Harney & Sons

Recent Tasting Notes

75

At the end of a long day, I was happy to find some tea samples I had ordered a long time ago finally at my door! Upon opening this one I could smell the bergamot citrus—bright but not sharp, and in fact quite soothing. The tea in the sachet consists of light-colored, green and silver/downy leaves, typical for white tea, and the liquor brews up to a light golden color. The flavor and fragrance are quite gentle for a bergamot-flavored tea, and milder than the average Earl Grey by virtue of using white tea. There’s a light lingering sweetness to it, a contribution from the tea base that lends more body, and a very faint astringency that is not distracting. While I’m not sure how much this tea evokes a sense of winter, it’s a nice treat for a cold evening.

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65
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
133 tasting notes

This almost smells more like hot chocolate than tea…a truly rich, decadent chocolate scent! Unfortunately, the flavor doesn’t live up to the aroma. The chocolate and hazelnut were there, but muted. I think I need to try a longer steep time on this one next time. Thanks to The Cookie Lady for the sample!

Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87
drank East Frisian by Harney & Sons
878 tasting notes

I ordered this tea on a whim with my last H&S order thinking it would be nice to have in my cupboard in the wintertime. I figured if this is the style of tea the East Frisians drink to warm themselves up there by the North Sea then surely it’ll do the job for me. And it does! As an added bonus I now have a new place to add to by list of places to see before I die. Although I think I’ll visit in the summer. Northern Germany during the winter doesn’t sound like fun to me even if there is tea.

The tea itself is a mix of Assam, Ceylon, and Darjeeling. It has a thick malty note from the Assam that’s brightened mid-sip by the lemon flavor of the Ceylon. The Darjeeling also adds a lighter flavor, and it also adds some astringency which works really well in this tea. This is definitely a milk and sugar tea, and once added this is comfort in a cup, pure and simple. It’s doing a great job of waking me up and chasing the chills away.

I think I’m going to pick up heavy cream when I’m at the store today so I can try this tea with rock sugar, which I already have, and cream since that’s the way they drink it in East Frisian. I have a feeling it’ll be good.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

I didn’t have particularly high expectations for this tea since it sounded like it would either be too tart or too plain. Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of cranberry-flavored things. I am happy to report that it was neither! Quite enjoyable both hold and cold. I see myself really enjoying this as an iced tea during summer and as a hot tea in fall/winter. Thanks, dort, for sending me a sample!

Flavors: Cranberry

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88
drank Hao Ya 'B' by Harney & Sons
490 tasting notes

Hmm, I take back some of what I said yesterday. Today I’m having it with less sweetener since I accidentally used too much before.

Yesterday I said I wasn’t getting any smoky flavor, but today I can taste it. It’s subtle, nothing like a lapsang or anything like that. But it’s there. I guess I just muted it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88
drank Hao Ya 'B' by Harney & Sons
490 tasting notes

I got this tea as a gift from Kaliska back in the summer and I’ve been holding on to it. I tried it iced and found that it’s not a very good black tea for that, so I saved it for winter when I’d want it hot.

First of all, this is the first tea I’ve gotten from Harney & Sons that came in both a tin and a foil pouch. Neat! Inside the pouch, the leaves are dark and tiny. Very narrow and fine, but not broken up. They’re so fine that when I scoop them with a teaspoon, I get a very dense amount. That comes into play later.

The resulting tea is hearty and rich, perfect for the first cup of the day. I certainly felt motivated by it! Since you get so much tea leaf per scoop, it’s easy to make it come out strong whether you meant to or not. There’s a hint of bitterness from this preparation, but in a good way. It’s tasty in the way that fancy dark chocolate is tasty. (To be clear, this isn’t a chocolatey tea, I’m just comparing the pleasant bitterness factors.)

I taste notes of honey, malt, wheat, and grains. It’s very satisfying. There’s a fair amount of astringency, but that’s common in keemuns and was expected. Others here on Steepster have called this tea smoky, but I’m not tasting it. Huh. I look forward to going through this tea throughout the winter.

Flavors: Grain, Honey, Malt, Wheat

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88
drank Eight at the Fort by Harney & Sons
352 tasting notes

I’m told this is a breakfast tea. They are often too malty for my tastes. This one is not overly malty. There is a very nice, mild malt flavor, not meaning chocolate malt. This is backed up by a very strong sweet flavor that I think I would describe as plums, or perhaps stonefruits, but I think plums is the best description. It also says citrus which is a good description too. Harney and Sons did not have this in the 4oz t tin so I had to buy the half pound. Considering the price, and the taste of this tea I am not at all unhappy having a lot of it. This and one sample was all I bought from Harney and Sons Black Friday sale, but then again their only promotion was free shipping on all orders. It did enable me to buy only one tea from them and avoid shipping charges.

I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.

