Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
My new resolution to try one new thing or sip things down every day is turning out to be fun! I’m getting to know my cupboard much better, and when I put my mind to it, the samples just go right on by.
This is of the “tea I havn’t tried yet” school of thought, and its high time. Its been on my radar for years, as I have actually read Malachi McCormick’s book, a Decent Cup of Tea, which is a charming little read. So I’ve been wanting to get this tea, and try it, in the name of everyone who is grumpy because they cannot get a proper drink in this country.
Its quite strong, and somewhat malty. I found it a little bitter, but I also steeped it just a bit too long, I’m afraid.
Its a robust blend, one that I imagine would stand up quite strongly to a breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. (In fact, I should have some toast and jam the next time I brew this,)
My flavored tea palette rebelled a bit against this, but I’m willing to give it more goes. I bet, when I’m used to its strength, that it is a decent cup of tea.
When glancing over the reviews of this tea here on Steepster, I noticed that many reviewers received this tea as a free sample. I’m in the same boat. I received two free sample sachets of this breakfast tea with a recent Harney & Sons order. At first, I was psyched because I love traditional breakfast tea blends, but after finishing both sachets, I was disappointed.
This particular breakfast tea is apparently Keemun black tea from the Anhui Province of China. I have no clue whether it is a single origin tea or a blend. Normally, I like Keemun. I tend to think of it as a nice, approachable black tea that can be enjoyed just about any time of the year. This, however, just did not deliver the qualities I expect of a good Keemun.
I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion process. I followed the recommended brewing method from Harney & Sons. I steeped each sachet in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I normally do not reinfuse breakfast teas and I did not do so here.
After infusion, the light amber liquor produced a mildly fruity, herbal aroma. It kind of reminded me of a combination of raisins, toffee, and plums. I could not quite place the herbal scent. In the mouth, I detected strangely fleeting notes of toffee, cream, toast, malt, raisins, and plums. There was also a slightly grassy herbal note that was fairly faint. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get anything else out of this tea.
I have no clue what went wrong with this one. This is supposed to be one hundred percent Keemun, but it sure doesn’t smell or taste like it. This tea lacks the earthiness, leatheriness, and smokiness of the Keemuns I have consumed in the past. I also did not get the cocoa impressions I tend to get from many Keemuns. Another point I should stress is that I do not tend to think of Keemun as specifically being a breakfast tea. When I reach for a breakfast tea, I want something strong, dark, and brisk. I think more of Assam or blends of Assam, Chinese, Ceylonese, and/or African teas. I do not think of straight-up Keemun, and weak, oddly lifeless Keemun at that. In the end, I suppose this tea was at least drinkable, but it lacked character and depth. I would most certainly not recommend it to those looking for a reliable, flavorful breakfast tea.
Flavors: Cream, Herbs, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Toast, Toffee
I’ve been working on a tin of this tea off and on for a little over 2 months, but I’m only now getting around to posting this review. To be honest, I knew that I would be posting a positive review of this tea, but couldn’t decide on a numerical rating to assign to it. Now that I have finally figured out how I would rate this tea, I can get on with the business of properly reviewing it.
I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion process. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, no additional infusions were attempted.
Prior to infusion, this tea presented a lovely aroma of rose. To me, the scent seemed very natural and very fresh. In the mouth, this tea was all about the floral quality, with a big rose flavor present from the entry to the finish. After really trying to find some other flavors in this tea, I was just barely able to detect fleeting impressions of cream, toast, malt, and cocoa, but really, this tea was all about the aroma and flavor of rose.
I greatly enjoyed this tea. It was not deep, complex, or subtle, but it was very approachable and very easy to drink. Admittedly, it’s kind of a one-trick pony, but I think that is by design. This tea seems to exist to showcase the aroma and flavor of rose, and well, it does that brilliantly. Still, I do not think I would ever want to order another 4 ounce tin of it-I could see myself buying a sample or two instead. It does what it does very well, and I think that people who are extremely interested in floral blends would absolutely love it, but I am also not often in the mood for rose flavored blends. This is more something I would want to drink every now and then.
Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Floral, Malt, Rose, Smooth, Toast
I tried this last night and it was actually my first experience drinking H&S! The quality is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I think it is similar to Paris, just a tad bit fruitier. Went great with my slice of German chocolate cake! I would recommend giving it a try. I may purchase again in the future but plan on trying other Harney & Sons teas before re-purchaing any of the teas I just received in my order.
I drank this with breakfast this morning and am so in love! I can totally see why this is a bestseller. I drank it without any sweetener or milk and loved it but I will add some next time to see if it enhances it any more. I’m officially hooked to H&S!
