Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Reviewing a sample of this. Have to admit it is a pretty little tea…all those hand rolled pearls…then the light champagne gold liquor in my glass mug…ah. I took a sip…hum…what kind of Jasmine floral is this? A bit on the strong side and I was careful not to overbrew. The scent was bending towards Paperwhite flowers. They can be a bit overpowering. So, I went to my tea cupboard and took down my best organic white jasmine from Puripan and made a small brew to compare. The Harney & Son’s brew and Needles were golden…the Puripan needles darker and the tea liquor palest yellow. Puripan was not knock me down Jasmine but subtle and smooth. Harney"s I’m afraid for me was just a bit too cloying. Almost not Jasmine but Paperwhite. Sorry to all you lovers.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple”. – Oscar Wilde
Harney and Sons’ Hao Ya ‘A’ is a complicated, beautiful beast. The dry leaf of this keemun has a strong musty scent with a very slight cocoa note. The wet leaf emits a more mellow, smoky smell. The scent is neither inviting nor offending. The strong, muscular scent does not necessarily translate to the taste. The brew is gentler with a dry-forest, earthy flavor. Woodsy. There is a profound dark toasty taste that intrigues. But the real stand out is the superb dark chocolate aftertaste. An exquisite dark chocolate that is finely bittersweet. The more I sip, the more I respect it. I’m loving this.
This is a thinker’s tea. Deep. Crafty. Quite possibly, menacing. I don’t see this as an everyday tea. This is a tea for a special occasion. An occasion where one wants to shake up life’s monotony. An occasion where one wants to question everything that is perceived as true.
Tried this at the Coffee & Tea Festival in NYC…
I love cinnamon. I love when it burns the back of your throat. I love when it feels like it’s sugar & it sweetened your tea. And I love when it’s blended perfectly in your cup.
This tea my friends, is it. Perfect.
Three blends of cinnamon with black tea, sweet cloves & orange peel…..you can smell it already, can’t you? It’s amazing.
I don’t know why I didn’t buy any at the show, but I will have to go to the store on Broome Street to get a tin. I loved the flavor.
I had the other sachet that Bonnie sent me and it was equally as delicious. I just love it so much. So much that I’ve upped the rating. And so much that I’m seriously considering right now buying the 1 lb (well 16 oz as they say on the website, but it’s the same) bag of this and having it forever. It’s just that good.
On another Harney & Son’s note, I recently heard of a person from Canada doing a challenge or quest or whatever you want to call it where he tried every tea from DAVIDsTEA. I’m actually really considering doing this with Harney & Son’s. Like…. a lot. They’re the company that I’ve had the most experience with and all of their teas that I’ve tried have been phenomenal. I mean, obviously there will be some I don’t like, but I really want to do this just to see. It seems like so much fun to me.
I was out pretty late last night for an Oscar party and so I’m not even going to pretend that I’m “all there” right now.
I was looking through my samples from Bonnie and I saw this, and I’m really in a no nonsense mood and there were two of these in sachets, so I decided to just make them.
One thing I love about Harney’s sachets-They’re done really well and they put a good amount of tea in the bag, and I can steep them twice, which I can’t do with a lot of sachets.
One thing I don’t love-The tags aren’t long enough AT ALL so it always falls in the cup and it’s a pain in the butt to get out.
I am always impressed with Harney’s teas. Always. I haven’t tried one yet that has disappointed me. This is no exception.
It’s fruity and smooth. I was afraid it would just be like Lady Grey from Twinning’s but it’s not at all. In fact, it’s not even an Earl Grey. It’s a fruity black tea that is so lovely and sweet.
Definitely purchasing a full size of this one, thanks Bonnie!
Sachet in mug, boiling water for 5 minutes (second steep boiling for 7 minutes), added a little milk and sugar
First cup of the day – last cup of my sample! I still really like this. It’s slightly smokey without tasting too organic (ie grass, dirt etc) which is my preference. Don’t be afraid of the smoke – this one is really very light, and suitable for someone new to smoke teas. It’s on my list for a possible larger size, but I’m not ready to commit – it’s lovely, but really a but light for me.
I kept thinking about yesterday’s Keemun (my first) all night. I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I knew I wanted some more! So this morning I got out my sample of Hao Ya B. The dry leaves didn’t really smell like smoke to me – instead I got hay and dried fruits. Brewed for 4 minutes, the tea has a definite smokey aroma. I added milk and sugar and tried it. The verdict? Really good! This tea is smoother than yesterday’s keemun, but it still has that smokey aroma and flavor. The smoke is clean tasting – not as full of tar, perhaps? I love smoked foods, so it’s no surprise that I would like smoke as a note in teas! My husband hated this one (no surprise, as he doesn’t like strong flavors.) I will certainly try this one again.
