Harney & Sons
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Recent Tasting Notes
I am taking a long hard look at my tea shelves to decide what should stay and what should go. There are a few teas I would like to buy but I really don’t think I should until I get rid of, or at least sip down, a few that I already have.
This is one my youngest daughter loves but I am just meh about it. I decided to try changing my steeping parameters today to see if I would fall in love with it. I used 205 F water and gave it only 3 1/2 minutes. It is now quite drinkable for me with no additions but I can’t say I am in love with it. And like many Assams, this has made my tummy say, “Rrrrr?” and raise its eyebrows. Maybe I will just tell daughter to drink it up or let me give it to a friend who is just getting into loose leaf tea.
Cheese toast and tea! Youngest is joining me, so I chose this one as it is one of her favorites. I think there are other teas that we like more, so I don’t think I will reorder this one. I can drink it with milk and sugar, but it just doesn’t appeal to me plain, and there are other milk and sugar teas that really WOW me. I had hoped that the Golden Monkey in it would make it a favorite, but it doesn’t come through as much as I would like. Perhaps I should try mixing the last bit of Golden Blend with another breakfast tea that I like better, or even add some extra Golden Monkey to it. Hmmm….might have to have another pot of tea!
I am adding a resteep of this to my notes today because I don’t think I have resteeped it before. I really wasn’t done having tea, and thought I would experiment a bit. I really didn’t know how this would act, but with Golden Monkey in there I thought it would fare pretty well.
I dumped the leaves from the infused basket into a second pot, added one teaspoon of fresh leaves, and steeped for five minutes. There was still a bit of the first steep in the original pot, so when time was up I added the second steep to the first. It is quite good! And I feel very thrifty for saving those leaves.
This was very nice as a milk and saugar breakfast tea this morning. It is paired with cheese toast and mustard, naturally!
Teawing recently enlightened us about cheese toast being a traditional treat for British sailors in the 19th century. Well, a few weeks ago I realized that I had never read Treasure Island, nor have I seen the movie. I decided that would be the next book we read aloud. A couple of days ago we reached the chapter where Jim Hawkins meets Ben Gunn. When Ben speaks of living off goats, berries, and oysters and not seeing Christian food in three years, the one food he mentions by name remembering fondly is toasted cheese! Why, isn’t it a small world and full of coincidence!
As for this tea,my youngest absolutely adores it, she being an Irish Breakfast fan and all! And I like it with milk and sugar, though I haven’t taken to it plain. But I do not care overmuch for Assams.
I decided to try this one again today. The first sips were plain, and it is a smooth tea that hoes down easily. It has medium body and aroma. Much about this tea is medium! But it isn’t bad, it just comes across as a good, basic tea. Harney English Breakfast makes me ooo ahhh in the morning, this one is good but no oo ahhs. At least not from me. Youngest was once again very glad to see it, and had a big cup. The daughters have nicknamed this tea “Irish Monkey”, which I
just love, although Golden Breakfast would have done well, too. Anything is funnier with monkey in it!
I bought this because I love Golden Monkey, and face it, because we tea junkies are always wanting to try something new! And I thought my youngest would like it because she likes Golden Monkey and Southern Season’s Irish breakfast, while Harney and Sons Irish Breakfast is a bit too strong for her. This blend was right on the money for her and she is loving it. The aroma is distinctive Assam with a nice high note. The flavor is Assam smoothed by GM. I tried it plain, and it was okay but not stellar, but when I added milk and sugar (because this is second breakfast, after all) it was very good. Although I will happily drink it, I wouldn’t just have to have it. Youngest, however, is oo-ing and ah-ing and will probably want me to keep this one on hand. A nice morning pot in preparation for my upcoming, day-long extravaganza of oolong with new tea from Quiltguppy and the tetsubin from hubby!
