Harney & Sons
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Recent Tasting Notes
I can’t believe I haven’t written about this tea yet. I’m dipping into my second tin now, thanks to Kaliska.
This is my favorite Earl Grey to ice. Something about the crisp darjeeling is perfect for it. Though the bergamot is still very, very strong, you can taste some of that foresty flavor coming through. It’s not as heavy as the black base Harney & Sons uses for their more famous EGs. It’s a lovely combination of fresh wood, bergamot, and citrus notes. I can’t really say that the muscatel flavor comes through, though. There’s just too much other stuff going on.
Today, I’m having it with a pinch of Harney’s French Super-Blue Lavender. A pinch is really all you need. That stuff is seriously potent, but I find it soothing. Yum.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus Zest, Green Wood
So I asked for some teas from the Harney & Sons print catalogue for my birthday, since grandparents are old, have a hard time getting out of the house, and really only order things from print catalogs. Among other things, I asked for a black tea sampler that had this and three other teas.
Well, I got everything I asked for. Plus a POUND of this. I have no idea how I wound up with a POUND, but I’m not about to complain.
Fortunately, I like this tea. Small, thin black leaves and a warm dry leaf smell. The scent of the liquor itself is roastier, with some barky/mossy notes. The taste I got, which matches the scent, is a little on the bright side without being astringent or citrus-y. It’s a very pleasant tea, it reminds me a bit of a bailin gongfu. I love the barkiness as I swallow.
I would put it higher than a 78, which was its Steepster score at the time I wrote this. I don’t think the flavor is quite full enough to put it in the 90’s – may need a few more leaves – but it’s very enjoyable. I could easily see this becoming a staple tea. Especially since I have a pound of it.
Also! I’m about to start a tea blog! I’ll post the link for it once I’ve got it set up, but I plan to write a tea blog that’s a resource to beginning, casual, or just generally inexperienced loose-leaf tea drinkers who wish to broaden their horizons. There’s definitely going to be a little of “learning alongside my readers,” but I’ve wanted to start a tea blog for some time… and now that creating a blog is one of the long-term projects for my Writing in Digital Media class (I’m going for my Master’s in Professional Writing), what better opportunity?
I would be drinking this right now. But my stainless steel Thermos mug is being much too excellent at keeping it way too hot. I brewed this almost three hours ago. A half hour ago I took a tester sip and about scorched the tip of my tongue off. I think it’s a perfect steep, but I won’t know until the tingling sensation goes away and I dare to sip again. :)
I’m really trying to be better about drinking less pop. In the interest of doing so, I bought a whole pound of this. If there’s anything that can be a good substitute for my beloved Pepsi, this is likely to be it, and now that I have gobs of the stuff, I can make it a pretty much everyday drink. Now I just have to squeeze it into my tea drawer in my desk at school.
I’m really happy with this tea. It’s got the roasty, nutty taste I like, and the bit of sugar I added made that flavor pop.
Another sample from carol who! This one smells like a tropical vacation in a tea bag…so fragrant and fruity! And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavor lives up to the scent. I taste the guava and strawberry as I sip it and then just a hint of the black tea in the aftertaste. It’s quite a delicious combination…in fact, I may just have to add this one to my wish list!
Flavors: Guava, Strawberry
Mission DrinkAllTheBirthdayTeas is coming to a close and boy…I really did this backwards, didn’t I? Herbals first and blacks last? No, no, no. I guess I’ll just have to do this all over again the right way next year! I saved this one for last because it was the first sample I received of a birthday-themed blend. It came from carol who. Since I am such a fan of Harney & Sons in general, I figured this one ought to go over well. I’m actually drinking it side-by-side with the last half of my Della Terra Birthday Cupcake cuppa. Not loving it.
First of all, let me make clear the fact that I was aware this was NOT going to be cake flavored. However, I can’t say there is anything particular birthday feeling about it at all.
Secondly, let me say that I don’t hold a vendetta against hibiscus the way many of you steepsterites do. With that being said, I somehow forget each time I brew a hibiscus tea hot that I really only like them cold. I’m thinking the rest of this cup is going in the refrigerator to chill over night. It’s too intense hot. But, to be honest, I’m still not convinced I’m going to like it any more in the morning because all I taste is hibiscus and a generic fruity sweetness.
So glad I got to try this one, though. I had really been wanting to ever since I saw it on the Harney & Sons website for the first time.
Eh, I really thought these K Cup teas would be good, because they would be like loose leaf teas inside the cup. This tastes kind of funky. It’s really strong tasting and I put a lot of honey in. It does not have a nice smooth mild taste that I love about chamomile. This one I double brewed.
Uhhhh, I can’t remember who sent me this sample, I’m sorry :(
If it was you, please know I grateful to try it finally!
It had been on my wishlist for a while!
I’m going to be frank, here.
It smells tropical, very fruity… But there’s something else.
I noticed it immediately when sniffing the dry leaves, and was hoping not to taste it.
Alas, I can taste it.
Please don’t be offended by my decision to honestly describe this tea. I need to.