This tea is quite a delight. Dry it smells nice, sweet and crisp with a hint of grassy notes. Wet it smells slightly more grassy. The taste, the taste is just wonderful. Imagine going outside early in the morning as the sun is rising on an early spring day with dew and a slight frost is on the grass. Close your eyes and smell the crispness of the air and the wet grass with the sky tinted with the rising sun and the birds chirping beautifully in the air. That’s what this tea conjures up to me, beautiful and delicious.
I’ve been drinking this first thing every morning and liking it a lot. Very gentle, like other people have said—not bitter/sharp the way other green teas can be. I guess it’s the citrus that softens the edge; I can’t really taste the gingko. It’s true that it’s an odd-looking tea: more like a variegated green-and-yellow powder than leaves. I use a pretty fine-mesh strainer (Teeli) for brewing, so don’t have the problem of getting little particles into the tea itself… that would not be so pleasant.
Just getting into Darjeelings. I sampled this at the H & S tasting room in NYC, then brought some home. I do like it, a lot… it’s on the light, mild side, and is perfect for late morning/early afternoon… plus, I think, better without milk than with. Very pretty pale amber color! And the leaves do have a slightly sweet smell, which is pleasing. It’s really different from the Assams I’ve been drinking (and which I have lots of trouble telling apart… though maybe I will get better at this over time…)—it IS mild, but has a subtle bite (tannic taste?) that the Assams don’t.
It’s a morning where there is a lot weighing on me. With a burning, burning, yearning feeling inside me, I decide to brew up some supreme. Too many companies get earl grey wrong. Countless earl greys use a cheap and poor-quality black tea base that leaves either an overly bland or excessively harsh brew. There are also earl greys aplenty where the bergamot is too dominant and the result is a perfume-like taste that destroys the blend.
Fortunately, Harney and Sons got this one right. The black tea base is pleasing and of good quality. The bergamot is subtle and in balance. There is a gentle, slightly-creamy taste to this earl grey. Harney and Sons added ceylon vintage silver tips to the mix. Not quite sure if the addition adds much. If anything, it may work to ever-so-slightly soften the tea.
While not totally blown away, in total, this is a well-formulated blend. This is the earl grey that you can drink daily and warmly enjoy. Oh earl grey supreme, you came into my heart, so tenderly.
I do enjoy a flavored black every once in a blue moon… except… i love this intimately. It’s right up there with my blessed Nine Dragon Golden Needles.
Now don’t get me wrong, i have always enjoyed a cup of flavored tea, but i always looked at it more as a treat. This tea is very different indeed. The flavor is very unique in that it is not an earl gray, but uses Bergamot so its flavor profile is familiar… kinda like home away from home.
I’ve had many quality offerings from Harney and this was no different. I ordered their 1.5 oz tin a few weeks ago but hadn’t had to time to review it.
The dry leaf appears to be well preserved staying true to its name of mao feng (most leaves were truly one leaf or two and a bud). It had a nice earthy green color, fuzz covered buds, and had a subtle smoky grassy aroma.
I prepared this tea in a gaiwan, following the website’s brewing guidelines of 2-3 min steep time and 175F water.
My first cup I brewed it for 2 minutes, this yielded a pale green cup with a very very faint grassy aroma. The taste was vegetal and slightly grassy, very smooth, and with a strong but subtle smoky finish. The combination of grassy/smokyness gave a nice warm feeling while drinking it. The second cup, this time brewed for 3 minutes, featured a stronger green grassy flavor, no aroma, and with a much subtler smoky finish. Out of the two cups, Id say the first one was better.
Upon checking the wet leaf, some leaves revealed little burned edges, like if they had been burned by sunlight under a magnifying glass.
Overall, I thought this tea to be quite good. I really enjoyed the smoky flavor as I feel it compliments the green taste this tea offers. I don’t know if the smoky taste should be there though, as this is perhaps the only Huangshan Mao feng I have tried that has it (then again I still need to try many more from other tea vendors). I was surprised to see the burn damage on some of the leaves, perhaps that’s the origin of the smoky taste? Anyways, great tea, not too expensive, and quite unique.
Soooo, I heard from one of the local news channels about my video of the storm/hail starting, and then…I missed it being shown at the end of the 6:30 news. I’m so disappointed in myself still so I’m hoping they might show it at 11 too. The one time something I record will be viewed by thousands of people and I miss it myself.
