Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
12oz of this + 1tbsp So Delicious Dairy Free French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer = too much vanilla. I kinda knew it would be, but had to try it anyway. It may just be that’s it’s too sweet. shrug I did say yesterday that this doesn’t need additions, and I should stand by that.
I need to put a note on the bag to remind me that the H&S sachets brew a 12oz cup.
This was perfect in my Bodum double-walled travel tumbler. It’s a nice (decaf) afternoon treat with plenty of vanilla flavor and no additions required! This may become my new evening treat.
This tea has a pleasantly surprising smoothness for a dark Assam and while not completely immune from going bitter, it takes a good deal of steeping amnesia for this to happen. Despite really letting loose on this one – pouring a full boil and even a spoon squeeze of the leaves after 4 minutes, it still brewed strong but with rich yet balanced, enjoyable flavor with some natural honey-like sweetness. This cup epitomizes a deep cup of tea – dark brewed with unmistakable character that declares its quality above many other black teas. The experience is unforgettable enough that I was able to remember the name of the estate and recommend this Assam to others while it is still available.
I have enjoyed this tea iced as well in the summer months – brewing it strong in quantity but not increasing steep time. It pairs well with light, sweet citrus.
This is currently my preferred Assam, though I have ordered some of the new Mangalam and Satisphur varieties and will testify for those once they arrive.
Thank you Lindsay!!!!
This one has been on my WISH LIST for a LONG time!
I really wanted to try this because of the PLUM but I am concerned about the lower ratings…trying to keep my mind open…and because of the hibiscus factor…again…trying to keep my mind open!
It smells like Passion Fruit, Plum, Flowers, Spices, and Citrus.
it’s an intense purple-red color
It is quite tart but here’s what else is going on…
I can taste the tarty fruits first and foremost but then I can taste the cinnamon. This seems a little strange but it’s subtle. I can also taste the ginseng and orange which is actually quite nice.
I have mixed feelings about this because there are so many things going on.
I think the Hibiscus IS overdone – like in MOST teas and tisanes that companies choose to use that ingredient BUT…
The fruit flavors are brilliantly popping here. The cinnamon and ginseng help switch it up a little but the dreaded hibiscus is still overpowering.
It sort of reminds me of a plum spice I had from Rishi a while back. It’s supposed to be warming but I think tisanes like this might be better iced. Regardless this wasn’t bad…
The more it sits at room temp the more I can taste PLUM…yay! BUT…they – as well as most companies out there – really need to come off of the Hibiscus more than a bit.
Sorry for the Hibiscus rant! LOL
Regardless – this has potential and I am overjoyed I was able to try it – thanks again – Lindsay!!!!
I did get my plum fix for the day :) CHEERS!
For those that like a darker oolong, this tea will not disappoint. The leaves resemble Da Hong Pao in appearance, though somewhat lighter colored with hints of an evergreen tone, and slightly thinner. The aroma of the dry leaves is rather pleasing and I imagine they’d do just fine as a component of a potpourri. The scent is of an elegant toasted dried peach liqueur and is rather inviting.
For this tea, I use almost boiling water and steep for a good 4-5 minutes. Unlike other oolongs it takes the hotter water quite well and returns a beautiful amber colored brew that is aromatic. It is somewhat similar in appearance to Wuyi Cassia as it is from that region, but has a more robust flavor with a satisfying bite (but not astringent) if one prefers a deeper steep. The tea fills the mouth shyly with a medium body and leaves behind a soothing finish. I find I favor this tea in the autumn and winter and tend to gravitate towards the lighter Ali San or Ti Quan Yin varieties in spring and summer, though the flavor is enough to satisfy any season.
As with all teas I consume, I do not use milk or sugar, and prefer to gain my insights from the pure tea itself. This no doubt is an insightful tea.
Wow! This may just be my favorite green tea yet!! (excluding matcha of course). One of my many new years resolutions was to drink more green tea, and I don’t think I’ll have any problem with that if it’s Tokyo blend! A million thanks to ScottTeaMan for the recommendation, it’s right up my alley! Subtle, grassy sweetness, with the complexity of the sesame seeds to give it enough character, this is a treat.
I recently converted my sister (a longtime exclusively coffee-drinker) to tea. As I have a habit of forcing things I love upon my friends and family I have been thrilled with this feat , and taken it upon myself to introduce her to as many different teas that I thought she’d like as possible. She started calling me her tea mentor, so I thought I owed it to her to take her on a round of tea shopping this past Saturday. We stopped at the David’s tea on Bleecker, Porto Rico Importing and Harney’s Soho store, of course. All were insanely busy but I’d have to mark it as a success as we were both encumbered with large packages by the time we made it to the bar to watch my 49ers’ magnificent victory!
