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Queen Catherine

Tea type
Black Tea
Not available
Malt, Cocoa
Sold in
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Edit tea info Last updated by Tea Pet
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

Available from 1 seller.

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245 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Overslept because I didn't sleep well last night. Muscles already sore from coughing. Nose and ears still stuffed with cotton. Nauseated from coughing fit. Sneezing fit. Main household toilet...” Read full tasting note
    ashmanra 1769 tasting notes
  • “This tea is perfect. I am hoping so, so hard that I never get sick of it the way I can with many a tea, because it really is as perfect as its "back story" makes it out to be. I read the back story...” Read full tasting note
    keychange 417 tasting notes
  • “This morning I decided that I absolutely, positively had to have Queen Catherine with a Toasted Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese. There could be no substitutes. Nothing else would do. Of course...” Read full tasting note
    JacquelineM 1112 tasting notes
  • “Tea of the morning.... It has been a while since I have had an audience with the Queen. I love the way her subtle strength nudges you into action for the day. Cocoa notes, light malt and a...” Read full tasting note
    SimplyJenW 956 tasting notes

From Harney & Sons

We created this blend of three Chinese black teas in honor of Queen Catherine, who introduced her love of tea to the British. We are privileged to have this tea featured in the Museum of Tea in Hangzhou, China. Harney & Sons is the only Western tea company to receive this honor.


About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

245 Tasting Notes

58 tasting notes

Lemme start by giving a great big ‘thank you’ to JacquelineM for a VERY generous sample (I mean, she must of bought a truck full and got sick of it “generous”). I really will resist the desire to rave on and on about the share package I recieved from her and will get on with the note.

I had a high expectation after reading several of the near forty posts on this tea. It seems, generally speaking, we like it- actually more than the creator who gave it a 75.

Being this sample resembled a purchase rather than an act of kindness (I’m just dying to reveal how much there is, but I’m sure that would be uncouth-not that I’m overly couthy) I elected to make a pressful= 8 cups. We normally reserve full pots of anything for the Asian grocery oolongs due to the cost effectiveness. I haven’t broken down the pennies to cup ratio as I’ve seen a few do, but it’s cheap. What the heck, I’m living it up this morning.

Where was I, oh yeah the tea. The tin, when opened, (another bonus, it came in a tin! I’m getting so big time with tins and everything! Thanks again Jacqueline) smacked me upside the head with the smell of a barn! Yep, a barn. It smells like dry hay that’s also very malty. Immediately when the water hit the tea my very ampley proportioned nose was filled with a leather like maltiness that made me think “this is going to be a strong cup”. Again when bringing the cup to my lips the malt smell was so apparent, yet when I took the first sip I was greeted by an amazing mix of flavors/impressions. There is a baseline of subtle malt that shares the stage with some smokiness and a faint creamy sweetness that actually stays with you as an aftertaste. Gentle yet bold.

The dry hay is there too, and thankfully it’s not a wet/green hay or this would not be the same tasting note at all. There’s almost a pu’erh thing going on in the backside if the sip (who am I kidding, it’s more a gulp). I can see where most other posts leaned toward a green/grassy descrition as one of the characteristics, though I have to stick with the dry hay choice. For me, it lacks the bitter,sometimes astringent, note I seem to get out of greener tasting teas.

I went ahead and steeped this a second time with fair results. It definitely lacked the complexity and the smokiness that it started with, yet was still considerable as an easy drinking tea. In other words, this second steep was better than some first steeps I’ve came across, and by no means was comparable to the initial infuze.

I’m so thankful that several- Jacqueline,Azz,and LiberTEAS have been so kind as to help me experience many other facets and types of tea that would have taken me months, if not years, to visit. AmazonV, MissMylin, and Autumn Hearth have all pledged to send samples my way as well (unless I already recieved AmazonV’s, which is still to be determined). What a wonderfull community to belong to (sniff sniff) and I appreciate it very much, so many kind and helpful people. OK enough with the sentimental mooshy junk, I gotta get another sample going-this will take weeks to get through.

tunes-the Black Keys=Little Black Submarines/Run Right Back/Sister…turns out the whole El Camino album. It’s all great, as nearly everything they put out is. I have a hard time naming who has more talent between them and Mumford&Sons, yet Black Keys have 7 albums whereas Mumford are just releasing their second.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I can not hear the song “Good Life” by One Republic without salivating for this tea. A couple of years ago, not long before I was diagnosed with cancer, I got in the habit of making a JoeMo full of QC and walking the track at the gym where my youngest daughter was taking swim lessons…every week day. The two became firmly associated! Then I drank to pull myself up by my bootstraps during radiation. I have a lot of respect for the Queen, and I hope she will always be on my shelf.