I also went out in the pouring rain to grab hail and my hair is still wet and I’m cold, so more hot tea it is! I was feeling like an oolong, but something I wouldn’t feel bad about not resteeping a couple times. All my tea is mainly in my bedroom right now for some reason (when you don’t even know why, there’s a problem) but this one was in the very back of my cabinet, poor tea.
I just love the fruit flavor of this tea. To me it’s not purely pomegranate, there’s definitely something else in there, something sweeter, since I think it’s far too sweet to be just pomegranate. Maybe some kind of berry. Either way, the fruit flavors blend so well with the floral TGY. It’s light, but it still shines through the fruit a bit.
I just realized a couple days ago that Caribou Coffee carries H&S teas. I had to promise I’m not that obsessed, I just noticed they had the iced tea bottles and finally put 2 and 2 together. Of course, then it was like, hot cinnamon spice…DUH. I’ve had this one there a couple times, but it’s never as good as the loose leaf at home. This one really needs space to steep.
Thank you so much for some of this, SimplyJenW!
I gave up finishing the Hot Toboggan and moved on to something new. I really love this. Unlike the other fruit flavored oolong I got recently, this actually tastes like real pomegranate with oolong. It’s tart and sweet, and I can taste the tea base. I can’t wait to give it a second infusion later.
This morning I spent 2 hours sitting while my granddaughter used my car to take her drivers test. She passed (joy),I went home cold and ready for tea! Decided on Hot Cinnamon Spice for a proper lift. First impression was red hot candy but so soon the flavor went flat. Also did not get orange at all. Disappointed!
The music is playing and my dancing shoes are tied. I’m ready to move. There are certain things in life that just simply thrive in combination. Cheese and wine being one. Laurel and Hardy are another. How about black tea combined with black currant?
Stick your nose in a canister of Harney and Sons’ black currant and you’re quickly engaged with a strong, berry-like scent. Taste this tea and you are experiencing a certain harmony. Black currant, which first originated in Tibet and later brought into Europe, provides a tart, slightly sour taste. When combined with the black tea, an inviting balance is met. The strong nature of the black tea with the tart notes of the black currant dance in lock step. Too many flavored black teas on the market have their flavoring overwhelm the tea. Not so here. Harney and Sons uses the black currant as a tasteful, nuanced enhancement. Never is the black currant overpowering. This is well executed.
For those that like lemon in their black tea, this black currant can make a nice, milder alternative. Less acidic and less sour than lemon, yet still exhibiting a well-mannered tartness. This is one of my favorite flavored-black teas. Now, excuse me while I sip some more and waltz.
I absolutely loved this tea.. I was smoking a vogue cigarette feeling the Paris vibe and drank up this.. First thing, I love the smoothness of this tea.. you can deffinately taste Paris.. the streets, the people ( not literally :p ) and it literally tasted like Paris. I love the fruit in it, it’s not too sweet.. just perfect on it’s own.. I’ll have it with milk next time I make a cup of this, I just need to stop gulping it down so quick!
I bought this because I fell in love with the Bangkok Green Tea that H&S has and I’ve been looking for a good rooibos. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. When I first opened the tin I was immediately blasted by the scent of cinnamon. I like cinnamon but I know that it can quickly overtake anything else it is paired with. That is more or less the case with this. I can taste the red rooibos, cinnamon, a decent kick of the ginger but barely even a hint of the coconut. The cinnamon definitely takes the show in this one and I tried adding some peppermint to help cool down the cinnamon, and it did help a little. As much as I want to love this I do not think I will be buying more when I run out, there are better flavored rooibos out there.
As someone without much experience with the gunpowder variety of green, I decided to play some Russian roulette and brew up a batch. After spinning the cylinder and smelling the brew, one word comes to mind: smoky! The scent reminds me of a freshly extinguished campfire. This is not a warm and cozy aroma! On the outset, this bold scent has me concerned. I don’t want my tea tasting like an ashtray.
Upon sipping, I’m pleasantly surprised. This green has a fairly-strong, earthy taste. Subtlety-hidden is a honey-like hint. But that is quickly forgotten when a more smoky flavor comes barreling in. After a few cups, the blood is definitely rushing to the head. Be prepared, this is a tea that unquestionably has a strong caffeine content.
Harney and Sons describe this as a “a good everyday green tea”. I disagree. As an everyday green tea, I want something sweeter, softer, and less offending. Only some sort of adrenaline junkie would want this daily. Occasionally, for a smoky-mature jolt, this tea may work. I stumble out of this game of Russian roulette shaken, but alive to see another day.