Now that I’ve rambled off the backstory at length, this was one of the many purchases made that day. I was indecisive and looking for something different, and when I had one whiff of this I knew it’d be perfect! It’s sweet florals are the perfect cure to this rainy/snowy day!
The tea brews a translucent pale yellow-green and has a distinctive and inviting buttery floral scent. The leaves are rolled and need space to expand so using a strainer or pyramid is recommended over the common paper type filters. I use a kettle with a temperature gauge and set it to the front of the oolong range for this tea, which is just right. The taste of this tea I describe as savory and it coats the mouth with the buttery earthy flavor characteristic of some of the high mountain oolongs. I was able to get two steeps out of my first bag with the second being slightly more intense on the earthy side. For those that like floral or earthy oolongs this is a privilege to drink, and quite a welcome departure from firm leaf varieties like wuyi cassia or da hong pao, from which I need a short break.
Not for the faint of heart with respect to price – but because the rolled leaves expand to a great degree, just a few are needed for a perfect cup. I just re-upped and ordered another batch, as some family members also took a keen liking to this tea, which we sipped in the evening as a way to relax and put the day behind us.
This tea has grown on me once I found the brewing parameters which bring out the best in it. I find that using a little more than a teaspoon at just under 4 minutes of steep time at just under boiling works best to bring out the delectable flavors hiding in this tea. Using these parameters reveals a subtle fruit tone enveloping a truly high quality classic black tea taste without the bitterness or sting associated with some oversteeped attempts. Brewed appropriately this tea will have me licking my lips after the first few sips. It will dent the wallet but I find the tea to be a rather refined and delicate cup that I simply must have in supply.
This tea is difficult to ice – I have not had much success, preferring other congous such as the panyang. Perhaps adjusting the iced steep parameters will bear better results, and if so I will post such. That said, after mastering the brewing settings this tea has moved into my top 5 and has become a daily enjoyment due to its incredibly smooth finish and heir of sophistication. Good over a book or contemplating non-stressful things.
This was recommended in the absence of one of my favorite H&S teas, Golden Snail, which is not available for the time being. The leaves are large and resemble Golden Monkey leaves in both size and texture. I like to use a larger amount of leaves for larger or full leaf teas and steep for less time, as this allows for a second steeping of high quality. That said I left these in about 4 minutes to generate a darker tone and I was rewarded – there is a very pleasant honey cocoa aroma reminiscent of the golden monkey but this tea is a little lighter and less intense on the tongue. There is less of a bite – and I am pleased to describe how smooth the tea remains after a more intense steep. There is no smokiness or astringency.
This is a very enjoyable second cup of morning tea for me (I like to start the day with an Assam or Assam blend). It also works in early evenings when one has some time to contemplate. A very enjoyable, well-mannered tea.
I love this tea. It’s not overly fruity, which is something I’ve run into often when trying to find a good apple cinnamon tea. I run into ones pumped up with hibiscus or a crapload of cloying artificial flavoring. This tastes like TEA, and has a pleasant aftertaste and aroma of apple & cinnamon. With the addition of some raw butterbean honey it has knocked other contenders out of the way for my #1 breakfast tea spot. The honey really highlighted the apple, but did so gently. I brought it work in a thermos and it made my desk’s area smell delightful. :)
Experience buying from Harney and Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york
Age of leaf: Lot # 11193: puts ”production” at mid-July of 2011. I waited until today, Mid-January 2012, to open this tea (it was still in its vacuum sealed bag within the tin).
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: similar shape and size of a standard green tea: very dark green, curly leaves, which look almost brown. Yet, it has an aroma I have never encountered before (which I really like): surprisingly sweet, and spicy, and somewhat similar to a White Monkey green tea I had recently. It is very leafy in that 1.5oz fit very snugly in their standard 4 oz tin.
Brewing guidelines: leaves free to roam in my glass Bodum pot; stevia added.
……….1st: 165; 1’………. Incredible!
……….2nd: 170; 1.5’……About as good!
……….3rd: 180; 2’………Still good.
……….4th: 185; 2.5’……..Wow, still good.
……….5th: 189; 3.5’………Not much, but some!
……….6th: 193; 5’………….Amazing. Still some flavor!
