Harney & Sons
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Recent Tasting Notes
There was so much hype about this. I bought it in sachet form from iHerb and it didn’t taste like anything! I figured maybe it was a very old tin or it was damaged by light or heat. So I went ahead and bought another tin. I can taste the vanilla, kind of like a plain vanilla cupcake, but it still seemed weak to me.
Perhaps all the rave reviews were for the loose leaf, which I’m now desperate to try but is sadly unavailable in Australia. Will have to wait until I go on exchange in the U.S.
At least the tin is pretty.
For the past few months, I’ve been writing about tea through my Sunday Tea and Books posts, and how the various flavours I encounter bring up memories for me of the books I’ve read. Smoky, sweet, tangy, tart, fruity, malty — each of those sensations has meant something to me.
Today, I’m doing something a bit different. Today, I’m telling you about a flavour and a memory from my own life, rather than something pulled from the pages of a book or e-reader.
Today, I’m going to tell you about linden tea. Forget Proust and his madeleines, though; when I think of it, it takes me back to 1998, when I was 13 – the year my father died.
Of course, I’m not going to go into all of that here. It’s better to read the entire post on my site: http://christinavasilevski.com/2014/07/sunday-tea-memories-linden-tea/
So how does Harney & Sons Florence compare with Adagio—let’s see which one was it? Aquarius, I believe. Funny that i have no difficulty remembering that Florence = hazelnut + chocolate, but that same connection doesn’t work with a name as truly and utterly arbitrary as Aquarius. I realize that one might consider Florence to be arbitrary as well—though I have been there and find it closer to the warm and cuddly choco-hazelnut veering Nutella feeling than, say Rome—but Aquarius contains the root AQUA, that is: water. What could water have to do with such a tea to begin with that it does not have to do with every other tea as well?
Enough about names. I find that Florence is sweeter than Aquarius. It’s more of a milk chocolate than a cocoa nib taste to me—and that’s not only because I added cream. I added cream to Aquarius as well! I give extra points for the visuals of Aquarius, which includes beautiful cornflower petals (is the blue color supposed to be the water reference, perhaps?). But they add nothing to the taste, as far as I can tell, so on the flavor front, Florence wins this semi-steep-off chez sherapop.
It’s not a full-fledged, bona fide steep-off because I did not prepare the teas at the same moment and drink them side-by-side. I did, however, use similar steeping parameters. If anything, Florence should suffer, having come later in the day than Aquarius. I could by now be tea-sated, after all. (Did I just hear you snicker?) On the other hand, perhaps my evaluation has been be elevated by my BCC (blood caffeine content)? It’s possible, but I gave this tea a higher rating before as well, and I feel that it was fair.
Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut
This sample is from Nicole. It was one of the teas that she doesn’t like or doesn’t reach for enough, so I asked her to send me some. I haven’t been a huge fan of chocolate teas in the past, but this one seems to have a good reputation around here and I do love nutty teas. Dry, it smells quite lovely – sweet and very hazelnutty. I steeped it for 5 minutes because I’ve had bad experiences with Harney & Sons flavored teas if I try to steep them for less time.
Overall, I found this to be a perfectly nice tea. The chocolate is definitely the dark variety, more like cocoa powder than actual chocolate. It’s very nutty, which I love. I’m not sure my palate is quite good enough to pinpoint the exact types of nuts, but hazelnut sounds close enough. The nuts give it a nice creamy flavor.
I expected this tea to be like liquid Nutella, but the chocolate flavor is definitely more of a bitter cocoa than a milk chocolate. I added sugar to mine and it was quite tasty, especially with the creaminess. I tried adding some half-and-half at the end to see if I could bring out a milkier chocolate, but it totally ruined it. Stupid half-and-half, why do you always do that? :P
Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Hazelnut, Roasted nuts
I am operating on very little sleep today, but I have much to do. I have repairs to do on my car, and I must take someone out to the airport this morning.
So its time to pull out the big guns. I am going to drink this tea, one of my favorites, and not even think about the lesser teas.
And I’m not even making sense! Babbling! But what can you do?
The last time I had this it was in the little Harney’s sampler pouch. I ordered a 4 oz tin a while ago. I finally got around to opening it up. There are moderately large pieces of candied ginger in the tin which there wasn’t any in the sample pouch :)
Really this is just a ditto of my last review on this one. The ginger is nice, it is definitely candied flavour, but there is also a spice to it. The peach is gentle underneath the ginger and black tea base. Today I am finding the black base to be a bit strong, but that may have been how I brewed it.
This is now one of my favorite ginger peach teas, that is a black tea and not a herbal.
