Harney & Sons
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Recent Tasting Notes
This tin is cursed. Every time I open in I have to struggle with the lid, and then loose leaf goes everywhere! Gah. I’m gonna decant it into an easier tin.
The tea itself is not cursed, though. It is super citrusty. Abandon hope, citrus haters. This is not your tea.
Its gonna be a tough day when I wake up and its 83 degrees in my house. Perhaps I’m the one who should abandon hope! Gah. When is it fall, again?
Sample cube 11/18
Trying to put a little more substance to these notes, otherwise they’re getting shorter and shorter…
Lunchtime brew. The dry leaf smells very vegetal and savory, and once brewed up, those qualities remain very strong. The liquor is a light spring green—much greener than the average non-sencha green tea. And while the brewed tea retains a vegetal aroma (I’ve never found much appeal in picking out whether it reminds me of individual vegetables, haha), the taste also has notes of dried seaweed, a distinct quality that I can’t describe better than “typical sencha flavor”, and a light astringency. It’s a very substantial green tea, and a good accompaniment to a meal. If not for this sample, I’m not sure when I would have next voluntarily reached for a sencha, but I’m quite glad I tried it.
The weather threw a wrench in my palns so I’m drinking teas that aren’t what I really want either. I have a big box of this but its nto a favorite. Its very floral I think the scent overtakes the flavor making it less pleasant to drink. Today its hot and sticky and so the tropical scent seems to go with the day and I’m having my first steep of this. I get a lot of nice flavors if I don’t’ breathe through my nose! Some fruit, a hint of coconut and a decent tea blend base but I wish I didn’t’ have to smell it! The flowers make the actual product nice to look at with yellow and blue accents. Steepign it at a lower temp helps avoid the bitterness I had in earlier cups!
Flavors: Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers
I was pleasantly surprised by the delightfully light and tart citrus of Diamond Jubilee. I generally prefer flavored teas with a strong base, but in this instance the mild black base works very well with the bergamot and grapefruit essence. The citrus notes linger as a crisp aftertaste and I can only imagine this would be even better served as iced tea.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy, Grapefruit, Tart
I’ve always had a soft spot for Earl Grey’s, so it seems fitting an Earl Grey would be my first tasting note on Steepster. I purchased this tea with high expectations but was disappointed with the rather weak flavor. The base is pleasing enough but somewhat bland, perhaps due to the addition of oolong. As for the bergamot, it is too dainty for my preference, though it does leave a pleasant aftertaste. The leaves have a nice aroma, and I give them points for the cute tin, but I won’t purchase this particular Earl Grey again.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy
Sample cube 8/18
Admittedly I haven’t had much experience with Darjeelings in the past, so I don’t have much to compare this to. The dry sachet had a very woodsy aroma with a hint of something coffee-like. The tea brews out to a deep red-orange color. First steep was, for some reason, quite bitter in spite of being fragrant. Not just astringent, not one of the other natural flavors in tea that might be mistaken for bitterness, but literally bitter. Second steep, however, was much smoother, with no bitterness, a light muscatel note, a hint of woodsy smokiness, and a crisp, slightly astringent profile that definitely says black tea, but is not as in-your-face as some other English-styled black tea blends can be. I’m rating this based on the second infusion since I may have let the first sit for a little too long.
It taste fine but I can’t get past the dry leaf smell. I was going to give to a former coworker who liked it but he left before I got a chance to. My brother thought it smelled like the candy peachie-o’s which seems like an accurate and nicer comparison than I would have used. It seems many people enjoy this it’s just not for me.
Sample cube 7/18
I usually don’t like rooibos and don’t care about chai, but this was surprisingly enjoyable. I think it has to do with the blend of spices being just right—the cinnamon isn’t overwhelming, and the cardamom is quite nicely present. Overall it’s a very soft chai, and makes for a nice cup on a cooler evening like this.
Sample cube 6/18
This is what an Earl Grey should be like. The bergamot in this one is very fragrant and fresh-seeming, without being too sharp as it can be in some blends. The tea itself is nicely robust and quite smooth. The packaging indicates “four types of black tea and silver tips”, which seems a little extravagant for a blend where most of the nuances will be lost in the bergamot anyway, but the tea base really is quite good. So far I’m finding that Harney and Sons does traditional English-styled teas very well, with more mixed results on “creative” blends. There are still a lot of samples to go through…
Sample cube 5/18
I haven’t found many fruit-blended white teas enjoyable—more often than not, they end up tasting like fruit in slightly dusty water. But when I try a new one I always hope it will surprise me in a good way. That said, I picked this one out of the cube using a random number generator. Hah.
The sachet was covered with a yellow dust, as if some kind of flavoring or coloring had gotten applied a little too liberally. The aroma of the dry tea is vanilla, caramel, and dried citrus fruit—sweet, but slightly musty. Once brewed, the tea is a light orange color. Many little hairs from the leaves escaped into the brew, but with some white teas that is to be expected. I tried to be cautious with water temperature and steep time, but the tea base was still rather astringent. It is sweet, but it’s hard to tell whether that is from the flavoring or the tea itself. The citrus flavor is, again, slightly musty and not too robust, and hard to identify as grapefruit. As the tea cooled, it took on a juicier and more pleasant note. Overall it’s just okay, not particularly memorable for good or bad qualities, though it might be much better as a summer iced tea.
MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #29
I noticed this looked partially CTC, and I knew Harney’s teas are usually brisk regardless, so I went with a short steep! East Frisian should be brewed with rock sugar in the bottom of the mug and cream at the top without mixing. Though DrJim kindly supplied a couple sugar crystals with this one, I had a honey stick that Maria recently sent with teas I bought so I thought I’d use that instead. The honey is in the shape of a spoon! So cute. A little difficult to get the plastic off without melting the honey in my hands! I tried a little of the tea without sweetening first, and it WAS very brisk and astringent so the honey could only improve it and it did. It seems like the honey may have had another flavor in it too, but I couldn’t tell what it was. The tea itself is a lovely bready malty cup. The second steep was much tamer even without the honey, and even sweetened itself up a bit.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // just boiled // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min