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120 Tasting Notes
After yesterdays confusion and euphoria with new teas, then the stress of evaluation thrown in, today is going to be much slower and deliberate.
I appreciate SimplyJenW who is helping me round out my “Tour de Harney.” First of all, I would not have bought this. I am a bit of a traditionalist, I enjoy courses in a meal separate. I dont like foods getting too close on my plate unless it is by design or recipe. I don’t really care for coffee flavored tea, I would rather just have coffee if I am in the mood. The same goes for cocoa and tea. I love them both and know full well a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of black tea are a divine combination, but I like them to compliment each other on their own, not mixed together. All this is to say, I have avoided chocolate flavored teas until now. This may seem odd, but it is just how my tastes have grown over the years. Thank goodness for Steepster, and friends like SimplyJenW, OUR beloved QuiltGuppy, KiTT and so many others who willingly share to help expand our tastes. Every sip of this, I have to do a double take to see if it is in fact tea or cocoa. I can imagine this would be excellent for a cold winters night, rather than a hot summer day, but it is good all the same. Dry it smelled of a chocolate bar. Steeped, it smells just like cocoa with warmed milk or cream. The Hazelnut is subtle, just barely there. It seems well balanced, not too much of anything (a Harney trademark from my standpoint) and is a comforting cup.
I like this and honestly expected not to. I will however plan to get some and have it on hand for the hounds of winter. Good as it is, I will enjoy it more in a traditional setting. :)
Thanks SimplyJenW. You changed my mind about this one.
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Continuing to punch my card of H&S teas I have not tried, thanks again to SimplyJenW who made this possible. Announcement follows: Here ye, I am now an official fan of honey flavored teas. I love the blend of black tea and the taste of honey. I have not met an Assam I did not like, I think this is my first Kenyan tea, my only reference was they produce wonderful coffee. The Ceylon levels it a bit. It is very good, but I think the Tower of London still has a hold on me.
Thanks to SimplyJenW, I was able to give this a try today. It is appropriate to me that a tea named for the city of light lights would be bright and clear. I have been wanting to try this and compare to Tower of London, a new favorite, and there are some things they share yet still have personalities of their own. The fruit seems to me to be a little more forward in Paris, the black tea base is the same in both I suppose. The honey in TOL overpowers the other flavors. (not a problem with me, mind you) but Paris is a little lighter and more subtle. I think some have called this “Tower Light” and that is my take as well. While writing this it is cooling a little and the caramel notes are coming through. They were hidden when it was first steeped. All considered, I really like this, find it a close relative of TOL, and yet ANOTHER Harney & Sons Tea I enjoy.
No meh for me ya’ll :)
Another sample from QuiltGuppy afforded the opportunity to try this. It was everything I hoped for. A rich black tea, light fruit essence, and a smackerel of honey. I doubt Pooh ever had it this good. H&S is still batting 1000 with me. Their teas are excellent.
After hearing some discussion on Osmanthus Oolong, and a small gift from QuiltGuppy, I was able to have a cup of this today. It has all the qualities I like in an oolong. Silky feel, yellow liquor, that in between black and green flavor, joined with a very subtle hint of floral. The oolong base in this reminds me of some of the Milk Oolongs I have tried.
Thanks again QG, for allowing me this new and somewhat different tea experience.
(the sound of spoons tinking lightly against teacups)
Ahem, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby declare it “Royal Wedding” tea time.
Thank you for your attention to this fine blend. For more information, see previous notes.
Starting my day off with a cup of this. Such a fine tea and the longer I keep it, the better it becomes…
See previous note for more information.
As usual, thanks be to QuiltGuppy!
I have been saving this sample, courtesy of our friend QuiltGuppy. My mother has been in and out of the hospital the last two weeks, we got a good report this morning so it is time for something new and good! Eight at the Fort covers so many of my interests. It was originally blended for a historic meeting, one of the attendees was from my home state, and it is black tea (still my favorite.) I find this a little on the complex side, it is hard to tell the eight teas, they blend and fit together very well. Dry, it is a little on the long side for black tea. I think Darjeeling is there, that wine note jumps out. The maltyness of Assam is also easy to find. The color as noted, looks reddish like a Ceylon. I really like this, and I think it could be better than my previous beloved Prince of Wales from Twinings.
One review mentioned it is a contemplative tea, I think I will give that a try…
Second steep, I added a little leaf. The flavor has great depth, and I gave in to the subliminal messages of days past, discussions of cheese toast and mustard. The Queen pairs very well with a little rye toast, some cheddar and yellow mustard. “Pairs well” may not actually cover it. How about “incredible”, as I dip my last morsel in mustard, then follow it with a sip of tea. I have read that cheese toast was a treat for British sailors at sea. Hard to imagine a cold north wind from the Atlantic right now, but I understand how this was a desired meal. My first fresh peach of the season completed this wonderful little lunch. Long live the Queen!
As is the case for so many of us, I have to thank QUILTGUPPY for the chance to try this.
