Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is my first Steepster tasting note. I do not typically find that writing is my creative outlet of choice; however, I have been loving reading other people’s reviews on this site and I wanted to try my hand at it. In addition to helping me determine whether or not to purchase a tea again, I hope that by reviewing my teas I will start to take note of and gain an appreciation for specifics of preparation, attributes of the tea leaf, the aroma, and subtleties of flavor that tend to get forgotten when I allow myself to sip without attempting to describe a tea.
I am drinking the Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro in the full leaf sachets. Preparation is detailed below and included the addition of a single packet of Truvia, my sweetener of choice. I used 1 sachet of tea. Next time I make this, I will steep for four minutes as there were some bitter undertones after a five minute steep.
The dry leaf is very dark in color and quite uniform. The sachet contains pieces ranging anywhere from a finely ground consistency (like coffee) to a 4 mm leaf size. The smell of the dry leaves is quite heavy handed with the vanilla; however, there is an undertone of what I can only suppose is the scent of the Ceylon leaves which I would describe as a bit floral.
The steeped tea is the color of a cherry wood. (I realize comparing tea to the colors of different types of wood may be strange, especially since I can not pretend to be an expert on either subject; however, I can’t help but think that the only other thing I know that has such deep, rich, amber color is cherry wood.)
The aroma of the steeped tea gives off a much milder vanilla scent and the floral scent of the black tea reminds me of my mother making sweet tea when I was young. I especially remember “sun tea” which is a slow brewing method of making sweet tea (or any other tea I suppose) where a pitcher of water is left out in the sun with a couple of tea bags. As the sun warms the water, the tea steeps. I remember watching tea steep on the porch at my grandmother’s house with a cat lazing about next to the pitcher. My grandmother used to make all of her tea this way in Florida. I wonder if she used a Ceylon or if I just need more practice to be able to distinguish between types of black tea.
The tea is very smooth and easy to sip. The flavor profile is fairly straightforward. There is nothing surprising about this tea, but it delivers an exquisite vanilla flavor that is much more subtle than you might expect compared to the scent that hits you upon opening the container. For me, this is a solid choice for a black tea. I like that it is decaf. While I don’t typically purchase decaffeinated teas and tend to stick to naturally caffeine free herbal teas in the evenings, this is a great night time tea that is soothing in the same way as a mug of warm milk and honey before bed.
Flavors: Floral, Vanilla
This is my favorite black teas. I’ve read a few things about teas from the Darjeeling growing regions and the leafs are supposed to be of higher quality (at least in regards to taste) than the more prolific areas of Assam. This tea is soft and gentle in taste in spite of being a black tea. I would comment on the particular flavor notes but I’ve ran out of this tea and would like to drink it and slowly tease apart the taste while writing this review. Definitely one of the best black teas out there.
I have had a tin of this sitting in my cupboard for a few years now, and I’m sure I must have gotten it and then completely forgotten about it’s existence up until last month. I steep it for about four minutes, no sugar, no milk. The tea itself is light, smooth and while i wouldn’t say it’s exactly peachy it’s pretty close. a good tea to start hot and drink even when it’s cold, it’s a nice one to throw into the mix if you want something a little different. I probably wouldn’t restock this very often but definitely wouldn’t complain if I found myself drinking it again.
Haven’t had this one in ages… I have this weird on-again, off-again relationship with coffee, but in the end, I always return to tea.
This is a green tea that I can get behind. It’s just so tasty! The coconut and vanilla flavoring smooths out any astringency that might occur from oversteeping and the ginger adds some depth to the overall flavor profile.
Love it. 10/10 stars!
Flavors: Coconut, Flowers, Ginger, Vanilla
Mao Jian has become one of my favourite green tea varieties over the last year or so, and I’m always pleased to try one that’s new to me. This Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons looks pretty much as I’d expect – thin, wiry leaves that are a little curly and twisted, a fairly uniform dark green in colour, and pretty long (most around 2cm, but some more like 5-6cm). Dry, it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/12/29/hunan-mao-jian-harney-sons/
A sample I got a while ago, and was not sure what I was going to do with. I don’t drink greens very often, but when I do, I like brewing them up the old fashioned way. What was I going to do with this?
Boom! Work tea!
