I say go big or go home.
So, when I decided that I wanted to do a little Harney & Sons vs. Samovar match up of course it turned into a much bigger ordeal than heating up a couple of cups of tea. I pulled out some of my camera equipment and set up a makeshift lighting situation. Not the best, but I think they came out decently enough.
For the sake of comparison purposes, I’m going to try to do this list style. Both teas are relatively giving in terms of steep time and temperature, so I used the same for both of them. I should also point out at this time that even after direct comparison, these two are neck-and-neck. I’m really splitting hairs at this point and obviously, since I’m no expert, this should really be taken for what it’s worth [like maybe a small animal]. In the absence of oyster crackers [since I believe those are supposed to be good palate cleansers] I used original flavored goldfish. It seemed official enough for my purposes. And HERE WE GO.
Perfumed to perfection. It smells decadently of jasmine – both the dry pearls and the steaming drink. It could be cloying, but since I only participate in moderation it’s simply intoxicating. There are no major differences between the scent of this tea and Samovar’s, but H+S is SLIGHTLY stronger.
Round Scent goes to Harney & Sons.
At the start, Dragon Pearl echoes a tingly sensation. Not tingly in a ticklish, bubbly sort of way, tingly like somewhere between your foot falling asleep and when you intake air quickly and suddenly and the air is REALLY COLD and it does a number on your lungs for a second. As it cooled slightly, it evened out. It’s weightier than Samovar’s, and it was also a little more textured. I’d call it grittier, though it really isn’t a gritty tea.
Round Texture goes to Samovar.
Things I Don’t Know Enough About
I’m not going to bother attempting to comment on the leaves because I really know nothing. As for things I simply observed, H+S seemed to have more leaves attached at the stem. They were bigger, but they also didn’t seem to unfurl as completely as Samovar’s. See for yourself. [Disregard coloring as I took some liberties there, except for the final leaf shot. That’s pretty true to what I see in real life.]
1 | http://twitpic.com/nfmev
2 | http://twitpic.com/nfml7
3 | http://twitpic.com/nfmug
leaf | http://twitpic.com/ng5r2
cup | http://twitpic.com/ng61c
all | http://twitpic.com/photos/takgoti
The main event! Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Dragon Pearl doesn’t exhibit that jasmine sweetness for me until it has cooled somewhat significantly. In the beginning, most of the taste is in the aftertaste. I get a taste of something relatively bland in the liquid when held in the mouth, but there’s a that delicate jasmine taste towards the back of the mouth that makes itself present when air sweeps in. It remains, pleasantly, for quite some time.
I prefer to drink jasmine tea when it’s between hot and warm, and because the taste in this doesn’t begin to really kick in for me until it’s rapidly approaching warm, it leaves me a smallish window in which to enjoy it. Perfectly fine if I’m concentrating on the tea like today and can pace myself accordingly. However, I can see myself getting it annoyed if I waited, got distracted, and then missed the window. Overall, it’s a very good tea. However…
Round Taste goes to Samovar.
Not to be ignored. In the smaller quantity, the difference is negligible. If you like buying things in large quantities, however, H+S wins [Samovar also doesn’t go above 5.5 oz. for this particular tea]. I like to buy teas in small to medium quantities because I have a lot of them and I’d rather drink them while they’re awesome. For loose tea only at the time of this log, H+S’ pricing is…
$20 for 4 oz. | $5/oz.
$39 for 8 oz. | $4.88/oz.
$69 for 1 lb. | $4.31/oz.
And everything said and done, unless you’re buying Samovar’s small quantity [which runs much higher at $7.50/oz.] I’d base the overall decision on who typically supplies more tea for you.