9 Tasting Notes


Eight at the Fort by Harney & Sons is a bold, straightforward black tea. Paired with heavier foods, e.g. Chicken Gorgonzola and Pesto Tortellini, the tea’s flavor profile did not get lost in the palate. Instead, the complex yet pleasing blend of Yunnan, Assam, Keemun and others complimented the food well.

My surprise came in preparing Eight at the Fort: the 5-minute steep time was ideal. I also enjoyed this tea with a very rich tiramisu, so I drank it sans cream and/or sugar. It’s a tea that adds sensibility to indulgence.

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Sweet Love’s spicy aroma pulls you closer and your tastebuds anticipate the ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and pink peppercorn setting them ablaze. Yet, the liquorice roots add a smooth and very sweet layer to this chai’s flavor profile that needs no additional sweeteners.

For those chai stalwarts who prefer spicy to sweet, Sweet Love is exactly what its name implies. This black tea pairs excellently with dessert and definitely adds a romantic air to its atmosphere (read: keep used leaves as potpourri).

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This is the go-to tea if you must focus on tedious tasks, i.e. Microsoft spreadsheet data consolidation. The amber liquor will cheer you and banish any lingering thoughts of monotony. Although some may prefer this with sugar, for me it’s perfect without it.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This flavored black tea has a nice balance of tanginess and sweetness. Thankfully, it avoids the usual traps: it is neither syrupy sweet nor annoyingly fruity. It is a tea that could be enjoyed all day.

205 °F / 96 °C

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This rooibos is my new secret weapon for converting avowed coffee drinkers. The flavor is naturally sweet and the actual pumpkin pieces add color and interest. However, it is not overly sweet as some dessert teas can be.

For beginners, Pumpkin Cream is ideal and silences all types of objections (i.e. caffeine-free, antioxidants, suitable for children, etc.). On top of that, it’s DELICIOUS. So, I’ll plan to keep plenty stocked.

Boiling 7 min, 15 sec

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This tisane, first of all, is aesthetically pleasing: the rose petals, chamomile, and lemon myrtle are fragrant before water is even added. Once added, then the decision becomes whether to drink or to just inhale. Of course I did both. Relaxation ensued promptly.

However, I wouldn’t drink this herbal unless my bed was in close proximity (read: sleepy).


I’ve been looking for a loose version of ROT’s Get Relaxed!:)

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Drinking Teas Etc.’s Plum Blossom Oolong was the liquid equivalent of biting into a ripe, juicy fresh plum minus the pit. Prepared gongfu style and served in oolong sets (aroma and drinking cups).

First infusion – (Aroma) Amazingly sweet, it intensified as it cooled. The liquor had a student from Colorado opined that it tasted “like hiking in the woods after it just rained.”
Towards the back of the tongue, there was also a slight bite that reminded me of a plum’s tart skin.

Second infusion – Full, fruity flavor filled the whole palate. Among those sharing, this infusion was the favorite. The students remarked about how widely the flavor ranged between infusions.

Third infusion – Light, subtle yet lasting fruity aftertaste. This infusion sealed the flavor profile in the memory. At this point, students wanted to know more about oolongs in general and this oolong in particular. The complexity of this oolong is impressive.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This sounds amazing! Love the preparation notes. Thanks for sharing.

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Lavender Lemon Chiffon’s taste is just as delicious as its aroma: a full, mellow rooibos with calming lavender and lemon myrtle. This caffeine-free, naturally sweet tisane requires no milk or sugar. Served hot and received rave reviews from non-tea drinkers (yes, they will be converted soon).

“Chiffon” accurately describes the mouth-feel because this tisane is a light, refreshing yet satisfying brew.

Boiling 8 min or more

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Tea history, customs and culture captivate my attention and I share thoughts about bringing civility back to ‘civilization’.


Philadelphia, PA



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