I am glad you met Jacqueline!! My girls were talking about tea the other day and I told them Jacqueline is the Queen of Steepster! :)


Wow that’s great! I’m not familiar with the tune, but soon will be. Hadn’t heard about your diagnosis yet, but it explains a portion of the spirituality you exhibit. Hope to hear more of your story as time goes on. Also, didn’t realize that I had brushed shoulders with royalty, Queen Jacqueline it is!


Oh, no worries! Other than the fact that I have to get poked and prodded a lot, my treatments are over and I have the all clear! But my girls can look at me some mornings and know whether to make a pot of QC or EB!


I like the Black Keys :)


You are so sweet!


I’m blushing!

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150 tasting notes

Okay, now I’m really getting concerned. I had to take allergy meds last night so I’m really dragging about right now. I decided that a strong black tea was my best option for a pick-me-up, and I’ve been looking forward to trying my sample of Queen Catherine given to me by the ever generous and beautiful QuiltGuppy.

All I taste is black tea and roses. This makes postivly no sense because all of the reviews I’ve read say that it has a chocolately almost coffee like flavor. AM I HAVING A STROKE? Wait… I’d smell burnt toast and taste bitter almonds if that were the case, right? Is it possible that Harney & Sons mispackaged my sample? Perhaps I actually have a sample of Rose Scented and not Queen Catherine. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not going to rate this tea because I may be having a psycotic episode and that wouldn’t be fair to Queen Catherine.


I can assure you the the Queen is not the least bit rosy. I wonder what happened!?


Hm… I haven’t tried my sample yet. I’ll taste it tomorrow. Angrboda reviewed this one, too, but I don’t recall if she mentioned roses. I’ll have to check and see. Maybe they mispackaged them.


I noticed you tasted roses in Midsummer’s Peach, too. Could allergies and drainage be affecting your taste? I know it does mine at times…..


SimplyJenW, allergies can do weird things to your sense of taste which I would totally agree was happening if i could taste any other flavor element in Queen Cat. I swear my sample was all rose and black tea. Thankfully, I’m drinking a protein smoothie right now that’s all fruit and NO ROSES :) I’ll give the Queen another try in a few days.


QuiltGuppy, I’m super grateful for any sample :) BUT I would be interested to hear if your sample of Queen Cat is rosey too.


JacquelineM, I was using your review to measure just how not rosey the Queen should taste. I’ll give it another try later.


I know when I’m sick, tea tastes like cereal!!!


It’s a tea mystery! :)


JacquelineM, I just laughed like a crazy person at your tea tasting like cereal comment.


Oh dear! That doesn’t sound like the Queen at all! Feel better soon!


everything tastes like sugar was added when I’m about to get sick!
get well soon!!

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1192 tasting notes

Greetings Steepsterites! I have returned from the Big Wild Unknown, aka a summer house near the southern tip of the country with boyfriend and his parents. It was a good trip and we were there for a week doing a little touristing, some reading, and a lot of relaxing. Managed to finally get rid of my cough while there. Returned on friday, visited my parents saturday for the parents-parents meeting (went well also, it seemed) and then back to work monday. Boyfriend’s parents went back to the UK this morning. Boyfriend will also go to the UK next weekend, poor him. The weekend after that is planned out with no plans. This is sorely needed and has even been put in the calendar.

In other words, I’m pooped. Well, truly and utterly pooped. What I need now is a good heartening cup of tea, and as luck would have it I am now also in position to finally try some of the nommies that QuiltGuppy sent me before I went away on holiday. At last! A process, however, somewhat hindered by the fact that the kettle broke the other day, the on and off button breaking clear off, so making tea is a frightfully complicated business involving saucepans and good aim. (There are very good odds, though, that aforementioned boyfriend will bring home a new kettle from the UK on monday. There’s a long story behind this, which I will tell if you’re interested.)

I decided to start with Queen Catherine because it seems to be a steepsterite favourite and because other people’s posts on it previously leads me to believe that it is indeed a heartening cup.