Flavors: Citrus, Malt, Plums

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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96
drank Mango by Harney & Sons
31 tasting notes

So great. Makes a superb iced tea. We used to drink this whenever we had lunch at the late, great Takashimaya New York. Nice, fruity natural mango flavor, not too perfumy. You still know you’re drinking a black tea. Can’t say enough good things about this tea – one of my favorites!

Flavors: Fruity, Mango

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
827 tasting notes

This is an older sample, and it’s from TeaTiff. Sorry it took me so long to try it! Now, I was a bit of an idiot with this tea. I looked at the leaves and absent-mindedly thought _hmm this looks like it has Darjeeling in it". And yet, I set the kettle to 200 degrees (my standard temperature for most blacks) anyway. So hopefully I haven’t royally fucked up on this tea! The leaves are mostly dark chocolate brown with some green and lighter brown pieces. I can smell sweet candy lemon and caramel both in the dry leaves.

I can definitely smell the Darjeeling in the steeped tea as well, in fact the scent of it combined with the lemon is reminding me of bergamot. There is also a caramel aroma. My cup did come out a teeny bit bitter, but that’s totally my fault for using a temperature that was too high. I do love the flavors here, though! It tastes like some kind of amazing lemon/caramel pastry dessert. The Darjeeling puts forth some interesting hay and floral notes that add lovely dimension. I can’t wait to taste this with proper brewing parameters! :D

Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Hay, Lemon, Pastries

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75
drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
10 tasting notes

Every time I look at this box of tea I get really excited… because I am one of those “Pumpkin Spice Fanatics”. But, I always forget that anything pumpkin flavored is typically terrible tasting without added sugar. This tea is not an exception to that rule. I never add sugar to my teas, so this comes off as extremely bold. Although the tea is not terrible, it has a pretty strong pumpkin/clove/nutmeg flavor. So if you aren’t a fan of those flavors in a big way… stay away.

Flavors: Clove, Nutmeg, Pumpkin

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

This tea is probably one of my favorites. The cinnamon blend is naturally sweet so adding sugar is completely unnecessary! Although I typically do not add any sugar to my teas, this particular variety is exceptionally sweet on its own. If you are a fan of cinnamon flavor you will LOVE this tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

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Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 g

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80

This is one of the better Earl Grey teas I’ve had, since it’s not too heavy on the bergamot. I really have to be in the mood for it. It’s still snowy and cold here, and I really gravitate toward blacks when that’s the case, but I decided I wanted something with a little flavor, too. This is fitting the bill.

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72

Hot, I did not like this at all!! How odd.
It was musty and a bit bitter, but not in a cranberry way.
Now that its cooled, I can taste the fruitiness a bit more while any must has faded. There’s also something mildly spicy in there, though I can’t figure out quite what.
In terms of a classic cranberry tea, it isn’t exactly what I imagined or craved, so I guess the perfect cranberry tea hunt must continue.
Overall, I’d say that it does evoke a theme of “autumn” so points for that.

Dustin

I think their Boston blend has cranberries too. It sounded intriguing, but when I tried it it was very similar to hibiscus.

Dustin

…which = very blech IMO.

Indigobloom

Hmmm. Now I am curious.
I don’t mind hibiscus IF in moderation, and if it contributes to the taste of the fruit. But I can’t stand it when they add so much that all you taste is sour!

Kittenna

Cranberry Pear from DT is my favourite cranberry tea. Most seem to use hibiscus to emulate the tartness of cranberry, which wrecks it.

Indigobloom

I really liked the one from Mlesna, but I’ve run out now. I seem to recall loving the Cran Pear one, though it has been ages! totally agreed on the hibby :/

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89
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
77 tasting notes

Note: teabag form

Now I see why everyone on here has reviewed this tea. It’s really good! I think this is a perfect tea to share with newbie tea drinkers. I have some friends who aren’t in to loose leaf yet and don’t have an advanced palate so I’m always looking for teas I think they’ll like.

I received this teabag in an order I placed so I don’t have another to try it iced but I think it would be a great iced tea. I’d probably prefer loose leaf to do that though.

Overall I don’t get a ton of bergamot, which was fine with me. There is a nice malty black base with smooth vanilla and just a hint of bergamot.

Someday I’ll get some loose leaf of this and try cold brewing.

Dr Jim

One of my favorite iced teas. The decaf version is also very good.

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
398 tasting notes

This is a lovely smokey, fruity tea where the elements of the blend really shine through. I probably used a little more leaf than my preference but the resulting brew is not bitter. I mostly taste the smokiness of the Keemun and possibly the panyong, a slightly woody fruitiness from the Keemun which has hints of dried stone fruit and sweet red wine, which may be enhanced by fruity elements of the panyong and a sweet cocoa note which is mostly Yunnan but may again be enhanced buy the panyong. There is a very faint floral note from the Keemun and a touch of frankness enhanced by a honey note and a bit of malt. The aftertaste is reminiscent of wine mixed with a touch of honey and a bit of smoke. Overall a nice, robust and bold blend. Thanks so much Nicole for giving me a chance to try it!