Color and aroma of tea liquor: standard clear yellowish-green color which did not seem to change much over the steepings; very mild, but somewhat sweet, aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor: < see below >
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Impressive looking: although there were a number of stems (and a few pieces) it was mostly comprised of whole leaves and buds; they were similar in color to the leaves of a green tea, but they had some yellow—and one or two brown—splotches on some of the leaves (I suspect this discoloration is from the yellowing process). It was fun to watch them steep. They slowly progressed from ‘hanging out’ on top on the first steeping, to ‘hanging out’ on the bottom on the sixth. Aroma was odd, almost sour after one steeping, then later, after one of the last steepings, it was almost, malty? Weird.
Value: Awesome for what this tea delivers: $5 / 1.5oz tin.
Overall: First of all, silly as it sounds, I have to apologize to the tea: it sat, unused and unloved in a dark tin, on the back shelf of my tea cupboard for months before I even opened it. Sorry, tea!
Feeling a little better now, to business.
I have had only one other yellow tea (from Tea Trekker) and my wife and I both liked it. Yellow teas are hard to find; well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that they’re aren’t very many types of them (a tea retailer will usually one have one or two, if that). They can be on the pricy side, as there is an extra step in the processing, and I think the production is generally pretty limited. I view yellow teas as the ‘creme de la creme’ of the larger category of green teas (which they kind of fall within). So, I was expecting something good from this tea right from the get-go. And, not long after opening the sealed bag and smelling the leaves I was already starting to get excited about this tea. I could tell right away it was different (I went out to the H&S website to look at their recommendations on how to brew this tea, and I saw that they describe the aroma as being similar to a Darjeeling. No wonder I like the smell of the leaves so much!). So, that’s nice, it looks and smells good, but what about taste? Well, it didn’t disappoint here at all. It was very unusual: smooth, sweet, and fruity, somewhat like an Indian black tea, as good as or better then the Tea Trekker yellow tea, and I never tasted any astringency. My wife could even tell it tasted like a black tea, and she liked it so much she was quickly asking me to brew up the second pot! The staying power of the flavor over six steepings amazed me: it had about as much flavor on the sixth as a quality green has on the forth. All that to say, this is one of the best teas I have ever had, no matter what class it’s in!
Well I have to thank JenW for the fact that I am going to have to place an order from Harney’s now… I feel like you are either going to love or hate this tea. It is just like red hots. Literally just like red hots! I like my teas to have a strong flavor if they are flavored so I love this tea, especially since it is snowing here and it looks so cold out and this tea just warms me right up. Now I am wondering if the decaf version of this is any good just because I would love to be able to drink this at night as a dessert tea! This tea is extremely dusty and the liquor is sort of foggy not the best looking but the taste says it all!
Thanks so much to JenW for sending me a sample of this… It is so good… I think I may have found my ideal chocolate coconut tea. It smells great and is just really beautiful with the pretty little petals in it.
If you like coconut you must try this tea it is wonderful, the smell is a bit like hot chocolate with coconut. The taste taste is bit more coconut with a nice chocolate after taste, but you can still taste the tea at the end as well! Anyways this is a great tea and thanks again JenW for the tea! This is going on my shopping list and will be buying from them in a bit!
Tea of the evening…..
…..And a little experiment. I may be sorry for drinking a tea even with just a little caffeine this late, but it is the weekend. I am hoping my system can tolerate a jasmine pearl this late at night and not suffer insomnia from too much caffeine too late at night…..
I am really liking jasmine tea, lately. I have one that is a straight jasmine green and a few that are pearl jasmine like this one. I love the light floral notes in this type of tea as they are very relaxing. This example is very good. It definitely ranks up with the best I have tried (which really is only about three…..) I would consider purchasing when I cannot find a comparable tea on the market at a better price. This one comes out to about $5 an ounce. It resteeps very well. My second pot full (yes, I am incredibly hydrated after two 24 oz. pots of this!) was just as good as the first.
24 oz. teapot, just over 4 actual tsp tea, 175ish water, 3 minutes steep #1, 4 minutes steep #2. No additions.
OK, almost 40 mins for that last one, lets try again! … Well, then again, it turns out that this was not a good one to try to rush through!
Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes
Experience buying from Harney and Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york
Age of leaf: Lot # 11203: puts ”production” at end of June of 2011 (although according to their website, all their Japanese tea is from previous years harvest). I brewed it about three weeks after receiving it.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: They say enough for 3-4 cups, but, although I don’t know how to measure this tea, as it is incredibly dense (lots of small, chopped bits), for many reasons I believe this was enough for a full pot of 6-7 cups (at least by my standards), so I believe this was at least a half an ounce, if not more. Very small cut pieces (as advertised), color and smell similar to Harney and Son’s Gyokuro, but not as dark, and not as sweet smelling.
Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot, with metal infuser/plunger; stevia added.
Please see my profile if you are interested in my reasons why I steep the way I do
……….1st: 155; 1.5’…. Very strong grassy flavor (mostly like spinach).
……….2nd: 160; 1’…….More cloudy, more astringent, and not as sweet, but still lots of flavor.
……….3rd: 147; 45"…..Sweeter, and best taste yet!
……….4th: 152; 2.5’….Very dark and cloudy, good flavor.
……….5th: 162; ???’…Not as cloudy, and still flavor!
Color and aroma of tea liquor: bright lime green color (similar to Gyokuro); like any other quality Japanese tea, some of the smallest bits make it through the holes in my Bodum press to henceforth sit on the bottom of my pot (I guess they don’t like being held captive?). The nerve!
Flavor of tea liquor: I enjoyed it, but my wife did not like it’s spinach-like flavor. (Note: it became sweeter and more astringent when cooled).
Appearance of wet leaf: Like just about every quality Japanese tea I have had so far, it looked a lot like cut grass (I have cleaned many lawnmower and this looks a lot like the grass clippings! Upon second inspection, it is a lighter green color than the cut grass I remember). There are a few large pieces of stems mixed in with the “clippings.”
Value: For a sample, great, considering what I got for $2 (it is roughly $10/oz otherwise).
Overall: Per my notes, this was an adventure in brewing and tasting (probably the most fun time steeping a green tea I have ever had)! This tea stood up amazingly well to different times and temperatures all the while maintaining flavor throughout (with little astringency); having more experience with Japanese greens since then, this is very surprising, as my understanding is that you are lucky to get three good steepings out of one. I noted that I felt unusually calm and centered on the day I drank this (Because of lots of theanine? Who knows …). I even ate some of these leaves, and although I am not a fan of cooked spinach, I liked it! The more I read over my notes, and think back on my experience with this tea, the more I think I will have to revisit this tea sometime in the near future! Thank you Harney and Sons, Japan and the green tea industry over there for allowing me to experience this tea!
So on my second mug of this (using fresh new leaf—not a resteep), I used slightly less tea, lower temp and longer steeping time. Aroma of freshly baked pie crust! Taste is much sweeter and feels somehow “lighter”. Hints of caramel and molasses—with a dash of pepper. Less of that yummy malt, but still very pleasant and absolutely delicious!
Mostly, I detect the slightly sweet almost sandalwood-like flavor of good Keemun. Then a rich, malty, breadiness. There is a bit of peppery smoke rounding it all out. Super smooth yet substantial. It has a wonderful, satisfying flavor and “chewiness”.
I wish I knew exactly which types of tea are in this mixture (it says “a blend of three Chinese teas”)—there has to be Keemun, I’m sure of it. The breadiness must be Dian Hong (Yunnan). Then the smooth/smokiness of…..Lapsang? (no—not that, there’s no “campfire” notes)
I would swear there was Assam in this—with all its hearty, bready, malt. But, since Assam is Indian, what is the Chinese equivalent?
A yummy mystery, this tea is. :)
Overall, Queen Catherine is a beautiful, enigmatic blend!
Backlogging (so, based almost entirely on my notes)
Experience buying from @Ashley: I bought this tea from Ashley in the fall of 2011 when she was selling all of her tea. I received the tea quickly through the mail and my package was filled with many surprises. Thank you Ashley!
Date of steeping: I steeped this up not long after I got it.
Aroma of dry leaf: Smells good: vanilla.
Brewing guidelines: 1 tsp tea, 1 cup water. Ceramic eight-oz cup, tea in metallic basket strainer, stevia added.
……….1st: Near Boiling, semi-warmed cup; 2’…Wonderful!
……….2nd: Boiling, warmed cup; 3’……………….. Delicious!
……….3rd: Boiling, warmed cup; 4’…………………Less flavor, but still good.
……….4th: Boiling, hot cup; 6’………………………..Not much flavor.
Color and aroma of tea liquor: Dark brown color; smells like freshly made waffle cones!
Flavor of tea liquor: I love the taste: rich, delicious vanilla flavor, with a possible chocolate note hiding in there: it’s like eating a fresh waffle cone!
Overall: What I remember most about this tea (having brewed it up about two to three months ago) is the aroma that filled the kitchen when I brewed it up: it made me feel like I was in an ice cream shop smelling freshly made waffle cones! I guess the vanilla flavoring gives it this wonderful aroma? Anyway, I will have to try to remember to buy some of this tea the next time I order from H&S: it definitely ROCKS!