I’m afraid this did not leave a huge impression. Its light, with a clean citrus flavor. Pleasant, but not much more than that.
Paris is a nice sweet blend. If you’re an Earl Grey fan, I’d suggest this tea to you. It has been a to-go-to blend for the past year or two. It’s a sweet vanilla tea with a touch of bergamot; creamy and smooth.
A majority of my friends who come over for good conversations always ask for a cup of Paris. It’s a good tea if you’re trying to cut out sweets, too. I think it’s swell on its own, but it goes well with cream and sugar as well.
Flavors: Bergamot, Creamy, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
The smell of the dry mix is very, very intense, dominated by ginger spiciness — it just explodes from the bag.
The flavor packs a punch like you’d expect from a quality ginger beer (made from real ginger) — sharp, spicy, burning goodness. The liquorice provides a subtle sweetness that hits the back of the throat and lingers after the spicy ginger subsides a touch.
Overall, it’s not too sweet and the body is a bit thin. Not bad but not something I would want to drink again.
Flavors: Ginger, Licorice, Ocean Air, Sweet
I received this sachet as a freebie with my order and this is not something I would have picked up on my own as I don’t really like flavored teas. Often, they taste artificial and don’t seem to be well balanced, and most times call for sweeteners, which I dislike using. Harney’s is changing my mind.
Small office cup (8ish oz) – 1 teabag sachet
Wow! This is an incredibly well balanced exotic cup of goodness! Because of the bag’s size and previous steeps with other Harney flavored teas… I know that my leaf to water ratio is high so I short steeped and tasted the cup until I felt it had a nice flavor. Maybe 1-2 min.
The first steep is incredibly silky and smooth.. the coconut is the main player beautiful and creamy.. I’m loving this. I’m not getting artificial vanilla or over powerful lemongrass.. This is darn good. I think this would be a beautiful exotic iced tea… who needs boring flavors, like strawberry, guava, mango.. etc.
2nd steep brings out the lemongrass making the coconut the supporting flavor.. I can’t figure out which cup I like more.
Conclusion: Must. Get. MOAR! Seriously, just this tea sachet is not enough! * looks sadly at the all gone tea, ponders a desperate 3rd steep.. *
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Spicy, Sweet
I like a good chamomile tea, but I’d never had one that is loose leaf. My younger brother, a tea guru as well, said that he usually got chamomile from a grocery store instead of loose leaf because it tastes the same. I would agree that the quality of the taste is pretty much equivalent to the Honey Chamomile I have in bags from Teatulia, but there’s something so pretty about the flowers floating freely in the water. The taste is smooth like chamomile, and I don’t really get any lavender taste or scent. All in all it’s a lovely chamomile tea with pretty blue bits in the mixture.
I steeped it in almost boiling water. The first cup I left in for a few minutes, but after that I just left the tea in the water until I was ready for the next cup. It’s the kind of tea that can’t really oversteep.
I should have brewed this a bit stronger, using two sachets instead of the one, since my mug is bigger. I do like that this tea has a brightness to it, and I do get the cranberry, with it’s little bit of zing. But I can’t help wishing the black tea would come through a bit more, and I never really taste the orange, so every time I make this, it seems a little on the watered down side, even when it isn’t.
I was hemming and hawing about which tea to purchase tonight, and I made the right choice with the Boston blend. The aroma is wonderful and not too overpowering. It combines some of my favorite flavors/scents with vanilla, almond, and cranberry. I think I may have put in too much tea, but it still tasted wonderful! I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to taste it, so I hope it doesn’t keep me awake! I can’t wait to try more H&S blends!
Flavors: Almond, Cranberry, Vanilla
This is another satisfying Harney & Sons tea. It’s a little light for my liking…probably the lightest and sweetest sencha I have ever had, and slightly grassy. It’s definitely the best bagged sencha I have ever had, and I will enjoy drinking it when I’m looking for the convenience of a bagged tea.