Flavors: Bergamot, Black Currant, Caramel, Vanilla
I bought this tea on a whim because I was in the mood to splurge on high quality tea. While my husband says he thinks it tastes like Theraflu, I can honestly say this is a tea that I don’t think I can live without! It’s exactly what I was looking for in a caffeine free tea. The citrus makes it nice and uplifting while the chamomile and floral notes are comforting and refreshing. Plus, it’s just absolutely gorgeous to look at! Very beautifully fragrant as well. Today I drank this for an afternoon pick-me-up and I’m thoroughly pleased. Mother’s Bouquet will no doubt be in regular rotation for me. I see this becoming a go-to bedtime or afternoon tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Orange
Puerh, by harney & sons.
Yixing engraved dragon teapot gongfucha.
Dry leaf: musty, earthy
Wet leaf: earth/fermentation. Autumn leaf pile
1x short rinse.
Light steep; I taste/smell: light
-> earth/fermentation, metallic (unknown), camphor, mushrooms, autumn leaf pile, spices, cream.
Medium steep; I taste/smell: medium earth. Strong
-> fermentation, metallic (copper), spices, autumn leaf pile, cream. (Note: a tad unpleasant.)
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: strong fermentation. Medium
-> earth, cream, metallic (copper), spices, camphor. Strong autumn leaf pile. (Note: a tad more unpleasant. )
All in all a great tea. Nice tastes/aromas, and cha qi. I prefer light steeps for this tea: For this reason I rate a 80.
Bonus photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/BMH27bDAMrP/
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Cream, Earth, Metallic, Mushrooms, Musty, Spices
I normally do not buy tea when I’m out because I always bring teabags of my looseleaf with me. This time I was at a nice cafe with the BEST cinnamon buns I have ever tasted (lots if caramel and raisins!). I bought a caffeinated tea to enjoy with it and it was an excellent combination.
I was actually very impressed, considering this is a bagged tea from a company I have not tried before. I will probably try their other teas when I have a chance. “Paris” lives up to its name be being wonderful fruity, floral, and smooth. It has the pronounced black tea flavours I would expect to drink in a Parisian cafe.
Flavors: Bark, Blueberry, Dried Fruit, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Herbs, Lavender, Rose, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin
Chocolate and mint is probably my favorite flavor combo ever. I normally have a chocolate mint black tea hanging around, but I finished my last one up. I have peppermint and spearmint, but apparently no chocolate tea, not even mixed in with other flavors. So I picked this up. I like this decently well, but it’s a but subtle compared to what I usually go for with these two flavors. I want the chocolate mint to be just all up in your face, but I do recognize that this tea is good, if not quite to my own preferences
Decided to try this since I figured it would be a whole different type of tea than what I’ve been drinking.
First thing I notice is how dark the liquid on their website is for a 2015 raw; I laughed to myself: https://www.harney.com/products/tiger-pu-erh-2015?variant=29501940038
Anyways, this is clearly a smokey puerh. The notes of meat lingers around in an odd way that might be good later on. Right now that smoke is at 70% of what it could be so maybe it has faded. Curious to see if it ends up like some of the Mengku stuff after a good five years of sitting around, I doubt Harney will sell out so I will come back to it one day :)
Long time no tea! Short update: We’ve bought our first house and I’m pregnant with our second child! Now ON TO THE TEA!
The aroma is cinnamon and red rooibos. I’m not a fan of rooibos, but this was a free sample so…
The flavor is fairly inoffensive. It’s naturally sweet and slightly spicy. Not a winner for my palate but probably is very enjoyable to others. It’s not very strong. No pumpkin to speak of. I’ll drink this cup but I wouldn’t try it again.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Rooibos
Dark green and brown leaves, somewhat wrinkled and torn with red brown bits of stems about 2 cm long. Subtle earthy, black coffeeish smell from the wet leaves – steeps to a medium brown color.
The cafe described it very simply as “a Taiwanese, nutty, tea”
Its definitely Oolong, but I found my particular cup to be much more plum. Toasty, but plum. It has a slow dry woody start, but a sweet bright finish. A likable tea, especially as a compliment to something sweet (I had it with a dark chocolate kissed vanilla bean bun).
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Plums, Toasty, Wood
French Blue Lavender. Sounds good right? Bright green seed shaped buds, tipped with soft purple and cream petals. While it didn’t steep to the bright purple I expected – It’s got a pleasing scent: bright, clean, and floral – like perfume.
