Harney & Sons

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Recent Tasting Notes

83
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
91 tasting notes

I don’t usually care for flavored teas. This, however, is one of the exceptions to that rule for me. The flavoring is so mild and naturally done that it is delicate on the senses and does not overwhelm the tea in any way.

I picked this up in a tin with 20 sachets, so it’s not quite the full on loose leaf, but with the silk pyramid bags, it might as well be.

The aroma of the dry leaf is light and vanilla-y. It has an added sweetness that seems beyond the simplicity of vanilla, but it’s hard to pinpoint. The liquor was a nice amber color with a fine flavored steam wafting to me.

I first tried this tea as it was and found it very pleasurable. This is even more rare for me to care for a CTC black tea without some form of even mild sweetener (just personal taste). I think it was the vanilla that brought it together for me in this case. I later tried a cup with some local honey and enjoyed that immensely as well.

Despite the general mildness of the tea and the flavorings, I can’t handle drinking this with too much frequency. I just prefer to have the flavor of the tea and the frequency of the flavors affects my taste buds for longer than I would like.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

one of my favorites…

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90

Thanks to ashmanra for this one, I have tried some wuyi oolongs but I was pretty curious to try a black tea that comes from the wuyi region. I just checked Harney’s website and they don’t have it anymore so I guess this is another sold out or limited production thing for them.

I ended up steeping this at 4 minutes @212F. Lots of cocoa here and some malt, it’s a nice dark red color. Very smooth and delicious. As it is cooling off I’m also getting a bit of floweriness in the nose, curious. I think this one is very enjoyable for my morning brew, although it does seem to lack some of the complexity of a wuyi oolong.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I emailed to inquire if they were getting anymore and they never responded.

TeaBrat

How typical – they do kind of suck in the customer service dept.

ScottTeaMan

I quit asking H & S questions for the same reason…….emails never got answered. A big problem for me because I consider quality of tea & customer service to be equally important!

Charles Thomas Draper

I have not bought anything from them nor will I….

Charles Thomas Draper

There is too much tea in China….

TeaBrat

I placed an order with them a few months ago but have not been that tempted recently. There’s too many other companies that are nice and friendlier.

aisling of tea

I had a horrible experience with them a while ago and I’ve been finding local replacements for everything I was tempted by. Why order from a cruddy company in the States when Toronto has so much amazing tea to offer?

TeaBrat

@aisling – I don’t blame you one bit and you certainly must have lots of great tea in Toronto…

Charles Thomas Draper

Wow. I wonder how many others have have similar complaints….

ScottTeaMan

I agree there are lots of better, friendlier, customer conscience companies, but I still order from them sparingly. Another thing I don’t like about H & S is their limited selections. They say they only pick the best teas from the best gardens. Well, I’ll give them that to an extent…….but even that is subjective. I think the more honest answer is that they focus on a limited number of teas per category, and focus more on selling bulk to hotels and resorts. That’s OK too, if that is what they choose to focus on. Personally, I like more choice, and if I have questions about a tea, I choose a company with more selection, and better customer service. If I choose a tea, and it is not to my liking, then it’s on me.

SimplyJenW

I just wonder if they really did not know when it would be back. It is still wrong for them to not answer. I asked about Golden Monkey in the early spring of last year and did get a response of September, but it was part of their usual offerings. (I work in online CS. Sometimes a “We don’t know” answer if it is true is still a good one because the customer is no longer hanging, and I think companies forget that. If you had asked the question at the shop, it is likely the answer you would have gotten.) I am betting with the seasonality of tea, they are not getting more until next year at the earliest, so they should have said “maybe next year”. And then will it be up to their standards for selling like the new crop like the issues with Golden Snail? I still have a few favorites from Harney, but you are right, they are not the only place to buy tea.

aisling of tea

@amy oh When my tea-loving brother came up for the weekend, we visited 6 tea stores in the area, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like every time we go out, we discover a new tea place, it’s awesome! Though I am sad that the teascape in Toronto is about to be tainted with Teavana :(. But I have 5-6 stores in TO that I regularly visit and there are still more on my list to try! I love living here.

ashmanra

Most of my experiences with Harney have been good. I sometimes got an online response from Michael himself. When they revamped the website I did notice that inquiries seemed to be falling through the cracks, but for most orders I had great service and extremely fast shipping. Since they were the first good loose leaf tea company I found I was extremely loyal to them, and still like many of their teas, but I agree that there are many great places to buy tea! For customer service I have been really impressed by purepuer.com though it is mostly tea ware rather than tea that I have purchased from them. I am sorry to hear that so many people have had bad experiences with Harney.

