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457 Tasting Notes

75
drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
457 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.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
ashmanra

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

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94

So, this tea was what made me sure I wanted to place my newest order with Harney & Sons instead of the four or five other companies I had been waffling between. I love just about any tea that has lavender in it, and the idea of a pure lavender tea excited me. I’ve had plenty of blends before, but this tea is just fluffy dried lavender buds and a few pale green leaves.

Now, the official website shows the tea as brewing up to a pretty shade of purple. I can tell you right here that it does not. This stuff is a strange, kinda sickly gray. I mean, it’s sort of purple tinted, but it’s nothing like the picture. And it’s like nothing I’ve ever drank before. But the aroma is heavenly. Deeply soothing, floral, and clean. Lightly sweetened, it’s exactly what I was hoping for. A very bold and slightly buttery, tingly lavender flavor.

But I understand that this is not for everyone. If you don’t like herbals and don’t like lavender, stay far away. But I’m definitely going to re-order and blend it into stuff. Yum.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I should try this again I liked it okay but I wanted the brilliant color and read that lemon would make it pretty. Lemon makes it evil. Don’t do it,

Tabby

Thanks for the heads up! Lemon seems like a good idea, but I’ll take your word for it.

Ellyn

This is on my it’s but ohh so many teas in the cupboard already so little time..

gmathis

I bought several ounces of bulk lavender from little local health food grocer…you’re right; it’s a wonderful blending ingredient.

Tabby

That sounds like a better idea than getting it from Harney & Sons, now that you mention it. I bet it would be a lot cheaper for the exact same thing.

gmathis

Looking at the H&S description, it looks like there’s nothing in it but the lavender. I paid, oh, a buck and change an ounce; something like that.

Tabby

Haha, that’s awesome! I have a friend that works in a health food store, so I will be stopping by tomorrow after work!

ashmanra

Tabby, I think I will do the same! I need some sea salt. I think I will add lavender to the list!

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90

I found this while my boyfriend and I were giggling-drunk in the health food section of the grocery store. I was intrigued with the name of the tea at the time, so it found its way into my basket. (Despite the fact that I have so many other teas to be reviewed!)

This is actually my second time drinking it. I took it with me to work in a 16-ounce cup. I underestimated the strength of it and used two bags, which was a MISTAKE. It was so strong that I had to gulp some and add more water. But after that, it was great.

Like I said, this is a strong black tea that does not kid around. Perfect for your first cup of the day, especially if it’s cold outside and you have things to do. (The caffeine content is delightfully high.) After barely four minutes, it’s very dark, almost like coffee or a puerh. The flavor is malty and caramel-like, especially in the aftertaste. It certainly has a bitterness to it, but I crave that sort of thing. This is an especially good black tea for something bagged, I think. I’m actually pretty surprised by it, since it’s something from the grocery store. This might end up as my go-to convenience tea for those mornings where I just don’t feel like dealing with an infuser.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Indian Spice by Harney & Sons
457 tasting notes

Decided to give this a try this morning, but didn’t have time to log it. I drank it fast while I got dressed and did my makeup before meeting a friend for hibachi.

The aroma of the dry tea is delicious and spicy, smelling like a good standard chai. The blend is more uniform than what I’m used to seeing in chai loose leaf. Usually, there are brown and tan bits, nuts, etc. but this is mostly chocolate-colored leaf and what looks like cinnamon bark. Maybe? It’s so small I can’t tell what it is.

Anyway, the flavor isn’t quite as bold as the scent lead on, but it’s alright. I tend to like my chais on the spicy cinnamon and gingery side, and this doesn’t really present that. (Granted, I added a heavy splash of 1% milk.) But I’ve certainly had rougher chais before. I’m glad I got a chance to try Harney & Sons’ take on a classic, but I will continue my search for the perfect one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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84

This was a freebie that came with my latest Harney & Sons order. When I opened the package, I "eek"ed out loud because the sachet was not properly sealed. Tea almost spilled everywhere. The whole bottom of the bag had not been closed. Strange! So I dumped it all into my infuser and continued.

