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79

Experience buying from Harney & Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping: Bought sample in December 2011; brewed up late-May 2012.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: strong, wonderfully fruity smell (similar to a Darjeeling?) with a hint of a roasted aroma; small, beautifully curled light and dark brown leaves (similar to a quality Yunnan).

Brewing guidelines: almost 5 full TSP tea for 4 cups water; loose in my new ceramic four-cup teapot; stevia added; I used my standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures, steeped five times.

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Beautiful, clear dark-red color with a faint malty aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: Good! Similar to an Assam—it was clearly malty—but with a definite Chinese red tea flavor profile (somewhat like a Yunnan, possibly in its sweetness?). Good flavor up through the third steeping, some on the forth, with just a hint of flavor on the fifth.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: A few largish-looking stems but few broken pieces and plenty of nice buds in the wet leaf; I smelled it just after the first steeping and it had a wonderfully sweet aroma.

Value: $3 for the sample, but otherwise $22 / 3OZ. This is clearly a quality tea, but that price-tag is too steep for me (as in, expensive, that is); there are to be plenty of other teashops that carry quality Chinese red teas for a price better than $7/OZ (but maybe none with precisely this kind of flavor profile, hmm?).

Overall: I spontaneously brewed up this sample today, it being the last in the bunch I bought from H&S toward the end of last year. On a side note: having now had about ten Teas from H&S I have to say I am impressed with their offerings such that every Tea (NOT including their tizanes) I have tried has been of commendable quality. As I mentioned in Value this is clearly a quality Chinese red tea. Strangely enough in color and flavor this tea somewhat reminds me of a red ale I helped to home-brew just a few days ago; I like that. I am not willing to pay the normal price for this tea, but still, I’m glad I had a chance to experience it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

red ale?! interesting!

SimpliciTEA

Yes, very interesting indeed to discover a tea that reminds me of beer (in more ways than one).

I asked the friend I brew with what the difference is between a red ale and a standard ale, and he said some of the grains are roasted (there were a total of five different grains for the red ale we just brewed up and he said two of those were roasted) and thus a little darker in color (and it must do something to the flavor also, although other than supposing it is more ‘roasted’, I can’t really say). I hope you don’t mind the brief blurb there about beer-making!

Indigobloom

no no I find it fascinating!! Did you put alot of hops and barley in there? (I’m allergic to hops, kindof)

SimpliciTEA

I’m glad you find it fascinating.

I don’t remember seeing any barley on the ingredients list (the grains come in one really big bag), but there were three different packets of hops that look like green pellets that are added toward the end of the brewing process, and they have the shape of the, uh, stuff that rabbits ‘gift’ to the world hours after a good meal of grass; I know, weird.

Allergic to hops? Bummer. An India Pale Ale is one of my favorite beers, and they are very hop-y (Hey! Sounds like, hoppy, as in, a fitting adjective for those furry, long-eared mammals; maybe that’s why the hops pellets look that way!).

I don’t have the web address of the place he buys the kits from, but Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebrewing#Homebrewing_kits lists barley as a part of what commonly goes into the mash. So, it’s probably hiding somewhere in that big ’ol bag of grains. : )

Indigobloom

lol if your hoppy and you know if it drink yer beer! (I mean tea!!)
I do miss drinking my beers though. All of a sudden the hops starting tasting far too bitter and hard to swallow. I’m told in time I will be back to normal. One can hope!

SimpliciTEA

Yes, you can always hope. Good luck!

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Comments

Indigobloom

red ale?! interesting!

SimpliciTEA

Yes, very interesting indeed to discover a tea that reminds me of beer (in more ways than one).

I asked the friend I brew with what the difference is between a red ale and a standard ale, and he said some of the grains are roasted (there were a total of five different grains for the red ale we just brewed up and he said two of those were roasted) and thus a little darker in color (and it must do something to the flavor also, although other than supposing it is more ‘roasted’, I can’t really say). I hope you don’t mind the brief blurb there about beer-making!

Indigobloom

no no I find it fascinating!! Did you put alot of hops and barley in there? (I’m allergic to hops, kindof)

SimpliciTEA

I’m glad you find it fascinating.

I don’t remember seeing any barley on the ingredients list (the grains come in one really big bag), but there were three different packets of hops that look like green pellets that are added toward the end of the brewing process, and they have the shape of the, uh, stuff that rabbits ‘gift’ to the world hours after a good meal of grass; I know, weird.

Allergic to hops? Bummer. An India Pale Ale is one of my favorite beers, and they are very hop-y (Hey! Sounds like, hoppy, as in, a fitting adjective for those furry, long-eared mammals; maybe that’s why the hops pellets look that way!).

I don’t have the web address of the place he buys the kits from, but Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebrewing#Homebrewing_kits lists barley as a part of what commonly goes into the mash. So, it’s probably hiding somewhere in that big ’ol bag of grains. : )

Indigobloom

lol if your hoppy and you know if it drink yer beer! (I mean tea!!)
I do miss drinking my beers though. All of a sudden the hops starting tasting far too bitter and hard to swallow. I’m told in time I will be back to normal. One can hope!

SimpliciTEA

Yes, you can always hope. Good luck!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

(Updated 3-23-2014)

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 11 OZ Yixing:
First I do a 15 – 20 second rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia to my 8 OZ clear-glass teacup (thus, typically not added to the teapot).
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
……….4th: Boiling~(poured usually right after the previous steeping, so the teapot and water are as hot as possible)~, 2’ (if it’s the final steeping, then sometimes longer)
……….If 5th and/or more: Boiling, < If I do more than 4 steepings, I basically add 0.5’ for each. >

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf green tea, although I enjoy Chinese red (or Indian black) and white tea somewhat regularly (during the summer, iced ). Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have five teapots: a simple six-cup and four-cup ceramic (red/black/herbal teas), a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and a Yixing (Pu-erh only).

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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