248 Tasting Notes

60

If I’m brutally honest…I find this tea to be harsh and coarse. There is nothing subtle about it; no nuances to its flavor other than a slight metallic tang that might signal some Ceylon tea in there, somewhere. Looking at the tea in the teabag, this one is designed to infuse hard and fast…the “leaves” are more a dust than broken leaf bits; and the ingredient list? “black tea, black tea extract”. I think the latter is code for the caffeine in the “50% more caffeine” claim. From a tea lover’s point of view, I can’t recommend this one. However! if you’re looking for a way to get your caffeine fix in the morning and coffee isn’t your choice, this will do the trick.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

I am not a big fan of Assam and only so-so for Keemun. I normally find them harsh and a bit bitter. Keeping that in mind, I cut the steeping time to about 2 minutes…the time it takes me to fill my cup with hot water and amble back to my desk at work. The full name of this tea is “Malachi McCormick’s Decent Tea” and it lives up to its name. Brewed to a red/black deep in the mug, this tea is robust, with a woody flavor; as expected, it does not have the tannic, citrus notes of a Ceylon. It still has the body of an Assam, but it is being mellowed, significantly, by the Keemun. I am drinking this as a wake-up, early morning tea and it is serving its purpose well.
1/18 – revisiting this review as it has been nearly 3 months (so says Steepster) and, more importantly, 2/3’rds of my can of this tea is gone. Looking back on my initial impressions, I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, I’m going to bump my rating by a few points. This tea sits on my desk at work and is my default morning “at work” tea. That is not to say that it is every day, I have other choices, just that it is currently the default when nothing else strikes my fancy.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90
drank Amba Thieves by Harney & Sons
248 tasting notes

“Thieves Tea”…yep, looks like they swept it up off of the trading floor, seriously. There are what look to be broken bits of leaves, stems, and maybe a bit of bark. Looking closer, I see bits of leaves from green to brown to predominately black.
That aside, its a great cup of tea. It’s very generic and I don’t pick up a clear Ceylon or India regional flavor. I brewed my first cup conservatively, as reflected below, but I suspect that this tea can take a lot of abuse, because of its generic flavor.

Flavors: Tea

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92

I am sure I’ve reviewed this tea before, but I tried something different this time. Long story short, our Keurig died after a long (5+years) life and my wife rushed out to replace it that evening (coffee addict that she is). I picked up one of the Keurig brand brewing baskets (that thing you use for your own coffee or loose tea) and a Keurig brand, 32oz carafe. I filled the basket with probably 2 tblspoons of HCS tea…about 2/3 full, and made a full pot of tea through the Keurig. OMG! way to much tea! I ended up with the most intense cinnamon tea you’ve ever seen, so cloudy with cinnamon. So sweet that you almost (almost!) couldn’t drink it. Liquid Red-Hots candies. I cut it 50% with plain water and drank the whole pot.
What?! I didn’t say it was bad, just liquid candy :)
Lessons learned: the Kuerig worked well, the carafe kept it hot all morning, HCS is still fantastic, start smaller with the experiments!

Flavors: Cinnamon

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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80

This listed on the package as a “double bergamot…very robust” tea and it doesn’t lie. I can usually get two steepings out of a portion of these leaves, it is strong enough and “in your face” with the bergamot that a quick first cup brew will leave you satisfied and enough left in the leaves for a second brew that is just a good, if a little less “in your face” about it.
Otherwise it’s based on a good, if not remarkable, base tea.

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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70

This tea has a toasty, fired flavor to it. Almost burnt if you let it steep too long. Not smokey though. More of a cocoa than dark chocolate flavor, has an edge that is nicely smoothed by a bit of honey.

Flavors: Cocoa, Roasted, Tannic, Toasty, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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33

I’ve been trying to save this tea – save it from the trash can. I think I’m going to fail. The flavoring of this tea is so off that I can’t come up with a good explanation. Think citrus oil and turpentine…something is horribly wrong. I’ve had this tea for several months and knew it was a problem from opening the can the first time. The wave of chemical smell was intense. I tried it anyway and got chemical taste. I have let it sit, open to the air, for two months now, All I can say is “at least my desk area doesn’t smell like solvents any more”. I’ve just shaken the can, moved the satchets around…its still there.
Pass on this one.
Edit: went back in history and found an old review of English Earl Grey (Blue Knight Special) by TeaFountain that I did a few years ago. This one reminded me of the Blue Knight Special.

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

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
248 tasting notes

This was a Christmas gift two years ago and I’m just about to the bottom of the can. Don’t read much into the timeframe though, it sat, sealed up, on my shelf for the first year. This is a good wet weather tea, hot and spicy. The primary spice flavor is the clove, but it is naturally sweetened by the cinnamon. Over all, a very good warm you up brew.
I have the satchet version

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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90

I have this tea in my camping box…I bought it years ago on a trip to London and I’ve kept it nice and dry ever since. It is Intense, like a really good English Breakfast on steroids…A really good Intense. I take it camping because it can make any water palatable and it has the OMG wake up in the morning effect :)

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85
drank Black Dragon Pearl by Teavana
248 tasting notes

Finished the bag off today…finally. Don’t read the negative into that statement; its more a testament to how many of those little pearls it actually takes to make a half pound of tea. I’m sure you can read about the woodsy cocoa flavors elsewhere, I’ll just say that this is a nice bold tea that you won’t confuse with a flower shop. Good stuff.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Profile

Bio

I remember when I discovered that there was more to tea than hot or iced. I was given a loose tea sampler (M.T.W.) and a stainless steel tea ball as a Christmas gift many years ago. That was the start of what will be a life-long love of fine tea. I discovered Steepster from a blog entry on the Mark. T. Wendell website…and have, from Steepster, discovered even more fine teas and vendors. I decided to post my thoughts in the hope that others discover a good, fine tea.

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Austin, Texas

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