww my boss gave me one of her tea bags :)
i get to tell her this is tea # 497.
she will probably be confused. but it will mean i’ll get to talk about tea for maybe 5 min instead of work. so win win!
the tea is very meh. smells way better than it tastes.

(kinda related i had a chocolate peanut butter beer yesterday)

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Choco and nut work very nice here(nut flavor is a little bit more dominant here on my palate),plus the tea taste mild,even when I keep the teabag in the cup for more than 10 minutes,it doesn’t go bitter or too much.So I would like to use the same teabag to make a second or a third brew for some longer time,and it works out quite good.

Since it reminded me of a nice cup of chocolate milk or pecan flavored milk when I was a kid,I tried a splash of milk ,and some honey ——but it turned out this blend is best drink plain I think.
Plus,I know there are Calendula officinalis here,from whose Hydrosol I I used to get a lot of chocolate scents~!So maybe I should buy some of this flower alone to try blending some interesting teas .

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Having a cup this morning, and since I anticipated the smokiness, it’s far less overwhelming. Also goes well with Biscoff cookies!


This is a lovely tea.

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Smokier than I would have guessed, but an interesting cup. More notes with future tastings.

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I had a cup of this yesterday afternoon. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed. It reminded me of a cup of warm water with a little berry flavor in the background. I’m glad that I just bought a tagalong tin of this in my recent Harneys order. I’m going to have to make a cup for the fiancee when he gets home and see if he likes it any better.

-Silken pyramid teabag.
-Teabag smells of green tea and tart berries. Tea liquor aroma is very faintly of sweet berries.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium green color.
-Fresh vegetal green tea flavor and finish. Extremely light tart berry aftertaste.
-Best with sweetener.
-Poor tea. Very weak flavored cup. Tastes like warm water with a faint berry flavor.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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