I love rich, full-bodied black tea. This blend is so smooth, yet it seems to have a little extra up it’s sleeve. You can tell that flavor is there, it just isn’t in your face.
I may try a little milk or cream with this just for effect, but it stands well on it’s own.
It is a beautiful golden elixir when steeped.
A keeper for sure!
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Keeping the peach theme going…yet another fix from QuiltGuppy, generous she is. The peach is there, but understated. The cream is faint. I am picking up a trace of smoke in the black tea base. I like smoke, but was caught off guard to find it here. I tasted three distinct times and it is there. Odd but good. Reading the peaches & cream label, I expected bold flavors. This is ok, nothing wrong with it, just not what I expected.
Ok, it is not quite midsummer, and I usually avoid anything decaf, but the peach in this one is very good, the black tea flavor is there as well and overall I like it.
Thanks be to QuiltGuppy.
Like Jenn, I have QuiltGuppy to thank for this. Also, like Jenn, today seemed like a good day for this. I love the delicate nature of this blend. It almost demands the best china to be used when serving. So I broke out an heirloom cup and saucer and made it my profile picture. That is Royal Wedding in the cup. (I did this days ago, but just felt inspired enough to log it)
I love the color of it after steeping, a rich gold in my cup. There is a hint of vanilla or maybe a note of honey. I agree with Jenn, the floral aspect is very light. This tea is formal, detailed, even complex, but wonderful. I can count the white teas I have tried on one hand, if they are all this good, I may be adding to the list!
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Home from work, dinner finished. Time to relax with a good book and some of this luxurious tea.
All I can do is blame it on QuiltGuppy. She got me to try it. I am not a decaf guy, I like the full effect nature has to offer, but it just doesn’t matter with this one. It almost makes you feel
guilty and grossly under attired while drinking it. I have visions of a butler, bringing it on a tray.
“your tea sir”
Yep, my tea alright. :)
I decided it was a Milk Oolong morning. QuiltGuppy is helping me (like many others) to expand my palate, so here goes. Pre-steep, it does smell more like margerine to me, not an authentic dairy or cream smell. Steeped, it smells more floral. The color of the liquid is very light, not far from clear water… There is a hint of milk and butter but far less than other Milk Oolongs I have tried. There is a bit of an aftertaste that lingers on the tongue.
not bad, but slightly unsettling. The smell of the 2nd steep is less floral, and includes a whisp of carmel. No change to the color, very light and clear. The tea comes through more on the second steep than the first. Still lacking and I have had better later steeps of good Milk Oolongs (4th, 5th, 6th etc) than the first one of this.
Staring my busy Saturday with this. QuiltGuppy started and has continued my love affair with this tea. I had a small sample a while back and since have tried some other cherry sencha teas. This by far is my favorite. The richness of the sencha with the light and delicate cherry flavor make it such a pleasure. The color and aroma are a spring bloom and renewal in the cup. While enjoying this, I also think of all the poor souls in Japan, who are still struggling from nature’s one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami and those who did not survive. A lot to consider in a little cup of tea…
One word for this one. Strange. It looks like a dehydrated backpack meal dry, steeped it looks like pink lemonade (odd tint for an oolong) and the taste is intensely…strange.
I steeped this in my french press, second steep looked like the waterpan from a Rainbow Vac but was more sedate than the first. I had trouble finding the oolong in this. I think maybe too many berries and things fighting for my attention. :(
It was drinkable, just a bit strange.
I am a fan of mint green teas, so this one is just the ticket. The chocolate notes are light, just barely there and that is fine with me because I am in for the mint and green. This steeps up pretty dark, looks more like an oolong but the green tea is there. After smelling this dry, it gives off exactly the same aroma while steeping. It is a very refreshing tea.
And what an exciting day, I got to add a tea that had not been reviewed!
PS Thanks to QuiltGuppy for another fine tea sample!
This is my third Genmaicha. My first came from the local Asian market (see earlier review), the second was at a local Japanese Habachi establishment. I beamed with pride as I told everyone around the table what was in the tea and it’s mythical origins. QuiltGuppy, my trusted partner in tea sent this to me. From my point of view, the description ATR gives is right on. The other two Genmaicha’s I have tried did overwhelm with the toasted and popped rice. This is a fine balance between the green tea and grain. The sencha is rich and stands up well. In my glass tumbler, the color is bright golden green, very appealing to the eyes. I am impressed, and look forward to this with something off the grill soon.
Thanks AGAIN QG.
Another interesting tea, courtesy of my good friend QuiltGuppy,
A fruit oolong, something out of the ordinary for me. This is very good. I can taste melon, both honeydew and water varieties. There is a bit of floral flavor and a hint of pear, although the description does not mention it. It is a darker oolong, almost amber and slightly roasted. This tea has a depth to it, not just taste on the surface, it seems to go down a few layers. Thanks QG, this is very interesting and delightful.
I also refused the bait and spared you all comments about forbidden things…fruit or otherwise. :)