drank Sally's Secret by Harney & Sons
1248 tasting notes

I’m a sucker for anything roses, and the idea of rose + Earl Grey seemed interesting to me. It works with lavender so why not rose?

The roses sure make the tea look pretty. :-) The contrast between the dark tea and the pinky/red rose petals is lovely. It reminds me a little of a fancy dress for a little girl, dark velvet with tiny pink rosettes.

I don’t smell rose in the sample pouch, though. This makes me wonder whether that means the rose is decorative only? I just finished trying the Upton Earl Grey Blue Flower where that was true, so I suppose it is possible. I do smell bergamot in the dry tea, and I do smell something else, but I can’t identify it.

I think I may be getting some rose fragrance in the aroma of the tea, but perhaps it is just wishful thinking. The bergamot isn’t at all strong. The tea smells mild and slightly sweet.

As I drink, I get a rose note in the aroma. It isn’t very strong at all, but it is pretty. It is harder to identify in the taste, but I do believe it is there around the edges of the sip. I had expected it to be stronger, but now I’m thinking maybe the reason it isn’t is because it wouldn’t work that way? When I tease out the rose in the aroma and the flavor, I can also get a hint of how easy it would be for a stronger rose to overpower everything else at work in this tea, and how having to increase the bergamot would lead to escalating the rose flavor and so on until the end result was mutual assured destruction.

So it’s subtle. But I think it is because it has to be, not because of a failing in the blend. As with the Upton Chocolate Earl Grey, I really like the idea of this tea. The question I need to answer for myself is whether for my own palate it’s too subtle to be worth it, and I’m not ready to answer that yet. Even as I write this, I’m tasting the rose a little more as the tea cools, and the more I taste it, the more the answer leans toward yes.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Phew, glad my taste buds aren’t broken! I hope SOMEONE has figured out a way to balance rose and bergamot…


Yeah, it really does sound like a great idea, too good for it not to be able to work.

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Phew, glad my taste buds aren’t broken! I hope SOMEONE has figured out a way to balance rose and bergamot…


Yeah, it really does sound like a great idea, too good for it not to be able to work.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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