I was surprised by the leaf aroma. It was much grassier and spicy-er than I had imagined it would be. A second sniffing also reveals something a little floral, a little grainy and almost a tiny bit pseudo-smoky, which makes me wonder what this tea is actually blended of. Right off the top of my head I would guess something involving a Darjeeling-ish type and a Keemun.

After steeping, I’m more thinking the hay-like notes of a Yunnan. How confusing is this! There’s still the grainy, semi-pseudo-smoky note, but the grassy note that reminded me of Darjeeling is thankfully gone. Self is not a Darjeeling fan, you see. All in all, it’s a very strong aroma, sort of forceful and serious. It really does smell like it will be just the heartening cup of tea that I’m looking for here.

The flavour was a surprise again. There’s that pesky grassy Darjeeling-esque note again! I have to say I was hoping my nose was playing tricks on my when sniffing at the dry leaf, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Oh bother.

That aside, though, it’s not a total disappointment. That Darjeeling-y note is subdued and tamed a bit by other darker and less perky notes. There’s something in here that has a resemblance to the very initial flavour of a medium-strength hot coffee. You know, the absolutely first bit of the flavour of the very first sip of freshly brewed cup of coffee, before the tongue really gets in on the business of tasting.

The grainy note is still intact as well, although without the touch of pseudo-smoke. It’s strong, however, and relatively sweet. Almost a little bit honeyed, I think. Possibly a wee bit fruity. This particular note is my favourite out of this tea’s flavour profile.

So we’ve got three primary notes here. Something that I’m not fond of, but which is held down and controlled by the other two, something which is basically more like putting down a base for the flavour in total than an actual note of flavour, and something which I’m very fond of and tend to look for in other teas, such as Keemuns or Tan Yang.

One should think these three, or especially the former and the latter, would even each other out and become something fairly average. This is not the case, though. That Darjeeling-like note, I can’t say I like it much, but when held in check by strong, grainy, bold notes like the other two, I find it surprisingly tolerable.

Queen Catherine reminds me most of all of Kusmi’s Samovar blend, only far less smoky. I’m quite pleased with it, and I’m glad I got a chance to try it for myself. You lot have all made me so curious about it and making it sound like it was right up my alley. And, it looks like, you were not mistaken.

The Purrfect Cup

Welcome back! Do tell of your kettle issues.


Well, it started at this last Christmas. The boyfriend had ordered for me a fancy Bodum kettle with temperature settings and what not. It wasn’t in stock in Denmark, so he didn’t get it in time for Christmas. Instead I got a card with a drawing of it. Sort of an ‘IOU one kettle’ or something.

We then assumed that eventually it would actually come in stock in Denmark so that it could be ordered, and we waited and we waited and we waited. As you know, it is know June. We are still waiting.

Apparently it has now disappeared completely from the Bodum website where he attempted to order it, which we take to mean that it’s just simply not available for purchase in Denmark.

Then the old kettle broke, as mentioned. I’m thinking that the knob must have taken a hit when we were moving and it’s just slowly cracked more and more, because it’s a clean break. Leaving us completely kettle-less.

Well, if it had to happen, now was as good a time as any and it prompted us to actually do something about this new no-show of a fancy kettle. The boyfriend is going to the UK next weekend for his father’s retirement party, so he ordered one to have shipped to his parents’ house instead, which he will then take with him home on monday.

Turns out it was kind of lucky that it happened now, because in order to get it delivered to a UK residence, the website demanded payment with a UK card, for some reason. Or perhaps they just don’t do international shipping from that site or something, and therefore don’t accept international cards, what do I know? At any rate, as we had his parents visiting, the new kettle was charged on his father’s card.

It was ordered saturday morning, and today the boyfriend came home and told me that he had shipping confirmation on the kettle and was confident that it would arrive in time for him to bring it home next monday.

And then he said, “guess where it was shipped from.”

It turns out that the kettle that you couldn’t order in Denmark from a Danish Bodum site, and therefore subsequently ordered from a UK Bodum site for delivery in the UK shipped from…

Kolding, Denmark.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!

I won’t pretend to understand one tiny itty bitty iota of that logic. I’m just sticking to the fact that we’re finally getting the fancy kettle, and ignoring all that other stuff.

