First cup of the season. It;s always a treat. I only drink this tea in December as I am beginning to prep myself for the holiday season.
To be honest, I was afraid of this tea at first. I had a bad experience with Hot Cinnamon Spice (too sweet) and was afraid this would be HCS 2.0. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
This tea is good, but not amazing. There are strong notes of clove, cinnamon, and orange, like the Hot Cinnamon Spice, but their arrangement is different. Clove is the dominant spice in the mix, which gives it a chai-like flavor profile. Even so, you wouldn’t mistake this tea for chai. The sweet orange rounds out the flavor, eliminating the spicy “kick” that chai often has.
Overall, I was a little disappointed by how weak the tea was. When I think holiday spice tea, I expect strong and bold flavor. This tea was light, but not in a good way. I feel like Hot Cinnamon Spice would have been nicer if it were less sweet and lighter; this tea would have been better if it were more bold. I might try a longer steep time and see if that remedies the problem. I don’t think this would stand up to milk either. I wanted to be warmed and woken up, but this put me to sleep. This might work as chai for people that don’t like chai, if that makes any sense.
So June isn’t exactly the holidays, but it is cool outside this morning, and I wanted to try this out. I prepared this cup from a sample teabag, and I can imagine it would be even better from a sachet or loose leaf. The dry leaves have a potent scent of cinnamon and cloves, but thankfully they are a little more subdued in the taste of the tea.
Steeped for five minutes, the black tea base is smooth but definitely strong enough to hold its own. As I have found with most of the Harney black teas that I have tried, there is no astringency or bitterness. While the tea is still very hot, the predominant tastes are of cinnamon, cloves and black tea. But as it cools, the citrus and vanilla tastes come to the foreground, and the tea has a creamier mouthfeel. I didn’t add any sweetener or milk, but the tea has a natural sort of sweetness (though not nearly as sweet as the Hot Cinnamon Spice, if that concerns you). This tea is definitely reminiscent of Christmas in every sense – like the potpourri my mom puts out every year, and the cinnamon pine cones at the craft store, and the occasional spiced baked good. I will definitely be ordering this tea come November, because while it is delicious in the summer, it will be absolutely perfect for a cold December morning.
Following hurricane Sandy and over a week without power, I was forced to camp out in a local Barnes and Noble on numerous occasions for two of life’s great necessities: hot tea and wifi. Harney supplies B&N with tea, and while consuming hours of free wifi, I had the opportunity to try some new teas. The one that lifted my spirits the most was Harney’s Holiday Tea. Days later, I was compelled to order a tin of said tea from Harney to celebrate the return of power!
Back in civilization, sitting with a hot pot brewed, I just love the wild mixture of scents from this blend. Each stage has differing smells: With the dry leaf, it’s orange-cinnamon that dominates, with the wet, it’s the toasty underlying black tea, and with the liquor, the flavors that hit my nose the hardest are the vanilla and almond. Sipping this, I get the spiced cinnamon and cloves early in the sip and at the front of the mouth. While the back half of this sip, the orange-almond-vanilla shows it’s face. A little bit of spice sits at the tip of the tongue and the back of the mouth after swallowing. It’s a very wild medley of flavors, but it finds a way to work. I can fully understand anyone who considers this blend to be over-the-top. Overall, I find this tea, fairly comforting and warming.
I’m one who usually does not care much for these sorts of wild blends; I’m more of a tea purist at heart. But this is one blend that I can enjoy. It’s not something that I could drink daily though. But, cuddled up with a good book, on a cold winter night, this tea finds a home. Oh, and it works well too in the midst of post-hurricane madness, ehh.
I bought this around the holidays, and it has certainly come into good use while we have 20" of snow fall on the 12" we had on the ground already. Not bitter, like many black teas I’ve had, with a very subtle citrusy sweetness that lends itself well when adding a dollop of honey. Just the right amount of spice to get the chill out.
Yummy! Very well balanced and elegant – all spice flavors and tea harmonize. I thought it might be “too much” and compete with holiday cookies, but it enhanced rather than took away from the treats. I’d like to start a tradition and always have this in my cupboard Thanksgiving through the New Year! I only have enough for one more pot – and I guess that’s how it should be until next November :)
This tea is good! Not quite so good as Hot Cinnamon Spice, but that’s almost an unfair standard of comparison.
The blend of flavors is simple, but very well-balanced….it seems to me that the flavors cooperate rather than compete. And the blend is definitely reminiscent of warm, joyful holiday scents…it puts me in a festive mood!
Oh. My. Goodness. This tea reminds me of the time I spent in Exeter, England around the holidays last year. The flavor, to me, is highly reminiscent of mince pies (in a good way!). The dried orange peel also adds a bit of a citrus-y note, and reminds me of the orange spice tea my brother and I used to drink before I got into fancier loose leaf teas.
Overall, lovely, warming tea for any time of the year.
Usually, I’m impressed with Harney & Sons. And because today is New Year’s Day, and the end of the holiday season, I decided to try this blend. At first, I smelled the cinnamon, and something else which I cannot quite name. I steeped it for three minutes, and realized that the brew was quite weak. I gave it several more minutes, and was satisfied with the color. As for the taste, I was not too impressed. I did not like the aftertaste at all, and it reminded me of chamomile. Other than that, it tasted naturally sweet, and was not at all bitter (that itself deserves a thumbs up). This is the first Holiday blend I have tasted from any company. I’m glad I tried it, and Happy New Year everybody.