Meh, returning to this tea after trying many Yunnans over the past couple (few?) weeks and finding it sub-par. I have clearly been ruined by all of those lovely tippy, golden Yunnan teas I’ve ordered and received (all Nicole’s fault). This just can’t compare. It’s very harsh and somewhat bitter compared to what I’m now used to. I’m not really getting honey, just strong malt and “tea” taste. I tried this one yesterday with the 1/2/4 steep method and while it was improved, it was nowhere near my new favorites…
Oh no… I’m a snob!
This is one of my absolute favorite teas. I love hojichas in general, but adore hoji-kukichas even more. You can oversteep for what seems like days and never encounter any bitterness. Just a beautifully roast-y, caramel-y, toasted brew. Because of the low caffeine I often choose this one at bedtime or later in the night when I can’t sleep and I’ve never had trouble falling asleep afterwards. This is one of my always-on-hand teas that I just can’t imagine being without.
I do a good chunk of my tea drinking at work, but for some reason I have convinced myself that I should only drink flavored teas, or teas that can take a beating here, leaving a lot of the wonderful oolongs and blacks at home. This tea however sits in a tin in my desk at work and I keep finding myself going directly to THIS tin. My 3oz tin is over half gone in less than a month. Maybe I need to rethink my tea strategy?
This tea is so comforting. A great morning cup, a great post lunch dessert it is all around perfect. Thanks for getting me addicted MzPriss
My little brother and his girlfriend are in town. We’re all going to a baseball game tomorrow, which will be fun, and we all had dinner last night.
My father likes to wonder where he went wrong. Of his three children, none drink coffee. None can even stand it! My sister, my brother and I are tea drinkers for life! Ha. And my dad is a confirmed old coffee drinker, so its extra funny.
But I don’t even like coffee flavored things. Nope! Bleh. Tea, please.
I have determined that traveling with loose leaf is not for me, too messy. Not to mention the odd stares I get from the non tea drinkers. In order to get through the next few weeks of travel I ordered some sachets from H&S. I am beginning to love H&S. They are reliable, decent priced, and so many options.
This tea came in a HUGE beautiful tin. I brewed up a cup this morning and it smells wonderful. This tea taste malty, slightly sweet, slightly astringent. It is full bodied and rich. I am really enjoying this. I look forward to spending the week with you 30th Anniversary Blend.
Really tragic sipdown (135/142)…
It’s heart breaking to finish this one off, again. I want to have it stocked up SO BADLY! It’s the perfect mug of hot roasty goodness (plus it’s good iced to) and the best late night comfort cup. Thankfully I’ve really stretched out the samples I’ve received of this one and managed to get so many good cups!
And, I know I’ll have this one in my possession again eventually! I can’t justify a Harney order right now, but as soon as I can you just know this is going to be included! In fact, it’ll probably be the first thing I include! So. Damn. Good.
Flavors: Cocoa, Roasted, Toasted Rice, Toasty
MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #13
I’ve heard lovely things about this one! The dry leaves are dark with hints of gold. Before taking a sip, the fragrance was chocolate followed by smoke. It’s a smoky chocolate tea! There isn’t much info in the description for this one but the milk chocolate flavor seems like there could actually be some sort of chocolate flavoring, but there isn’t. No dark chocolate here. There is a fresh, bright flavor, if that makes sense. Smoky chocolate with a bit of malt: seems like the perfect tea for me! The second steep wasn’t as magical.. it seemed to lose much of the chocolate and smoke.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 10 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
This tea was left to me by a visitor some time in the last year. Its bagged and doesn’t smell that fresh but still I get a lot of vanilla. Its a decaf tea and the tea base seemed a little light but pleasant its an orangy color (orange pekoe like) the vanilla is very present in both scent and taste even though its probably pretty old. After the previous vanillas this one has much more but it doesn’t have the more robust flavors of the ones with carob and other ingredients. It was my night time tea so I didn’t get to posting about it until now. I like it enough to plan to get some more from Harney, I hope it comes in a loose leaf! The second steep wasn’t very interesting but again that could be bagged tea & age!
Flavors: Orange Blossom, Vanilla
July 15th came and went, and unfortunately sherapop was not the winner of the Harney Fest sweepstakes! That’s okay, because my consolation is having purchased a tin of this fine black blend in a gorgeous black and gold embossed tin, complete with a raised escutcheon!
The dried tea in the sachet is beautiful with all of the different kinds of leaves. One might say that this is something of an ecumenical blend, since it combines Ceylon, Assam, Yunnan Gold Tips and China Silver Tips. Well, they left out Africa, but as a British legacy version of an ecumenical blend, this is a pretty good effort.
The scent of the brew is malty like Assam, but this is not just another English breakfast blend. For one thing, I am drinking it au naturel, while I generally drink Assam-rich blends with cream. The liquor is not reddish but golden amber, a clear indication that there is Ceylon and Yunnan in the mix.
I like this blend and am grateful to John Harney and Family for all that they have done for the world of fine tea! May Mr. Harney rest in peace.