It didn’t smell very much like grapefruit dry or while steeping. I mostly smelled the delicious vanilla they use in the Vanilla Comoro. (But not as overwhelmingly strong.) There’s a vague hint of citrus, but I feel like if I didn’t know it was there, I wouldn’t have known what it was. But the flavor is quite different! The vanilla is more dominant than the fruit, but the grapefruit is quite present, especially on the exhale. It’s very nice, in a unique way. I can’t say much for the white tea, as it has been smothered by other flavors. But this is really interesting, and enjoyable.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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96
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
457 tasting notes

Alright, I’ve been meaning to taste this tea for years! I’ve seen the rave reviews here on Steepster, and I love anything vanilla. So I knew this was something I needed to get my hands on. My only hesitation was the fact that it’s a black decaf. I’ve never had tea that has been decaffeinated. And I’m the kind of girl who likes her buzz.

Anyway, I opened the pouch for a quick sniff last night. I had to get my non-tea-drinking man to sniff, too, because the aroma is like straight up buttercream frosting. Like a delicious cupcake. And not the grocery store kind. The independent, mom-and-pop bakery kind.

The taste is as lovely as the smell, but sadly not as potent. Sure, this is a delicious, creamy, wonderful vanilla tea. The best I’ve had. It just sort of lacks a punch. But that could be my fault entirely. Luckily, I have enough to try to make a stronger brew next time. For now, though, I am serious when I say this is my new favorite vanilla tea. It puts everything I’ve had previously to shame. Then again, I have Vanilla Black, the non-decaf version. So I’ll probably be onto that next. We’ll see what the difference is!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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86
drank Moroccan Mint by Harney & Sons
457 tasting notes

So, my tea stash had started to dwindle. I decided it was time to get around to tasting all the Harney & Sons teas I’ve had my eye on, so I made a big order of samples. And in addition to what I ordered, they sent along five other single-bag samples! I have so much tea to review!

Moroccan mints, in my previous experience, tend to all be very similar. This one is a little more on the bitter and astringent side of things, but that’s because it’s not just pure dried herb. About a third of it seems to be gunpowder green tea leaves. But that certainly doesn’t take any flavor away from the peppermint. It still leaves a soothing, tingly feeling in my mouth. I’ll be happy to finish this tasty blend, but I think I prefer the Arbor Teas version.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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82

Wow, alright. This appears to be a tea that Steepster either loves or hates. We’ll see how this goes.

The dry bag smells very appealing. Like a mix between sencha, pineapple, and mango. Heavy on the pineapple, but I guess that’s what they mean by “tropical”. I was hoping for some coconut, but oh well. But it also smells like there’s going to be some actual green tea flavor in this instead of a hint like what I’ve been drinking lately.

The tea brews up to a yellowy tan and… I oversweetened it. Why did I think I needed two packets of Abriva? Still, I can tell that even beneath the sweetener, this isn’t bad. It is mostly pineapple flavored but not sour. Very, very fruity! There is a wholesome but uncomplex green tea taste mixed in to back it up. I bet this would be very good iced. Sadly, I only had one bag to try, so I’ll probably never know.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Mélange Hédiard by Hediard
457 tasting notes

Sipdown! This takes my cupboard down to 7 teas! Seven! I am both proud and itching to restock it at the same time. But I must be strong.

Another note — I won’t be buying this again. There’s just too much new and better stuff out there.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Cavocorax

7? Wow…. :)

Sil

wow…7. I dream of..well ok maybe i never want to be down to 7…but the possibilities if i DID get to 7…so many orders i could have! haha

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88
drank Swiss Apple by Tea Forte
457 tasting notes

Oh dear, it’s a rooibos. Rooibos and I don’t really get along, but that’s with one exception: apple cinnamon. I’ll admit right here in front of all of Steepster that I genuinely like Tazo’s Organic Apple Red, which is also a rooibos. (What?! You got something to say?!) I had a feeling that this might be similar, so I’m giving it a chance even though this one uses chocolate instead of caramel.

It smells divine. I actually made a “mmm” noise when I sniffed the bag. I can’t smell the chocolate, but that’s alright. As it steeped, the aroma spread throughout my kitchen. As I sip, I can’t really taste the chocolate either. But more importantly, I can’t taste that strange rooibosness that I dislike so much. This is just a yummy apple cinnamon treat to me. Smooth and comforting, well-spiced without it being too much. Yep, I’ll be picking this one up again, too.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Cavocorax

It’s always nice to find exceptions to things you generally dislike. :D

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Bio

Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, EBM/synthpop/industrial 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, golden monkey, chai, and keemun. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, coconut, apple, raspberry, bergamot, cucumber, sage, vanilla, 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.

I’m currently growing my own tea. I have a 3-year-old potted Camellia sinensis, and I plan on picking a tiny bit of new growth this spring for my first try at drying my own leaves.

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

Location

Decatur, GA

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