First impression: this stuff is pretty & POWERFUL. The cup I had was rather pungent, invading my sinuses with it’s too soapy touch. But the flavor under the salt & soap seemed light and pleasant – like sage with more sweetness. The soapiness spoiled it for me – I’m told it makes a good latte though.
To be fair, the cafe I went to serves 2-3 table spoons to 1 large carryout cup.
Depending on the barista: It can get a lot of steep time waiting on the counter, so I can’t vouch for what the actual flavor profile of this tea might be. If you feel like braving a cup, I’d try half the steep time and maybe 1/3 of the leaves recommended. Thinning it out with more hot water didn’t help much much in my case.
Flavors: Floral, Lavender, Perfume, Sage, Salty, Soap, Sweet
Got a cup of this at a B&N Starbucks yesterday. I’d never ordered any tins of it, because the description sounded so much like H&S Bangkok, I didn’t see the point. But actually, the two flavors taste quite different.
It turns out there is a lot of vanilla in this tea. It overwhelms the coconut and ginger flavors to the point that I’m not sure they are there at all, whereas in Bangkok, ginger is the strongest note.
Of course it’s always a little dicey judging tea by the way it’s served at Starbucks, because the steeping instructions go out the window, but my impression is that this is pleasant, but I didn’t love it. So much vanilla seems a little odd with green tea. It went down nicely with my pumpkin muffin, but in the long run, I much prefer a vanilla black.
Thanks to SuperStarling! for this tea sample. You are the best (tea) friend ever.
I am brewing this up after a quick morning trip to a local farmers market. We needed to stock up on some essential groceries (bread, milk, fruit, ect). And I did that. But then, on my way out, I saw these huge potted mums of all colors. Big triumphant bastards. Like, they come up to my waste (I"m 5’9" so that is semi impressive. For the flowers, not me) and are wide enough to hide a small child or two toddlers. I bought 4 of them. I like them. My wife loves them. She’ll squeal with delight. Win win.
Back to this tea. This smells nice kind of like a vanilla cupcake. The package says to brew it for 4-5 minutes. Whoa there black tea. I’ve been burned enough times to know that when you creep into the 4 minute territory, you’re gonna have a bad time. Bitterness comes out to play and that isn’t fun for anyone. So I let it go for about 3:30 as a compromise.
Well, I probably could have let it go 4 minutes. As is, it is a nice vanilla black tea with no hint of astringency or bitterness. The vanilla plays in nicely. The mouthfeel is a little thin but it doesn’t really take away from the tea. And it could also have been my fault for not listening to directions. Either way, this is a really nicely done vanilla black tea. It is something one could sip on and not have to think about it too much.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cake, Vanilla
A rich, deep, robust straight black tea mix with a hint of honey (allegedly, I can’t really taste it).
This tea is like a classic, clean-cut soldier about to go into WWII. A Captain America sort. Saying goodbye to his mom. Looking crisp in his uniform. Ready for bravery.
It’s just a good pick.
I’m continuing to clean out the backlog with this one. Just two more to go after I finish this review. It seems that I always drag my feet when it comes to reviewing tisanes. Anyway, I found this one to be pretty solid.
I prepared this tisane using a one step Western infusion. I steeped one sachet in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, there were no additional infusions.
After infusion, I noted a delightful aroma that was equal parts minty and lemony. In the mouth, I noted a pleasant mixture of lemon and peppermint underpinned by traces of straw and cream. The finish was smooth, offering a lingering balance of lemon and peppermint notes.
After reading the above, it should be pretty obvious that I enjoyed this one. So, why a rating of 78? Why not go higher? Well, I did not really see this as being the kind of tisane I would want to reach for on a regular basis. I really like peppermint and I really like lemon verbena, but I think I like them better separately. While this is a respectable herbal blend, it is the sort of thing that just doesn’t hold as much appeal for me. I would rather have straight peppermint or lemon verbena. Still, I think this is good for what it is.
Flavors: Cream, Lemon, Peppermint, Straw
AAAAAAH DAMMIT THIS TEA IS DECAF. I was sipping it, thinking my day was okay, when I glanced at Harney & Son’s webpage to look at the ingredients/description for this tea. DECAF? … DECAF?!?!? WHY EVEN EXIST?
But seriously this is a pretty good tea. It tastes like Crasins, mostly. It’s got a sort of (maybe slightly artificial) berry stuff going on, with some floral notes. I actually think my god-daughter (3 years old) would LOVE this. I’m not allowed to feed her caffeine (bah! no fun!), but I could share this with her. I should let her do a guest post on here sometime. It’d just be a bunch of key-smash and inarticulate garble.
Oh crap, that’s what these reviews are mostly anyway.