Harney & Sons
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Recent Tasting Notes
Should I have been drinking a black tea at 5 pm this evening? Probably not, but I threw caution to the wind and brewed up a cup of this lovely chocolate-nutty black tea blend.
I have been pining for Harney & Sons Florence for some time now, having seen so many glowing reviews of it here at Steepster. I could not resist adding a can to my latest order, which arrived only yesterday.
The nutty quality is very notable, but I’m not sure that I would have identified it necessarily as hazelnut. It does taste very good—especially with light cream. I have had hazelnut-flavored coffee before, but this was the first time that I tried a tea with this combination of flavors. Florence really is quite distinct from Valentine’s Blend, which features a much stronger chocolate flavor and is decorated with rose petals (although I do not personally taste the rose in that blend).
The liquor is amber colored, and to my delight the brew tastes even better than the dried tea smells! I’ll have to have a steep off between Florence and Valentine’s Blend one of these days, now that both dessert teas grace my cupboard.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts
This was an unimpressive tea. Although the idea is great and the official description very promising the resultant tea does not live up to the hype. The tea base is a relatively boring green tea and would not get a good rating on its own. The addition of flowers is beneficial but the orange zest somehow overpowers. Something in the tea is very bitter, likely the orange or green tea base, and the orange masks the smell of the flowers. The bitterness is preserved after swallowing. One can clearly taste plants, flowers, and orange with evocative notes of cinnamon, and bitter spices. The direct small of the tea without imbibing is not particularly great, none of the flowers come through. I think that the tea could be improved by lessening the orange and improving the quality of the green tea that is used. Although the idea of the blend is great, it is overall a disappointing product.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Orange Zest
Thank you Rosehips for the sample of this. For whatever reason I had always assumed it was a straight black, which I guess isn’t the case at all. So, when I tried it I was really surprised at the flavour notes I picked up.
I made this in a timolino to take with on Tuesday for a day or errand running, and it was really nice; definitely niced that Fruits d’Alsace, though not as nice as Boston. I got the black Harney base that I’ve noticed is similar between all three, and then honey, currant, and very light bergamot notes. Very calming, for a black tea.
The next little bit will be a sipdown. I’m going to make it in a mug at home to see hwo it differs when not prepared for travel…
This is one incredibly powerful cinnamon tea. I’ve finally found a tea that is perfect, without fail, every time I take it in my timolino. Although I won’t be restocking this immediately upon finishing the tin (which will happen very quickly), it will absolutely feature in my cupboard come fall and winter of next year. we’re having record lows again today, although I frankly shouldn’t even be surprised at this point. But hot spicy cinnamon makes even this awful weather feel slightly more palatable. I love, love a tea’s ability to soothe ruffled feelings.
And how the heck do i still have four hours left at work? aaahhhh.
I only had a little bit of this, so it is my first review of it and a sipdown. :)
Dry: This tea is made up of small to medium black tea leaves. The fragrance from the bag is divine and reminds me of a fruity bakery concoction for some reason. Fresh with black currants and is that a touch of citrus and honey?
Steeped: Dark brown clear liquor. I used a heaping tablespoon for the 24 oz teapot, so it was roughly 1.5 tsp per 8oz. The fragrance of the tea coming through in the steeped tea blends nicely with the fruity notes from the dry leaf.
Taste: This is a great fruit tea and a very nice blend. H & S has these kinds of teas down for sure. Reminiscent of Paris with a stronger stonefruit and honey base, it is very flavorful and has complex nuances. I can’t tell if I am getting a touch of vanilla in this or if I am imagining it. I am getting that bergamot-y background that I enjoy so much with Paris though. I added a touch of honey after drinking it straight and it was a delightful addition for sure. I might try a little agave with the next cup. If I ever tire of Paris, this would probably be my fallback blend from H & S. I wish they offered smaller tins of the loose leaf though- who wants 1lb of tea to start after the sampler? It has been like that for a whole on their website now, too. If you like black currants and honey in a nice medium-bodied black tea base though, then this is for you.
Flavors: Honey, Stonefruits
Round two with this tea this morning. And, although I’m not nearly as desperate to pawn it off on other unsuspecting souls, I dare say that I’m just not all that fascinated with it myself. It is strong, yes, with a slightly pervasive raisiny note that’s slightly reminiscent of the scent in Butiki’s Wild mountain black, although that’s exactly where the similarity between these teas ends. I doctored it up with a healthy dose of sugar and cream this morning, but it still didn’t do much to make the tea taste “better”—it just tasted like a slightly less intense version of itself, which wasn’t exactly what I was going for. Anyway, like I said, not a bad cup by any means, and I imagine with a bit of sharing I’ll make it through this tin, but it won’t be a reorder.
I decided to imbibe a cup of the filter bag Harney & Sons chamomile right after a sachet brewed cup, and confirmed that the latter is better than the former.
To be really sure, though, I’d have to brew this one in less water, because it obviously contains less tea. The difference is not merely that the filter bag contains powder while the sachet contains buds—which in any case I have crushed between my finger tips because I love the texture! The sound is needless to say much softer than that of popping bubble paper. .. More appropriate for bedtime. Au lit!
My Harney & Sons binge continues with the sachet chamomile tonight. The sachets are generously stoked with flowers and produce beautiful spongy pillow-like eye compresses.
More importantly for tea lovers: the liquor is bright yellow and has more flavor than the filter bag-produced brew.
Deeeeelicious! Fruitier than fruit. Definitely getting the plums and cherries, though I think it also tastes like apples and pears. I’m also pleased as punch with whatever H&S is using for the base tea — it’s smooth, doesn’t draw to much attention to itself, and compliments the fruits flavors beautifully!