Just got this and several other teas in the mail. Kind of plurged on tea samples this month. Anyway, the smell is amazing. However, the taste is a little bland. I think I may have used to much water and not enough tea. I wanted a nice big cup, and I think I over shot it.
I have been saving this sample, courtesy of our friend QuiltGuppy. My mother has been in and out of the hospital the last two weeks, we got a good report this morning so it is time for something new and good! Eight at the Fort covers so many of my interests. It was originally blended for a historic meeting, one of the attendees was from my home state, and it is black tea (still my favorite.) I find this a little on the complex side, it is hard to tell the eight teas, they blend and fit together very well. Dry, it is a little on the long side for black tea. I think Darjeeling is there, that wine note jumps out. The maltyness of Assam is also easy to find. The color as noted, looks reddish like a Ceylon. I really like this, and I think it could be better than my previous beloved Prince of Wales from Twinings.
One review mentioned it is a contemplative tea, I think I will give that a try…
Okay, so I failed Sample Week on the very last day, but only because the sample I had done turned out to be one I had tried before, and I never got around to doing another one. But if it hadn’t been one I’d tried before, I would have made it, so I still say I almost succeeded.
Anyway, Sample Week over, I can now get back to some of my other larger samples, such as the ones I received recently from the lovely QuiltGuppy. Including OH JOY a Panyang. Or Tanyang. Or Tan Yang. Or Pan Yang. Or whatever you prefer. Same difference.
I’ve been out of my favourite Tan Yang Te Ji (♥) for a while now, so this sample was a really well treasured one. Unfortunately, though, I will have to say that the TeaSpring one is still my absolute favourite.
This one seems slightly thinner, slightly less powerful than the Te Ji of TeaSpring. It’s almost but not quite the same. And what I’m really looking for in a Tan Yang is pretty much the exact flavour profile of the Te Ji.
That said, it is still an awesome tea. By default, really. All Tan Yangs are awesome, and all Fujian blacks are wonderful. It’s amazingly sweet naturally, a mildly fruity sort of sweetness rather than the more grainy sweetness that we see in for example Keemuns. I’m not getting the hint of pseudo-smoke out of this one, unfortunately. That’s also part of what makes the aforementioned Te Ji so perfect for me. Instead there is something quite floral about it, which I believe is very close to the same thing.
“Wait a minute, how can pseudo-smoke notes and floral notes be the same?” I hear you ask.
“Opposite sides of the same coin,” says I. I believe it’s the same ‘bit’ of the flavour profile that creates that pseudo-smoky or floral note in the flavour. If it’s vague and delicate it comes across as floral, but if it is allowed to develop more and grow stronger, it turns into something more prickly and aggressive. Like the smoke note. Most often, though, we end up somewhere in between where some people will find it floral, some will find it lightly smoky and some will be unable to decide what they think it’s most like. This characteristic, I think, is more common in black teas than most people realise.
So yeah, this is leaning more towards the floral end of the spectrum whereas I tend to prefer the other end.
It’s a good tea. Sweet, floral, medium strength. Worth oodles of points in my book, but not as good as the Tan Yang Te Ji.
Not at first impression anyway. (And to be honest, one brewing isn’t really representative basis for comparison. I retain the right to change my mind, fat lot of good it will do me as this one isn’t available to me without using kindly Steepsterites as middle-men anyway)
Thank you, ashmanra for this lovely tea!
I am an oolong lover, so when I received this tea in a swap, I was thrilled! It’s scent when dry is very much like that of a lilac in full bloom. It smells very floral.
Once steeped, the floral scent is still there, but it is deeper and richer. The taste, while slightly floral, tastes much more vegetal, like steeped vegetables more than flowers. It’s a deceiving tea. Your nose tells you to expect one thing and your mouth receives another. This is not a floral tasting tea. Moving on… the taste, in addition to being vegetal, has a very nice, grounded oolong base. It’s ever so slightly earthy, yet smooth. There’s a touch of a roasted flavor in this one.
Thank you, ashmanra!