There’s a funny detail though, because as mentioned the boyfriend’s father ended up paying for the kettle, but last night they took us out to dinner at a nice restaurant. It turns out, though, that the card his mother had ordered specifically for using internationally was declined at the restaurant. So while they’re paying for the kettle we’re getting for ourselves, we ended up paying for the meal they treated us to. It being a fancy kettle, I think we came out more or less even, though. I’m not sure on the exact price of the kettle, but I saw the price of the meal and it seems to me like something that kettle might cost.

The Purrfect Cup

Wow that is one epic tea tale! Hope you get your new kettle asap!!


Me too. This saucepan business gets old pretty fast.

The Purrfect Cup

I can imagine!

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108 tasting notes

First day back at work after a vacation. Had to brew a pot of Queen Catherine for the Occasion.


Hooray for vacations! Hooray for Queen Catherine when we come back!

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120 tasting notes

Celebrating the first cool fall evening on the porch with the Queen. She is always there for us, consistent, true, and always enchanting. Tonight I added a dash of milk. I was not disappointed as the Queen proved once again her majesty of flavor while complementing her loyal subjects, milk and sweetness. I have so waited the return of fall, the coolness in the air and a
hot cup of tea outdoors.


STOP rubbing your lovely fall weather in my face! Fall is my favorite season and temps will be over 104 here by Wednesday. Gish… I’m happy for you though (sort of) :)


Hmmmm. We are in the high 60s/low 70s. It is heaven.
@Jenn-Isn’t your 104 low in humidity? At least that helps. A little, anyway.


We set all-time records for temp and consecutive days over 100, so I am very sorry you are still at 104, but lows in the 70’s and highs in upper 80’s feels like winter after the July and August we had…

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1258 tasting notes

This is… I can’t believe.. I… ack, this tea is beyond words!!!
Smoky and floral and rich, sweet and malty and bold… all balanced so perfectly that whoever crafted this must have used scales imported from Zeus.
Big thank you to SimplyJen for the generous sample!!!!!!!!
This is actually the second time I’ve had a cuppa. My first was so overwhelming that I truly had no idea how to pen a review. I still feel that way now, but am managing to push through it.
The first cup I had with milk, and it went so well together… but this time, the balance felt ruined by a spot of dairy so I kept it naked. No additions required! I think because I used a little less leaf this time.
Funny, I’m not usually one to go for blended teas. I suppose there is an exception to everything!
thank you again SimplyJen! you rock!!


I love the “I… ack”! It reminds me of the cartoon strip, Bloom County, I think it was called (here in the states, at least)? I think the author of the strip would sometimes use that expression for the cat?


Hmmm I don’t know it SimpliciTea! but if I ever see it, you can be sure I’ll think of you :)


I just searched the web, and here he is: Bill the Cat!


I invite you to check out his most spoken sentiments mentioned in the first paragraph!


_This is… I can’t believe.. I… ack, this tea is beyond words!!! _

I love it when we get that reaction. :D


ahh yes, maybe I have seen it before! though I never followed it. Perhaps I subconciously stole the Ack! haha


Angroboda: hehe yes, isn’t that the best feeling ever?! I’ve been thinking about this tea for ages, every time I saw it in the reviews it sounded like something I’d like, but I just couldn’t picture how it’d taste… and now I’ve tried it, wow the reviews are so spot on!


I too, am glad this tea knocked your socks off. I just checked out it’s listing on Steepster: 139 tasting notes! This must indeed be an amazing tea. I also like that they replace their standard symbol on the tin with one of Queen Katherine! This tea is definitely on my radar.


Oh, and btw, I was not at all implying that you stole the …ack, I was merely thinking that great minds think alike!


SimpliciTea, if you ever get yer hands on it, I guarantee it will be like nothing you’ve ever had before. oh and since I don’t carry much of any tea at one time I am thinking of trying to replicate it by mixing my own. We’ll see how that works! haha
I know you didn’t think that lol. To be honest, I think I borrowed the line from a friend who follows Calvin and Hobbes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she got it from Bill the Cat!


After reading your review I hopped in my car and went to the Cupboard in Old Town where they sell lots of Harney & Sons thinking I’ve got to try this Queen Catherine after such a fine story… and as you say ACK! they had NONE! So I picked up some Harney…samples and some other’s and came ta’home. Sad but true. I’ll try elsewhere…determined.


oh no!! Bonnie, that’s terrible. If you msg me your addy I can send you some!

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936 tasting notes

The smell out of the sample packet is rich and delicious. It made me go “wow.” Chocolate! Coffee! Sugar! A tiny bit of smoke, and some planty earth.