I wanted to continue my dessert tea festival (after two big cups of Valentine’s Blend), but I knew that caffeine would exact a bitter revenge on me tonight if I continued on, so I switched to Vanilla Comoro, a decaffeinated vanilla blend, also from Harney & Sons, which I also drink with cream.
The tea base here is lighter—all Ceylon, it appears—so the best result is achieved by using a single sachet for only an 8 ounce cup. Usually the H&S sachets are good for two cups, but in this case, for full flavor enjoyment, I need to remember to brew super strong. This is an excellent late-night option for flavored black tea aficionados. Happily, it’s all natural, too.
The blend in this tea is a very interesting idea. I am in favor of adding flowers to Earl Grey and rose is a great candidate. Despite the excellent concept the rose present in this particular tea seems too subtle.
The tea liquor is a beautiful dark mahogany when fully steeped and the aroma is intense. The typical strong bergamot fragrance presides punctuated by the delicacies of the rose. The purely aromatic contrasts between the two are delightfully intoxicating. Despite the exciting aroma, the flavor of the tea is a quintessential Earl Grey with little rose. In my opinion the degree to which the rose accents the flavor is so overpowered by the bergamot that it is somewhat disappointing. Overall it is a nice Earl Grey and doesn’t fail to be brisk, acidic, and slightly smoky.
My recent Harney & Sons order included a large bag of Valentine’s Blend, a chocolate and rose petals-scented black tea blend. I was in Salem today, and by the time I got home my box was on the doorstep, and I was seriously ready for some tea. I also ordered some other flavored teas (Boston, Fruits d’Alsace, and Florence), but since this one was the easiest to prepare (in sachet, not loose format), I started with it.
Yum! This blend smells scrumptious dry and smells and tastes scrumptious brewed! The liquor is a burnt orange color. I splashed in a bit too much light cream, so then I was obliged to brew up a second cup and combine them. Honestly, this could become a favorite flavored tea. Very satisfying and smooth, with a creamy chocolate taste.
I believe that the tea base is China black, but I’m not completely sure. Maybe there is some ceylon thrown in? I’m guessing because of not only the taste but also the color of the brew. I do not really detect much rose flavor, but the chocolate is very appealing.
Another winner in the flavored tea category from Harney & Sons!
I am starting to think that the gross cup I had of this tea might have been caused by my Timolino and not the water. At least I hope because I had a sip of this today (and then got distracted by packing and cleaning) and it was amazing! Like a delicious chocolate coconut treat :).
In other news, I am already at the gate and my flight doesn’t leave until 8. Thank god for wi-fi.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coconut
The smell of this tea! No wonder everyone is over the moon about it! The description of it on the H&S website didn’t sound that impressive, but I’d read many rave reviews, so I decided to give it a try. Raving quite justified. Consider me a convert! I sort of see the earl grey comparison that others have made, but it’s not a conclusion I would have reached on my own. To me the strongest notes are the cherry/berry flavor, smoothed out with some cocoa and vanilla. I think a flavor combo like this often turns out artificial-tasting, but this tastes SO natural and so amazing! I just want to sit here and sniff the tin.
Flavors: Berries, Cocoa, Vanilla
Harney and Sons came in today :)! I’ve never a found a Harney and Sons store, but the Barnes and Noble cafe serves a limited selection of their tea in sachet form, and Bangkok is the cup I’ve had from them over and over. I think it would be the perfect tea to serve with Thai food (coconut, ginger, lemongrass) but it’s also wonderful all on its own.
Now that I’ve got a tin of this and am drinking it loose leaf style (and at a better water temperature. I’m pretty sure B&N makes all their tea with boiling water straight from the coffee machine) I’m noticing some differences in the flavor. Before ginger was the strongest flavor, with lemongrass present but noticeably in second place. I never even knew there was coconut in it till today. Now all the flavors are on a more even footing, with coconut ever so slightly in the lead. It was always good, but it’s better this way!
I’m in one of those post-lunch slumps, where I feel as though I could keel over and have a nap right here on my office floor, so forgive me in advance if this tasting note sucks.
This tea felt really strange and granular in the tin. I know that a lot of CTC black tea can feel this way, but I was still nonetheless a bit surprised at how grainy this felt. It made getting a heaping teaspoon a bit tricky, but i was determined. steeped it up for about four minutes, with cream and sugar.
And believe me, you don’t want to be trying this tea without cream and sugar. Even with cream and sugar, this tea was rough around the edges. h and S says this is the strongest tea blend they have, and I dare say it’s true, although aside from finding it “strong” in the tannic sense, I didn’t find the tea to be particularly interesting or complex or multi-faceted. it’s just a really strong black tea. i feel as though it’s a good tea to drink when you’re angry, because it’s intense and will make you feel as though you can take on the world in all the ways you feel justified to do so.
Tea of the morning……
More snow. Why? I am just so done with winter. Also, feeling kind of sluggish and ranty today. Have you noticed? Anyway, I chose this one because it is a good hearty breakfast tea to get me going. It is a super busy week with seven days in a row of performances for my kids. Today is day #2- the Jazz Band concert. DS who is 14 plays electric guitar, and DD who is 16 plays electric bass. It will be fun!
Completely reliable. Keemun with a kick of Assam.
Usual teapot method. I am going with Joseph Wesley’s recommendation to steep blacks at just under boiling; He recommended 190, and I am as close as I can get to that with my current kettle.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt
I found a few errant filter bags tonight, including some Harney & Sons Chamomile. I have been enjoying the sachet version of this simple soliflore very much, so I was interested in seeing how the filter bags would brew up.
Answer: yellow! Perhaps a bit lighter in flavor, but still pretty good.