TeaBrat

My one experience of them was it took them a long time to ship my order and it also seemed to take a long time for them to answer e-mails. Then my BF went to one of their tasting rooms in NY and he was quite un-impressed by their lack of friendliness.

ScottTeaMan

I’ll still order from them for a few teas here and there…….if I can find what I’m looking for. Also, if it is stock. That is the problem with let’s say their Assam selection. They usually carry 6 or 7, & I may only be interested in one or two. If they sell out of those, they tend not to restock-maybe they can’t until next year. All the more reason to carry a few more selections. So they lose a sale.

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76

I’ve never said this before, but it’s a sipdown. As in I’m completely out of loose tea, and to make things worse I won’t get my monthly allowance until the the first of next month. This is a sad night. But still, this simple tea’s toasty embrace is comforting at the moment (as it usually is). I haven’t been in the mood for it lately but it still delivers.

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76

Super smooth and toasty. There’s not much to remark about when it comes to this tea (or genmaicha in general), it’s just one of life’s simple pleasures. The green tea is a little bit more pronounced in this than Ito En’s gemaimatcha, which I like. This is a mug of comfort on a cold winter’s night. Out of the few gemaichas I’ve had so far, this one is my favorite.

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48

Not sure what to think of this tea. Part of me kind of enjoys it, but for the most part it’s just not working for me. I got this as a sample sachet with my last order from Harney and I must say that the dry leaf smelled GREAT. But when I tasted it, it was just a bit too perfumey and the flavoring seemed to overpower the tea. Somehow it reminded me of a very subtle, white tea version of earl grey. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t purchase it.

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95
drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
2776 tasting notes

Thanks to ashmanra for a sample of this! I didn’t sleep much last night and this is really helping to perk me up in a gentle way.

I steeped it for 3 minutes in boiling water. Yum! I really like this. It’s a lighter bodied black tea with a lot of maltiness and sweetness. I’m reminded a bit of sweet potatoes and caramelized sugar. Exceptionally smooth and fine. You get a delightful aftertaste and rich mouthfeel. I would not recommend having this with any milk or sugar, it really doesn’t need it! Naturally sweet and delicious.

note: I went back for a second cup and found that I accidentally left my tea leaves still steeping in the pot – steeping this for 10 minutes, I do not recommend. ;-) But on the upside my whole kitchen smells like a molasses cookie!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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94

I’m drinking some more of this sample thanks to ScottTeaMan – a delicious assam and great as a breakfast tea. see previous notes. ;)

ScottTeaMan

I had some yesterday too….In the Evening. UHH OH!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgkdgGGXmJc&feature=related

OK I’M DONE: What can I say, sometimes I get carried away. :))

ScottTeaMan

Most welcome…….

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94

Many thanks to Scott for a sample of this one!

I steeped this for around 3 minutes today in around 205 F water. This is a really nice and gentle Assam. Sometimes i have found they can be a bit bitter in the finish but this one was very bold but also very smooth. I suppose the shorter steeping time helped. This is the first Assam I’ve met that I can drink plain, without any soymilk and what not.

The predominate notes here are definitely chocolate and malt, though the malt is not hitting me over the head like some other tea of this varietal tend to do. In that way it reminds me a bit of a Chinese black tea. It does indeed have a tiny bit of sweetness, very yum! I will definitely be tempted to buy this when payday comes around, although I do have a few other assams I should probably finish off first…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I din’t know how I missed this review Amy. If you steep it longer the maltiness is stronger-probably between 3.5-4 minutes. Four to five minutes can give you some bitterness and more malt. It also depends on the amount of leaf used. I’m glad you like it. :))

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88

I have yet to try a H&S tea that I truly dislike. I picked this out of my samples because I wanted a tea to give me a kick in the pants. I expected it to be harsh and jolting, like coffee, but I was surprised… pleasantly surprised. I always thought Assams were a bit on the harsh, sharp side, but this one is great! It’s bold, smooth and a bit sweet. It’s just strong enough to be a great morning tea without making me cringe. And it doesn’t really need milk or sugar! This is likely to become one of my staple morning teas.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
SimpliciTEA

I haven’t had a H&S tea I have disliked either.

As there is no way to respond or ‘like’ a review of a place I wanted to let you know I appreciate your writing the review of The Persimmon Tree Online store. It’s especially good to read about positive experiences!