Deep dark reddish liquor. The many fragrances of the dry leaves smooth out into a malty, Yunnany aroma. There’s a little bit of smoke but it’s not super smoky.

The flavor is strong, bordering on intense. I wonder how it would be steeping only 3 minutes. Will try that next time. It’s definitely an eye opener at 4. The flavor has the intensity of coffee. Wonder what milk would do?

It isn’t quite as smooth and mellow tasting as it smells; it has some… not really bitterness, more a lack of sweetness that is surprising given the aroma. There’s smoke in the taste, but it’s not strong. The consistency isn’t chewy but the impression is stout, like a dark ale. There’s a kind of cocoa note in the aftertaste.

This one is going to be worth spending an extended visit with to see what variations might be possible. It will be interesting to go into a second tasting at another time now that I know what to expect.

Rating this because it has a lot of interesting things going on with it. Not sure how I feel about the intensity yet.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Yeah, you totally had me at “Chocolate! Coffee! Sugar! A tiny bit of smoke…”

Tamara Fox

This one makes me feel like a queen if taken in the proper setting, i.e., an English tea garden setting :)


I’m with Auggy on that! It sounds deeeeelicious…though I’ve found some teas jarring in the past when they promise one thing and delivery another, especially in the ‘sweet’ department. Still sounds worth investigating!


I love this one on mornings when I feel sore and sluggish. It really gets me started up and brightens my day. The smokiness is slight, and it has lots of flavor. I just ordered another tin with the new Harney coupon. Catherine would have probably had tea that was much smokier, I expect, since it would have been more like a Bohea.


Ordinarily, the stronger the flavor the better as far as I’m concerned. Maybe I was just having a wimpy morning, but it hit me like a ton ’o bricks and/or like Cher in Moonstruck when she slapped Nicolas Cage and yelled “snap out of it!”

See, e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x-fkSYDtUY


What coupon?


It is the online coupon that you enter at checkout. It is SUMMER12 and you get 12% off your order and at $50 you also get free shipping.


Love the Cher reference!

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1628 tasting notes

Ashmanra, who has patiently withstood more whining and mewling about current life conditions that any online acquaintance should ever have to do :) recognized that I need some bucking up and sent the Queen to do the honors.

This tea has backbone. I am a lover of good, stiff black teas and this is, but the subtle coffee-cocoa-smoky-floral chaser I’ve read about in many of these reviews keeps Catherine from becoming a merciless harpy. Perfect with no additives, but I can see that a little milk would tone this down nicely for afternoons.

(Is it a sign that you’ve gone completely over the edge of your saucer when you start attributing human qualities to your teas? I’m blaming on the heat!)


Oh, I hope not! That would mean I went completely over the edge of my saucer ages ago ;)


I love Catherine with milk and sugar in the mornings, but plain in the afternoon. She is a versatile lady! Hope she helps you face the day as much as she helps me! It has been a pleasure and privilege to be your ant buddy!


It is named for the Queen for goodness sakes, what is more human than that.
I think anyone who endured an F-5 can attribute human characteristics to anything they choose. Just my 2 cents. :)


Indeed, teawing! By the way, did you know that autocorrect changes your moniker to teasing every time I type it?


shhhh! That is supposed to be top secret! lol!

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403 tasting notes

I was tempted by Harney’s most recent promotion to pick up one of their new “Ambessa” teas, along with a couple others that had been on my shopping list for awhile.I’m not assigning a numerical rating yet because I’ve been away from Steepster for quite awhile and will have ot remind myself how Queen C compares to everything else I’ve tried :)

Steeped at work, with a rounded teaspoon in a ~8oz mug, I think I got lucky right off the bat – from others’ descriptions this might be easy to oversteep, but I’m finding it quite drinkable plain (yay!).

Very smooth, I’m not getting a lot of smoke though there is a dryness that reminds me of smoke; the taste is sweet, but the flavor reminds me of more savory things in general – buttered popcorn? Salted caramel? Clearly, more experimentation is required!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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4231 tasting notes

This is awesomely amazing! Absolutely amazing. So rich, malty, and delicious. Bold, a little smoky, and sweet. Well-rounded. Chocolate-y undertones, earthy, and with a good amount of heft to it – this one has some get-up-and-go to it.

Definitely a great tea to start the day.

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