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78
drank Capri by Harney & Sons
133 tasting notes

This sample came from dort. While it is not what I expected, it’s still quite tasty. I expected more fig flavor, but I think a lemony-vanilla flavor is taking center stage here. Perhaps if I’d have sweetened it, I might have been able to coax out more of the fig flavor. I’ll try that next time. This is one I’d pick up if Harney & Sons was offering a discount.

Flavors: Lemon, Vanilla

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80
drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
312 tasting notes

The good news: Just submitted my final project for class!
The bad news: ….it was due at noon.

If this were me during my undergrad years, I would probably be pacing around, hyperventilating, crying, trying not to throw up right now. But me now? I just… I can’t help but keep it in perspective. Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it, but I’ve gotten all A’s in this class so far, and losing some points on this project… not going to end my life.

So I’m both celebrating/lamenting with some ice cream and Royal Wedding. I don’t know whether or not I actually published the review where I talked about getting placebo-effect caffeine from this tea before I found out it was a white tea, but I’m hoping I don’t have that tonight. It’s still so soft and sweet (although a little odd with ice cream.) Hot tea is especially comforting right now, what with it being cold and my body being like eggh. Yay royal weddings!

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80
drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
312 tasting notes

…Wait a minute, this is a white tea?

So I totally thought this was a black tea this whole time. Welp, the caffeine from last night’s cup must have been a placebo effect!

Somehow I wound up with like 50 sachets of this. This tea smells sooooo sweet. In a good way. It’s fruit-y and light vanilla-y. When I drink it, I get more of a light floral flavor, but the sweetness lingers as an undertone once the tea cools a bit. Of course, now that I know it’s a WHITE tea, I want to try it at a lower water temperature next time.

I like it!

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95

I bought a tin of Harney and Sons Early Grey and Earl Grey Imperial on the same day, and I just finished the regular Earl Grey, having loved every cup. When I cracked the seal on this tin I wondered how much better it could possibly be than the regular Earl Grey. What I loved about the regular Earl Grey was its simplicity. They just take damn good tea leaves, add a hint of bergamot, and that’s it (and for the record, that’s all an Earl Grey should ever be). The Earl Grey Imperial has the same formula, but it’s even better. The quality of the tea leaves in this blend is amazing. Every flavor in the cup is perfectly balanced. No single flavor overpowers any other, which makes every sip an absolute delight. This is the best Earl Grey I’ve tasted yet, and I look forward to many more cups of this tea in the future.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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91

Very cinnamony and spicy tea. It makes me think of Christmas and is one of those teas that I only drink in the winter. I know there are orange peels in the tea but I don’t taste any orange flavour.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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91

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85
drank Capri by Harney & Sons
11 tasting notes

The fig smell is strong, with a hint of vanilla, but I don’t really smell lemon at all. Buying a fig flavored tea was a streach for me since I’m not a big fan of actual fans (the texture throws me off). I added a bit of sugar to mine to bring out the figgy sweetness and it is wonderful. I find that with a little bit of sugar I can taste the vanilla more strongly. As for the base of the tea it is wonderfully strong without being bitter, which I find to be a similarity across the flavored h&s teas.

Flavors: Fig, Honey, Vanilla

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drank UVA Highlands by Harney & Sons
312 tasting notes

This is literally the THIRD Saturday I’ve had off since early August. And this is the first one of them I haven’t been traveling. I don’t know what to do with myself! (Oh, wait… yes I do. Homework.)

Normally, I shy away from this kind of tea; I have to be in the right mood for something “minty” like the packaging describes. Today, I wanted to try something different, and this fit the bill.

The leaves are small and dark brown. The aroma is pretty faint, but a little odd… it’s not quite smoky, it’s more rubbery.

The water wasn’t quite boiling when I took it off the stove, but I steeped for about four minutes. It might be partly my fault, but this tea is quite brisk. I can see where they get “mint,” but it’s more of a vaguely “cool” note than true “mint.” Not really a flavor I enjoy, but definitely a good pick-up.

I may have to try this on a shorter steep time before I pass my final judgment, but my first impression: not bad. Nothing to write home about, unlike some of the other teas in H&S’s same sample pack, but not bad.

EDIT: Almost forgot – I have a tea blog! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/

This is my first blog, so I’m still learning a lot of the ropes. It’s a beginner’s guide to loose-leaf tea, and while it’s basic at this point, it will eventually become a “tea guide” so that if you’re curious about something particular about tea – say, Earl Greys, Da Hong Paos, variable-temperature kettles, or shopping for matcha ware – it’ll give you a starting point.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Shae

Congratulations on the new blog!

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