1933 Tasting Notes
Harney day! I’m sitting here at the Soho tasting room, and I ordered a pot of his tea because I couldn’t resist the description. This tea definitely smells floral in a very oolongy way… Not like true florals or scented teas, but light, vegetal florals. I agree with others that the flavor is buttery and vegetal, but I think it definitely retains some of the florals. It doesn’t have that sweet note at the end of the sip really, but as it cools the florals come out a bit more. A very smooth and tasty tea, definitely!
As a side note, I got some of their tea-flavored macarons, and they are delicious. Not quite as technically good as Laduree in Paris, but the flavors are great. Jasmine, rose, and sencha with raspberry today.
I tried this one as a cold steep, which I had been kind of avoiding because it didn’t seem like cold steep material, but I got curious. I seem to like fruity blacks best for cold steeps, so a nutty, creamy green was a long shot anyway. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but it wasn’t stellar. It tasted mainly ok, but had some weird issues probably relating to the green tea itself, but also to the additives. The weirdest thing was the somewhat greasy film on the inside of my cup. I think I’ll stick to hot-brewing this one, which wasn’t a surprising outcome.
Yesterday I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, so I didn’t get a chance to sit down and really have a cup of tea, apart from the cold brewed tea at lunch. It felt so wrong! I mean, I’m used to not having tea on the weekends, especially in the summer, because I don’t do a lot of tea drinking at home, but at work I almost always have my morning and afternoon teas, and I had neither!
Anyway, today should be a bit better. This tea smells lemony and citrusy and bright, and should definitely help perk me up this morning. This cup doesn’t have the very slight bitterness that the first one had. The black tea base is very smooth this morning, with the bright lemongrass and citrus popping through and almost making my tongue tingle.
I jumped on this pack of free samples of oolongs when it showed up as a great chance to further my oolong education. These oolongs are all dark, which I generally don’t have much experience with. I’m not brewing them gong-fu style since I don’t have the setup for it, so I read up a little bit and settled on these steeping parameters for now.
The dry leaf smells roasty, but also sweet too. The leaves are fairly long and loosely twisted. The tea brewed up lighter than I expected, a medium amber color, and it has a lightish aroma that smells a bit like roasted grains.
The flavor is extremely light. I have a feeling that I didn’t have a correct tea/water ratio, which is a feeling I get often from these dark oolongs. The greens I don’t seem to have a problem steeping “traditionally” in a mug, but the darks trip me up. Anyway, it’s light but roasty and sweet. Really I’m getting more flavor in the aftertaste than in the sip itself. I definitely think I would really like it if I could get it right! Sigh. I guess I won’t rate this one until I can try it again. Fortunately I have a very generous sample to play around with.
I’m at home today because I’m having some kind of crazy hives reaction to something. Bleh. Compounding that is a bitter taste in my mouth after eating/drinking anything, which apparently comes from the pine nuts I used to make pesto recently. Apparently the subspecies from China can cause a bitter aftertaste for several days; I haven’t had this problem with pine nuts in the past, but I looked and sure enough, the package I just bought is a product of China, and the one’s I had before were from Spain. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I have a few teas here at home that I haven’t tried yet, but I didn’t want to make them and have the taste influenced by this bitter aftertaste, so I went with a tried and true. Any bittnerness in this one is not it’s fault!
I was in the mood for a floral oolong, so I decided to try this one again. The brewed tea has a lovely floral/roasty/milky aroma. I was wondering what this one would taste like with a slightly longer steeping time, but since almost everyone seems to have steeped this one for a short time I chickened out because didn’t want to ruin the tea. Brewed like this, I only start really enjoying it once it has significantly cooled and the natural sweetness starts to make itself known. Once it hits that point, though, it’s quite a lovely cup.
I used the rest of my sample of this tea for a cold steep. My goodness if it wasn’t rosey! The first sip tasted like I had bitten into a fresh rose turkish delight. Like the hot steep, the bergamot just can’t compete, and this tea seems primarily like a rose black. The bergamot gives a little bright note, but nothing that I could positively identify as bergamot. The rose is very sweet, like Harney’s Rose Scented. As tasty as it is, I’m afraid it just doesn’s succeed as Rose Earl Grey, so I’m marking it down a bit based on that. It is a decent rose-scented black, however.
In need of a robust black tea this morning, I decided to give this one a try again. This time I’m steeping it longer based on my previous experience.
I think the flavors come through better, and it certainly didn’t get any bitterness. The bergamot is much more forward and citrusy. I’m definitely enjoying this cup more, but I still don’t think it stands out to me among other Earl Greys. But the flavors are very well executed and blend well together, and I definitely wouldn’t turn down a cup of it.