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95

Special thanks to ashmanra for this one – I had noticed other people talking about it but it doesn’t seem to be on Harney’s website anymore so I guess they sold out of it.

I am trying to take more of my black teas without soymilk. I steeped this one at 205 F for around 3 minutes. It’s amazing how much this tea expands when you steep it. It definitely has a delicious cocoa nose. The flavor is robust but smooth, with flavors of cocoa. A cup of roasty and malty goodness and ever so slightly sweet! I hope Harney gets more off this but I’m glad I got the chance to try it…

This reminds me of another favorite of mine, the Black Spiral from the Tao of Tea. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

This is a must have

Charles Thomas Draper

Actually I began Steepster by reading a review of this …

ScottTeaMan

They do look familiar. I almost got this one when I ordered in September. I hope they can restock it!

ScottTeaMan

Amy, here’s another link for Golden Snail. It is alot cheaper…….I wonder if it is the same grade as Tao of Tea & Upton Tea?

http://www.teahousekuanyin.com/gosnyu.html

TeaBrat

I don’t know but the Black Spiral from Tao of Tea is only $3.25 an oz

ScottTeaMan

HHhhmmm, at Upton’s, 125g bag was $24. I’m going to TELL myself it was a higher grade or better lot. What I need to do is sample from other companies to make that determination, before I pay for the 4+ 0z bag from Upton’s.

ScottTeaMan

Since I’m gonna order more from Tao, I’ll just order it there.

ashmanra

So glad you liked it! I hope they restock it, too, but I am glad to know it can be had elsewhere.

Uniquity

They’ve been out of stock for ages – I contacted them last fall and they said that none of the newer batches have been up to snuff so i fear it might be essentially discontinued.

ScottTeaMan

Uniquity- Are you talking about Upton’s?? Different lots can look the same and be different in taste and quality, but I WILL try the cheaper stuff, hoping it will be just as good! :))

Uniquity

@Scott – Sorry, I didn’t read all the comments. Harney’s Golden Snail has been out of stock, I have not looked into Uptons.

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50

This is the last of the tea samples that the lovely Ashley gave to me. The liquid is deeper this time since I used my press and there are no big particles in my cup. Lovely. Favorite part about my press so far.

It is a goregous red-brown. My first cup of this using my tea ball sure didn’t look this way. I’m taking that as a good sign. This tea smells like liquid red hots. I could spend all day just smelling this tea and I would be happy. It tastes like them too, but something is off about it. On the forefront of the sip is the sweet and spicy cinnamon, but then there is a strange taste. It almost tastes chalky.

Something about this isn’t quite melding for me. I think it might be the rooibos that I am tasting, but I’m not sure. I think I might like this better as their black tea blend. It isn’t bad, so the rating is going up. I wouldn’t reach for this on my own. I think the flavor needs to be with a stronger base to get it to meld together for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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50

I have two samples of this. I brought one to school and the other I left at home. The dried leaf smelled just like a red hot candy, but the rest of the tea fell a bit flat for me. I generally like my herbals brewed longer for a lower temperature and it really didn’t do it for me this time.

Since I have another sample of this, I’m going to try boiling water next time and see if that makes a difference.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

this tea literally made me ill :(

Ninavampi

I didn’t like it either, it made me nauseous… Is this what happened to you Amy oh?

TeaBrat

@Nina, yes… unfortunately

MegWesley

That’s sad to hear. It is not good when a tea makes you react like that. I just dumped out the rest of my glass.

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80
drank Bangkok by Harney & Sons
119 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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82

VERY STRONG! If you are looking for a more mild cinnamon flavored tea, this is not for you! It has a very nice, full cinnamon flavor, but it can be a little overpowering. Overall, a pretty good tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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9

Disappointing. Smells lovely in the tin, but it brewed up to taste weakly of chamomile, with the other spices pulling a disappearing act. I steeped for 4 minutes at 180 F. It does have a dark coloration, but the flavor is sadly absent. I’m not a huge fan of white teas, but I usually find them tolerable. I don’t think I like chamomile by itself either, so I wish the vanilla or almond promised by the scent had come out a bit!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
550 tasting notes

This tea doesn’t really remind me of tea. It reminds me of something else, but I’m not sure of what. It smells nuttier than the last time I made it and I think it is a darker amber color than the last time I made it too.