There’s an overwhelming armpit note going on here.
Like, when someone has bad BO and they lift their arms in a crowded subway car* and you catch this horrible whiff of onions….
It smells of it and it tastes like the smell.
So yeah. No idea which ingredient provides this aroma…I have to assume it’s guava because it’s the only thing I don’t recall ever trying. I drank it, but I don’t really wanna drink the other half.
I hope this doesn’t ruin it for you if you started off loving it.
*I don’t even live in a city with a subway system. I live in a town. And I’ve taken a train as a mode of transportation twice in my life, when visiting Toronto and Montreal. I was too nervous that time I went to NY. But that gives me a good reason to visit the big apple again one day. Anyway, I bet it made me sound much cooler when i referenced the subway system like I was actually a frequent train traveller instead of a compact car driver :)
I’m actually sampling the bagged tea version of this, which I snagged from our hotel room last week, hoping the caffeine heads off the migraine that’s nibbling on my skull just over my left ear. This is really nice for a standard tea bag-type tea. It’s very smooth, with a hint of smokiness on the back of it.
I even broke out my new kettle I got to use at work, so that I could do at least a decent job of brewing it.
This is my go-to for iced tea in the colder weather months. Wonderful iced, also lovely hot. Not overly fruity, not heavy-handed on the ginger. Nicely balanced as is, but I like to blend it with a little bit of vanilla tea to really round out the flavors. This one I always tend to keep in my pantry as it’s one of my favorites.
Flavors: Ginger, Peach
Definitely a strong black tea. I find if I make it half-strength it’s still pretty flavorful and can make at least two cups, but since I tend to be lazy and just leave the teabag in, I just get one extra strong cup of black tea. Great for chilly mornings when I want a comforting sort of pick-me-up.
Backlog from yesterday. I keep having to apologize because all my swap samples got mixed up in my move, so I can’t remember who sent me this one. Anyway, thank you to whoever sent me this sample! As soon as I opened up the packet, I could smell some tart fruitiness going on. I am generally not a fan of tarter fruit flavors in my tea, but I had to give this one a shot anyway. As it was steeping, the tart smell became a bit stronger and also became a bit perfume-y as well. For me, those are not great signs for a tea. To be fair, the actual taste of the tea was less intense than the scent, but still going on with those tart flavors like plum and cherry. Cherry flavored teas are very tricky for me because it is easy for them to taste like children’s cough syrup to me. Unfortunately, that was the case with this tea. And that flavor only seemed to intensify as the cup cooled down. I really wanted to love this tea, but it just wasn’t doing it for me, sadly.
The last time I tried this was at school and I royally botched the steeping (both too long and too hot), rendering it undrinkably burnt and bitter. So last night I brewed it at home, where I could brew it properly.
It’s much better the second time around, and certainly interesting. It’s not a tea I’d want a lot of, or want often, and it’s not one at this point that I’d probably buy more of. I’m kind of a hard sell on green teas, unless they have a roasted flavor, and I’m getting that slightly bitter vegetal aftertaste on the back end of this that turns me off of greens. I think I’d like something like this much better if it had a black base.
I tried to try this one this morning at school, but I ROYALLY goobered it up with our less-than-ideal brewing conditions. It’s not as forgiving as a lot of teas I’ve tried here at school, and I ended up making it far too strong and ungodly bitter. I’m reserving judgment for now, and will try again at home where I can take the time and effort to brew it correctly.
I’ve liked every Harney and Sons tea I’ve gotten at Barnes and Noble quite a lot, so I finally got around to ordering direct a few days ago, primarily so I could try their hojicha and genmaicha. I also bought a small tin of Tokyo, some Queen Catherine, and Paris, because it is the one Harney tea I’ve seen so many raves about.
Initially, I wasn’t sure this would be a big hit with me. I like bergamot okay in small doses that aren’t overpowering, but I have to be in the mood for it. This morning I decided to give it a go, no matter what the flavor.
And…I’m glad I bought it. I’m not really getting a lot of bergamot from it, and I think that’s because there is just so very much going on in a mug of Paris. I taste all kinds of fruit, but have trouble isolating this one and that one (though in a good way). The best analogy I can make is to Dr. Pepper, where you can’t tell what each of those 23 flavors are, but together they blend and balance precisely to equal WOW.
I’m also impressed that it’s lighter than I expected with all those flavors going on. It isn’t cloying at all. I can see why I’ve read reviews of it being comforting and refreshing and all of that. I bought the sachets just to try it, but when I eventually do reorder, I will definitely be buying the loose tea, and in a bigger quantity.
Favorite tea by far. I normally buy tea in the smallest size I can because I like to hop from one to the next, but I plan on buying a pound of this one the next time I’m in the store. The sweet cinnamon flavor (artificial, I know but don’t care) makes this tea a treat all on its own. I even like to make my own tea blends with this tea to get that sweet taste with other flavors. So far I have mixed it with chai and Holiday tea, both came out awesome. The black tea base is smooth and flavorful without being bitter, and mixed with the sweet cinnamon, clove, and orange flavors comes out perfect every time.