Had this tea again this morning. Still at 5 minutes brewing, 212, and 2 tsp/cup. Wow, no bitterness, just a wonderful rich malty tea. It actually starts out a bit weak but expands as the tea cools. I add a very small amount of honey to accent the malt and a splash of milk. What a sweet, rich tea. Pure joy as a breakfast tea.
What a lovely tea. I’ve been drinking this once a week for a while now. In fact, this is I think my second tin. It’s interesting as I think I like the second tin more than the first, but perhaps I remember wrong since there was a little break between them.
We brew it strong at 2 tsp/cup and at 5 minutes there is no bitterness. The first few sips while it is very hot it seems bland, but as it cools in my 16 oz cup it unfolds nicely. I use a touch of honey to accent the flavors, and a splash of milk. There is wonderful malt, a little cocoa and I think a touch of caramel.
Very nicely flavored. Good scent. I’m not a huge fan of apricot – I was trying it before giving it to my Mom. A good, honest basic black for the base and an unadorned apricot for the added flavor. I’ve found it somewhat difficult to find an apricot black without other spices like ginger added. This is a good choice.
It is saturday, early evening and the boyfriend is cooking something or other involving lentils. I’ve been editing all day (booooring!), and it occurred to me that the Sample of the Day would have to be now, because when we’ve eaten, I’ll probably be elsewhere watching tv for the rest of the evening.
For that reason Sample Week continues with something easy, and ‘something easy’ is defined as ‘something in a bag’.
I’m not really that fond of mint. I can eat it in most things, and I can tolerate it in teas although it’s not something I’ll ever really seek out, I don’t think. I absolutely cannot stand it as the filling in After Eights or similar chocolates, although there I believe it’s more a question of not liking the cream than not liking the mint.
So mint herbals is something I drink when I’m ill and real tea tastes funny, and it’s not something I would be likely to seek out as flavouring in tea on my own.
The aroma is quite minty. It’s very like a basic mint herbal only a bit weaker. Probably the green tea holding it back a little. I can’t find any notes of green tea anywhere in the aroma though. Only mint.
So the aroma isn’t really that promising for me, but the flavour turns out to be better than the aroma. The actual mint flavour isn’t really that overwhelming although it is still pretty strong, and here I can definitely identify the presence of some generic green tea of some sort. It’s not possible to discern any specific characteristics of it, other than the fact that it’s definitely there.
There is a whole lot of mint flavour, but the base of the green tea, and the fact that it’s detectable, is keeping the whole thing grounded a bit. A pure mint herbal, when the tastebuds are not hindered by illness, to me tastes a bit like a solution of water and toothpaste.
The green tea here keeps the same fate from befalling this tea. It’s more grounded, less flimsy and a lot more pleasant.
Another ashmanra gift… (You can’t imagine how lovely the package she put together was.)
Chinese Flower is not only a delicious green, but it’s absolutely lovely to look at as well. The tea is interspersed with flower petals of yellow, blue, white and pink. It’s beautiful! The scent matches the visual aesthetics as well. It’s a crisp scent, like freshly picked flowers from a garden infused with citrus.
I steeped very lightly and quickly with this one, not wanting to have a veggie/floral combination. The scent is predominately citrus now, but the floral aspect is still somewhat present. The taste is really nice. Yes, very lemony, but it’s a sweet tasting lemon flavor. The floral scent isn’t really in the flavor so much. The green is perfect with this one as there is no bitterness in my cup. It’s slightly grassy tasting, making a fresh pairing with the citrus.
Thank you, ashmanra, again!
Celebrating the first cool fall evening on the porch with the Queen. She is always there for us, consistent, true, and always enchanting. Tonight I added a dash of milk. I was not disappointed as the Queen proved once again her majesty of flavor while complementing her loyal subjects, milk and sweetness. I have so waited the return of fall, the coolness in the air and a
hot cup of tea outdoors.