546 Tasting Notes

drank Hao Ya 'A' by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

As I prepare this, my hopes are high. It smells like it’s going to be a very good, strong black tea. The fine, narrow leaves have a sharp, dark, lightly smoky aroma. It’s almost like a lapsang souchong, but not piney. As it steeps, I smell notes of wheat and cocoa. Almost like kid’s cereal, but smoky.

The dark tea’s flavor is malty and toasted. Great for this wet, chilly day. The smoke also plays a part to strengthen and compliment it, lingering in the aftertaste and exhale. The cocoa does come through, but it’s not the most prevalent flavor. It’s a tiny bit on the astringent side, but not really that bitter. There’s certainly a lot going on in this Keemun, but I like it very much. It’s very satisfying. I will probably get another sample next time I order, along with the Hao Ya ‘B’.

EDIT: Coming back to say that this might be a tea to avoid if you’re caffeine-sensitive!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Blue Ginger by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

As I finish my sample, I want to note that this makes a great iced tea! Very refreshing, especially paired with my spinach salad! Something about it being cold really brings out the lychee flavor, too! Upping my rating!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Blue Ginger by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

Hmm? I ordered a sample and thought I was getting a pouch of loose leaf, but it’s really three sachets instead? Oh well, it smells good either way. And I’m feeling a little under the weather today, so hopefully the ginger will help.

The aroma reminds me of strong ginger ale and candy. Maybe candied ginger if it was a bit more fruity. Must be the lychee. I can’t say that I would have been able to identify the lychee on my own from just the scent. But lychee is always welcome, especially blended with Fujian black tea.

The flavor is well-rounded and pleasant, with the warm spice of ginger in the aftertaste. It’s not as strong as I expected from the scent at all. The lychee is peppery and sort of gentle, reminding me of rose tea. It’s more on the perfume-like side than fruity. I sort of agree with what others have said about this tea, though. It’s nice, but not something I’d crave. I’ll certainly finish the sample, but I probably won’t get it again.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I am pretty sure this one only comes in sachets. It is in one of the specialty tins. That is how mine came, too.


Huh, my sample came as loose leaf!


Well, that shows what I know! LOL!

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Another tea from the cute, stackable sampler!

It has a bit of an odd, apricot-like scent as it steeps. It made me a bit nervous, but I’ve really been into light, fruity teas lately. I figured this would be just what I wanted. And surprisingly, it is! It reminds me a lot of the Tea Forte greens and whites I’ve been trying lately. Especially in the way that it reminds me a bit of a Bath and Body Works scent. (As always, in a good way!)

From what I understand, “ambrosia” refers to a heavenly sort of fruit punch? That’s pretty much what this tastes like. The white Assam is muted, there for a sort of background strength that’s hard to describe. I taste plum as the primary fruit, but also lots of other flavors. Berries, pears, cherries. It’s like a delicious fruit cocktail. I might have to get the full size tin of this stuff. Another winner from Zhena’s!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

A white Assam blend?! sounds unique

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drank Yerba Mate by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

I believe this is my second yerba mate? Now, right off the bat, I messed up the preparation. Turns out I was supposed to treat it like a green, but I read the instructions too late. So my water was too hot. Therefore, my review of this might be a little skewed. (And I don’t have another sachet to try again with.)

The tea smells lightly smoky and spicy. Almost like cinnamon, but different. It’s the only thing I can compare it to. The flavor reminds me of something outside. It’s very vegetal, kind of reminding me of collard greens. There’s also a note of green beans. And leather. I know, this sounds really weird. But it was a freebie and after a night of drinking, I needed something to wake me up.

As far as the buzz goes, I can definitely feel something. It doesn’t seem as strong as a cup of coffee, and it comes on a little slower, but there’s certainly something there.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This was another freebie I got in my last order. It’s kind of strange that I haven’t tasted their version yet!

I sniffed the sachet before hitting it with the water and it smelled promising. I generally like keemun, so it seemed like a good idea. However, as I drink it, I am disappointed. For something with such a nice aroma, this is kind of bland. It’s bitter and dries my mouth without any kind of depth or complexity. It reminds me a lot of how disappointing Mighty Leaf’s breakfast blend was. Just cheap-tasting and lame. Sorry, Harney, this one’s a miss.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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This was bought on a whim from my grocery store in a little sampler. They really know how to reel me in. A mint tea, a plum tea, and a raspberry Earl Grey? How could I leave the store without it?

