58 Tasting Notes

79

I tried it as a sample. The operative words for this tea are smooth and inoffensive. Way to many young puerhs that I had tried were acid-like in their astringency and sourness and required the unfailing precision in their steeping time and temperature to be enjoyed. This Daily Drinker is the opposite: it is smooth and very forgiving.

The tasting profile is actually pretty typical for young shengs and not complicated at all -floral, cranberry, some honeyed sweetness – with the commendable long aftertaste. And oh, it is so smooth and hassle-free…

If I somehow got a cake of it I could certainly drink it and have a good time..may be even develop a certain craving for it… But, honestly, all I have is this sample and there are so many more interesting puers (or so I hope!) that I don’t think I will reorder. At least not until I went around and tried way many more shengs.

It is like having a girl next door that you grew up with: she is nice, not bad looking and has a pleasant personality but just does not excite you that much. You hope to go far and wide in the world, meet many different people, have one-in-a lifetime experiences… And it is quite possible that years later you would come back and learn to appreciate this less than flashy girl next door and build a lasting relationship – but not before then.

Well, in reality this girl will not become frozen in temporal amber and by then she will have kids and be on her second marriage. Luckily, teas are unlike girls and can patiently wait for you to return to them. So, I will probably return to this Daily Drinker sometime later and maybe reevaluate – but as of now I am marching forward to more shiny shengs!

Flavors: Cranberry, Floral, Grass, Honey

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86

What a nice surprise it was after a streak of quite forgettable Harney’s teas. This tea certainly has a very distinct fragrance and flavor profile. The aroma is very perfume-like but not in a bad, sickly- sweet way and over-the top way. There is some freshness and boldness in the smell.

The taste is also distinct. It is charmingly restrained (the bergamot is certainly not as bold as in the Harney’s Earl Grey Supreme) and the slight sourness of the grapefruit blends well with all of that bergamoty goodness. Also, the tea base is lighter than in other H&T flavored teas.

The end result is some understated sophistication without any pretentiousness, which actually befits its name. I am surprised that Diamond Jubilee is not as popular as, say Paris or Vanilla Comoro. Good job Harney and Sons.

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73

It is a decent Ceylon-type Kenyan tea. The aroma is clean, with woodsy and floral notes. The taste is brisk but not bitter: grass, green wood, flowers, biscuit, some hint of sweetness. But mostly green wood, to be honest: I had to strain to pick up other notes.

It is a solid, inexpensive choice for those who craves for a brisk jolt of caffeine in the morning but dislikes Assams. Also, this tea takes milk extremely well and is good for resteeping.

Now for negatives: it looks more BOP than OP to me and the taste is not interesting. Just passable. I think there are more enjoyable choices for a brisk morning tea.

Flavors: Grass, Green Wood, Sweet

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80
drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
58 tasting notes

I don’t know what’s the deal with Harney&Sons but all of their flavored teas taste like it’s the same tea with tiny variations. No offense, they are pleasant, the flavorings are not overboard, the smell is nice…but this Boston blend is essentially Vanilla Comoro with some cranberry tartness! And oh, it is also reminiscent of Paris.

In short: this tea is vanilla, chocolate and muted cranberry on the solid but thoroughly generic black tea base. And, by the way, I don’t think that these components blend particularly well, i.e. it is not Paris nor Hot Cinnamon Spice by any means.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad tea but I already tasted 90% of it before in other Harney teas and it is kind of disappointing. It ’s like a one-hit wonder band that keeps mercilessly milking their only hit by issuing endless remixes and unplugged versions. Me not happy.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cranberry, Vanilla

ashmanra

I think this blend is supposed to almond and cranberry. There shouldnt be any chocolate in it unless they changed it.

Bluegreen

Oh, I know there is no actual chocoaltae in it. It’s just what it tastes like to me. T get the same chocolate notes from Vanilla Comoro also. It could come from the underlying tea base. It’s just I am not a big fan of chocolate so I really notice anything that is similar to it.

ashmanra

Gotcha!

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85

This is one of the teas that is well known and has quite a following so I was looking forward to try it. I was impressed as soon as I opened the tin: the smell was fierce and, in a sense , primeval. The appearance looked very appealing and natural with the orange dust everywhere and large chunks of …oranges, I guess.

But after I made a cup of tea and took a sip I had to stop and instinctively take a big breath as if I was burned. The taste is incredibly intense, dripping with sweetness, cloves, citrus and cinnamon in megadoses. It takes more like a spiced apple cider on steroids: the tea itself gets absolutely overshadowed by everything else.

It is just way to intense for me and simply falls into a completely different category of drinks: whatever it is it is not tea as I understand it. I will probably need to drink it a couple of more times to let it grow on me but the problem is that I usually match a specific kind of tea with my mood at the moment and I am not sure I will have the mood befitting this concoction with any frequency. Quite possibly, this tea reminded me that I am more of a steady, puttering-along type of a person unlike living in the fast lane fiery personalities for whom this tea was so obviously created.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Orange, Sweet

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86

I needed some inexpensive pleasant teas for everyday drinking (to save money for pricier Chinese teas) and Vanilla Comoro turned out exactly what I was looking for. It has a cheerful flavor of vanila and chocolate that brings to mind desserts, cakes and other yummy goodness. Both the aroma and the taste is not overwhelming but rather subdued and feels very unprocessed and “natural”. And that characterizes a lot of other Harney’s teas like the ever reliable Paris.