This tea is so smooth; a little on the mild side, sweet, and not smoky. I finally bought a tin of the loose leaf tea, after flying through the 20 bags I purchased, and receiving a generous loose leaf sample from ashmanra (thank you, again!). This will definitely be regularly stocked in my cupboard. Keemuns FTW! :)
This is the second Keemun I have tried. I was going to buy the loose leaf version, but I noticed the bagged version at Wegmans yesterday and thought I’d give it a try. It’s very good, as expected. It seems milder, sweeter and smoother than the other Keemun I tried, and less smoky as well. It’s marketed as an English Breakfast, but I think I would go with it for my third or fourth cup of the day…I’d like something stronger to start out the morning. I’ll get some of this tea in the loose leaf version after I finish the bags and my other Keemun. :)
I ordered a sample size of this tea in my very first H&S order. On paper, it seemed like a tea I would love, but in reality I was just, meh, about it. I drank about half of the mug I brewed, and then gave the rest of the sample to my sister.
It wasn’t horrible, by any means, but something about it just didn’t appeal to me. In retrospect, after trying quite a few flavored black tea samples, it seems that teas with any degree of honey flavor are not appealing to me.
Grabbed a tin of these sachets and a sample of plain old English Breakfast to see if I could tell the difference.
Verdict after a tasteoff: nope, can’t tell much difference and I don’t think I’m really an English Breakfast person at this point. I’d prefer a thick Assam, a Yunnan or a Taiwanese black to be my first cup of the day.
2.5 grams to 60 ml of just off of boiling water (tap water). Steeped for 35 seconds.
1. English Breakfast HT Blend:
dry leaf scent – like smelling freshly turned earth, hints of a malty scent
taste of liquor – light fruit, dry mouth feel, maltiness from scent not present
wet leaf scent – definitely fresh earth, this has a deeper, more complex scent than the normal EB. That would seem to indicate that the taste should be deeper and more complex and I am just not getting it.
2. English Breakfast:
dry leaf scent – light fruit and earth but not as fresh as the HT blend
taste of liquor – a somewhat lighter version of HT with more fruit notes coming to the fore, still induces a dry mouth feel. I don’t get any smoke and isn’t that what Keemuns are kind of known for? This is 100% Keemun according to the website.
wet leaf scent – reminds me of a second flush Darjeeling with a lot of fruit notes on top of the mild wet earth scent, no malt that I can discern
Always possible that if I try again with different steeping parameters (lower water temp, less tea) these may be easier to differentiate and I may like them better. For now, I get a lot of Ceylon taste in the HT blend and just basic tea from the EB, pretty much. If I had to decide tonight, I’d keep neither in my cupboard though I’d use the sachets when going out to restaurants as it is better than the junk you normally get there. :)
Sipdown no. 207. A sample, and a mystery.
Apparently, I tasted this sample of this a while back but did not write about it under Indian Spice. It also appears no one else on Steepster has ever written about it under Indian Spice, which I find hard to believe, but I did search on several terms and nothing came up.
So I went and created this entry. Then I did yet another internet search and discovered that Steepster refers to the Harney Chai as “previously known as” this. Well crap. I am now guilty of creating a duplicate entry. Sigh.
The Harney Chai is described on their site as similar to this but spicier and with a hint of vanilla. It seems I did taste and write about Harney’s Chai. I described that as not very spicy. So if that is a spicier version of this…
In any case, I decided to drink it without making a chai production out of it, which it appears I did the first time around. Though I can’t be 100 percent sure that what I drank then was Indian Spice rather than Chai and was just smarter about where I put the entry than I was today. Here’s where that note is, just for completeness.
Note that to complicate things, the entry is called Chai, but the picture is of Indian Spice.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect here — whether this is in fact the same tea as described in the previous note, but I suspect it is. It’s a pretty mild spiced black tea. Milk and sweetener brings out the spices a bit more. Unfortunately, mine today is still wearing some of the lapsang I made in the Breville yesterday (that’s the other thing about lapsang, it clings on for dear life to tea making implements and so tends to flavor the next thing made with the implement), which I am trying to ignore. Even if this isn’t the same tea, my assessment from the initial note remains the same.
Sipdown 9 of 2015. H&S Sample. Purchased 7/2014 – Finished 12/2015.
I enjoyed this, but it was not my favorite breakfast blend from H&S. I much prefer the Eat Frisian or HT English Breakfast. This is savory and almost smokey? This morning ’s cup I am getting much more of the cocoa notes from the keemun.