Anyway, the scent of this stuff is enough to make me jerk my head back. That is some seriously strong peppermint! It almost reminds me of minty alcohol, like Fernet Branca. I know it’s just a bagged Moroccan Mint, but it seems like something special.

The flavor does not disappoint. The green tea content keeps it from being too strongly minty, adding a buttery and satisfying calm. But the mint content is very fresh tasting and leaves my mouth very cool. It tingles as I breathe, and has a sort of creamy aftertaste that makes it strangely addictive. I keep coming back for another sip. And a refill. I’m already down to one bag!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

Ever since tasting Teavivre’s Golden Monkey, this kind of Fujian tea has been near the top of my list of plain blacks. I’ve been very curious about it ever since, especially from someone as trustworthy as Harney & Sons.

The scent is very fruity and complex, characteristic of this kind of blend. I’m definitely getting the aroma of sweet potato. What’s great about the flavor of this tea is that it’s fruity without being fruit flavored, and it’s so very smooth. There is no bitterness, no astringency. Just delicious, almost breadlike taste. I’m also getting light notes of honey. Truly something to savor.

A bit of a warning — this stuff doesn’t like being treated like a traditional black tea. You want to be gentle with it. Give it a shorter steep time and cooler water than you’d usually go with. Otherwise, the flavor gets pretty overwhelming and distorted.

And a bit of a random note, I made this for my stoner friend who always wants a cup when I offer, and he said “This is really good tea…” while crashing cars in Grand Theft Auto IV.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

hmmm may have to add this one to my shopping list to try :)

June's Flame

Ooh I love Golden Monkey tea. I will have to try this one. I’ve never had any Harney teas before, what do you think of them?


Most of them have been great, but every now and then, I’ll get one that’s just alright. I definitely recommend trying them out!

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drank Apple Cinnamon by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

Okay, Steepster. You need to get your shit together. And give me back my original post, because rewriting it is a waste of my time. Also, when I tell you to remove a tea from my Cupboard, I need you to do it then. Not the fifth or sixth time I tell you to.

I originally wrote to say that I was excited about this because I love apple cinnamon. I went on to say that it smells great, like a spiced red apple cider. It smelled like it was going to be strong, but sadly, it wasn’t. The apple taste was almost hidden behind the mild black tea base, followed by a bland hint of cinnamon. This wasn’t what I was expecting from Harney & Sons, who usually load a tea up with flavor. Like I said about the Vanilla Black, this is just too subtle for me.

The original entry was better, but I didn’t have the sense to Copy before I posted.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I’m still too grumpy about losing my last post (twice!) to rewrite it. Maybe I’ll do it later tonight. That said, your first paragraph made me smile.

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drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
546 tasting notes

When I ordered this, the idea was that I probably wouldn’t like Vanilla Comoro much because it’s decaf and I thought that was weird. Of course, that wasn’t the case. I fell in love, face-first, with Vanilla Comoro. So the roles have reversed. This tea now has to live up to what I thought would be the loser.

It smells lovely as it steeps, brewing up to a pleasant reddish amber. The aroma is sweet vanilla and faintly smoky, leathery black tea. I’m a little surprised by the smokiness, as I wasn’t expecting it. This doesn’t have the buttercream, cupcakey vanilla that the Comoro had, which disappoints me a little. Oh dear, I’ve gotten spoiled.

The flavor is much more smoky than I expected, followed by the vanilla. It’s decent, yeah, but not what I was hoping for. I wanted a sort of cake or ice cream flavor, and this isn’t it. It’s a nice vanilla bean taste, but it’s too subtle for me. Sorry, Vanilla Black, but I’ll be reordering Vanilla Comoro instead. (And mixing it with French Super-Blue Lavender, oh god yes.)

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Vanilla Comoro does have a sweeter, caramel dessert flavor while Vanilla Black is more straight vanilla, though I like both!

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Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. Living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, electronic music geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, chai, and pretty much any black tea from Fujian, China. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, sage, apple, coconut, raspberry, lychee, bergamot, osmanthus, cucumber, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

You can assume that I’m preparing my tea using the Western method. I use zero-calorie sweeteners and in the hot months, I drink my tea almost exclusively iced.


Decatur, GA



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