drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
59 tasting notes

Cteresa was so kind to send me a sample of this tea. It wouldn’t have been my choice as I generally only drink (or rather drank) black flavoured teas, but as she suggested it and I wanted to step a bit out of my box, I agreed.

I’m not sure that was an altogether happy choice :-)

This really is a far lovelier tea than I would have expected based on it’s discription. It is smooth, sweet and malty and has hints of chocolate and a very slight smokiness. I think this was my first (conscious) taste of a chinese black tea (blend) and it tasted like more.

So why aren’t I happy? Well I just have one tsp of sample left and after that I’ll have to do without. I’ve only seen two places where I can order this tea, that’s at the US based Harney website or the Dutch importer. From the US website I can order a single tin, but shipping costs are some $ 34,- (about 5x the tea itself). The Dutch importer is prepared to send the tea free of shipping charge, but it can only deliver the tea in 1 kg packages… That’s a bit much considering that I like to drink a variety of different teas.

So now I know this really affordable black blend staple and I’ll have to do without…. On the upside, it has put me on the path to explore more straight black chinese teas :-). Presently I’m happily awaiting the arrival or my ‘little black tea adventure’ from tea-adventure.com (which I just ordered yesterday, so won’t be arriving for another fortnight).

BTW: how do you guys make bold typing?.

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What to say about myself and my tea drinking habits? I’ve been staring at the screen, reading other’s bio’s and still can’t come up with something worthwile. I’ll just stick to the basics.

I generally prefer white, green and oolong teas to black teas. As I read a scientific report that stated that black teas lower the level of stress hormones in the blood, I try to add a few cups of black tea every day.

Overall I prefer black teas to be flavoured. The white, green and oolongs may be flavoured or straight.

I brew my teas per cup, mostly in my – much loved – Kati mug with Cha Cult strainer. I’m rather a stickler for brewing time and temperature, so I use a tea timer and watercooker with temperature indication.

I also love a good cup of coffee and especially cappuchino. As far as I’m concerned, a good cappuchino requires a real milk/foam topping, not something made with skimmed milk, powder or the like. Unfortunately a lot of cafes still haven’t caught on to that one and serve low quality coffee and tea (type vending machine and bagged fannings). I hate it when, on a cold winter day, the choice is restricted to bad coffee, bagged fannings or a cold softdrink… :-(

As for rating teas, I more or less make the following distinction:

Nothing is perfect. Probably won’t be using it ever.

98 – 99:
Nearly too good to be true.

90 – 97:

80 – 89:

70 – 79:
Good. May rebuy depending on price and availability.

60 – 69:
Ok I’ll finish the cup and maybe even have a second, but probably won’t finish the entire package as I have other – (far) better teas in my cupboard.

< 60:
I feel cheated. I won’t ever be buying this again.

< 50:
This really is no good.

< 30:
I hate this. I want my money back.

Beyond horrible!

PS: Recalibrated my ratings according to this index on 23 feb 2013.


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