This tea takes milk and sugar well and has a pleasant lingering aftertaste. Not a tea for slow sipping and obsessive gaiwaning in a search to bring out different notes of its complex taste, but a reliable and cheerful flavored pick-me-up. In short, a winner.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla

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75

I really like the Premium Golden Monkey tea and this, the regular version of the Golden Monkey has pretty strong review on Steepster, so I my expectations were high.

Meh – a surprised but emphatic meh. This tea simply lacks the balance and refinement of its premium counterpart in taste. The golden buds seem to be completely lost and underwhelming, while the black tea part assaults you with harshness and unrefined boldness. The smell is meh as well. Given that the price of the premium version is only $3 higher per 100 grams I see no reasons whatsoever to buy the regular Golden Monkey from Teavivre.

I even stopped after only two gaiwan infusions and had no desire to continue and finish the tasting, which is very unusual for me. Luckily, it was a free sample that came with my order and I don’t have to force myself to invent a mood that would call for this tea in order to finish the remaining 45- 95 grams. That’s why I never buy a tea I have not previously tried in any quantity but a sample regardless of dazzling reviews and beguiling discounts.

ashmanra

About five or six years ago, Harney and Sons posted in the description on their site that the current harvest of GM was not as sweet as the previous year due to a drought in the area. I have never seen that with another tea, and wonder if this particular type is especially affected. Perhaps this is just a lesser harvest, while the earlier ones were sweeter or more full-bodied? I generally buy the Premium Golden Monkey, too.

Bluegreen

You are very likely to be onto something. In my experience, even lower grades of Teavivre teas are usually quite drinkable and frequently offer interesting different profiles from the premium ones (e.g., I really like the boldness of their Second Grade Keemun. That’s why this Golden Monkey was such a disappointment for me.

But in any case, their Premium Golden Monkey is so good that I will leave this mystery unsolved and just stick with it.

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86

I drink a lot of tea throughout the day. In the morning, afternoon and before going to bed. At home, at work, in the car, on the train. With food and without, paying attention to each sip and waft and mindlessly sipping while absorbed in something else.

And I prefer pricier Chinese teas, which inevitably creates a financial problem. So, I devised aclever plan: drink expensive teas only on occasions when I can give them my full and undivided attention (practically meditate over their fragrance, taste and feel) while at any other time be content with consuming pleasant, interesting but less complex and certainly less expensive kinds. Incidentally, doing that would free up some money to buy even more expensive tea for special sessions…well, maybe this plan is not so clever after all but whatever.

As a result, I stocked my cupboard with a lot of teas from Harney and Sons: they are of decent quality but really inexpensive – plus H&S have the unlimited US free shipping and there is always some kind of a coupon floating around .

Their Panyang Congou falls firmly in my targeted category of cheap and pleasant teas. There is not much of a fragrance in both dry and wet leaves (some hay and apricot) although the leaves look quite reassuring: large, unbroken, with quite a bit of golden tips.

The taste is clear and pleasant if not very complex: smooth malt, hay, floral sweetness, and some roast. The first impression is reminiscent of Mao Feng Keemuns – only without their requisite bite. It is important to steep it for shorter periods of time as its flavor easily becomes generic and unbalanced with oversteeping. In the subsequent infusions the nuttiness appears and takes the front stage.

So, in short, this tea gave me exactly what I looked for – a smooth, pleasant and inexpensive Chinese red for mindless sipping while doing something else. Good stuff.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Hay, Malt, Nuts, Roasted, Smooth

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91

Now, this is a great tea in almost every aspect. It looks stunning, with the long wiry leaves and golden tips. The dry leaves have a complex fragrance: flowers, honey, pepper, peach, apricot. And it tastes great too, with honeyed sweetness, flowers and something that I can describe only as dust of centuries. The dust that accumulates on old books that assumes the smell of the past, of the things that happened long, long time ago before your time.

It is just a perfect evocative tea for a special kind of mood: remembrance, contemplation, introspection. Everybody needs it once in a while.

Flavors: Apricot, Dust, Flowers, Honey, Peach

ashmanra

This is one of my favorites to serve to guests who have never had “good” tea. They are amazed to find tea that tastes like tea but without any bitterness or astringency. This is a real champ for guests.

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72

I am not a big fan of Assams at all. But I am trying to keep an open mind and be ready to be surprised and converted. Not by this tea, though. It has a very nice dry leaf appearance: large leafs, some gold in color. Smells of sweetness, vanilla, berry and spices, i.e. good. But the taste is quite predictable and uninspiring. A lot of bite and bitterness, a typical middle-of-the road Assam. Kind a forgettable tea, to be honest.

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I like to drink teas to recreate a specific mood, or just to take a break at work. The world of tea is so endless, patiently waiting for exploration and rewarding you in many ways big and small.

I am looking forward to years of playing with tea leaves, gaiwans, cups, and YouTube videos.

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