I am getting a fair amount of chocolate and a good amount of hazlenut when I sip this. I had to let it cool for a little bit before the flavors developed. I think it doesn’t register as tea for me because it doesn’t taste watery. Even though it doesn’t have the thick body of cream, I am getting a more creamy mouth-feel. It feels like I am getting something rich, creamy, and decadent when I am not actually getting something thick and creamy. It is decadent though.

I think I have to boost the rating because it really feels like I am sipping on cocoa instead of tea. I am falling more in love with it every minute I sip this. Thank you Ashley! I will have to remember to actually get some of this when I have the tea funds.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
550 tasting notes

Why did I wait so long before ripping into the samples that Ashley sent to me? I was inspired by my Italian High Rennisance art history class, so I decided to try this one first. I brewed my small two cup pot and sat down with my copy of Beowulf to go with the tea.

The tea brewed up to a nice light honey color. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was tasting because it didn’t taste as strong as the teas I am used to. The flavor is very light. Once I relaxed I tasted the hazelnut. Light, nutty, slightly bitter and sweet at the same time. Then a small hint of chocolate drifted in with the black tea. Then I was getting a nice cream taste with all of the other flavors even though there was no cream in it. By the time I had finished my first cup I learned how to taste my tea.

I sweetened the second cup with a little bit of honey because I wanted that rich dessert taste. The honey brought out the chocolate more and the whole cup smoothed over. I was going to ask my roommate if she wanted a taste, but I wanted to drink this all on my own. The flavors are very balanced and I enjoyed every drop.

My only regret is that I only brought half of my samples to school with me. Granted, I did that on the request of my boyfriend so he can share a pot of each flavor with me when I get home, but I still wish I had brought it all for myself. Now I know what a high quality flavored tea is like.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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87

I am not a huge fan of hightly flavored tea, but this one is good occasionally. Its honey flavor is prominent, and somehow the bouquet makes me think of fruitcake. Darkly sweet, fruity, texture is a bit heavy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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79

Trying a second cup from my sample. Hmm… I think I like it even better this time! I steeped 30 seconds longer with no ill effects. I let my husband try my cup, and he said “I would drink that. Buy some.” and that’s unusual for him – he usually has no opinions, and just drinks whatever I don’t care for! It isn’t super chocolate-y, but it is creamy and comforting. I had a rather bad day, and it’s making me feel better. Prepared with milk and sugar, and I don’t think it’s nearly as good without. I think I might have to buy a bag!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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79

Chocolate mint is one of my favorite combinations. I love mint tea, but I have to say that chocolate teas have yet to impress me. I wasn’t expecting much from this tea, but I had to try it after reading the mixed reviews.

The leaves smell awesome – just like chocolate mint candies! I have enough experience now with chocolate teas to not expect them to be really strong, so I expected the mint to dominate the finished brew (mint is like that… I once had a friend give me a selection of mint liqueurs, and it ages to use them up, as everything I put them in turned to MINT in big capital letters.

I steeped in boiling water for 5 minutes (2.5 tsp of tea for 14 oz of water… I thought it would need extra due to the mint. I was right I think.) The initial taste had a strong blast of mint (as expected.) I smelled the tea, and I could smell the chocolate in the background. I added milk, having read reviews here that said that brought out the chocolate. I’m happy to say that it did! The addition of a little sugar helped to tame the mint as well. The result was really lovely – sweet and lightly minty with chocolate and caramel notes. This is a nice dessert tea, though I confess that a little more chocolate might be better. I’m not sure it rates buying more after my sample runs out, but I did enjoy this cup!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90

This is my favorite tea for iced, especially when combined with American Tea Company’s Choco*latte.

Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Vanilla

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90

I’m really loving this tea, and it’s fast becoming one of my favorite after-dinner brews. It’s pretty much as described, kind of like a more tart creamsicle with a bit of the depth of white tea.

Do be careful though, it is sensitive to overbrewing, where the overbrewed tea leaves clash nastily with the grapefruit and gets extra bitter.

It should be amazing on ice, though I haven’t tried it yet.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
2776 tasting notes

Thanks to QueenofTarts for a sample of this!

I am enjoying this as my after lunch tea. I like the fact that it’s decaf so I can enjoy it anytime. The vanilla is good in this blend, subtle but not artificial tasting. I steeped mine in an infuser mug for about 3 minutes and then added some plain soymilk. It’s dark and rich, and not bitter, it definitely did not need sugar. I quite liked this as a dessert tea and I think it WILL go on my list of things to order from Harney and Sons.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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