Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
So, I’m stuck at a weeklong youth retreat for a position I’m about to leave. I find this situation infuriating. Fortunately, I managed to carve out some time for a morning gongfu session. I know I don’t do a ton of Keemun, but this was really nice.
Obviously, I gongfued this tea. My current setting wasn’t ideal (I had to set up shop in a dormitory room), but I managed. I did not conduct a rinse due to the limitations of my surroundings. I started by steeping approximately 5-6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the initial infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of chocolate, plums, and leather. After infusion, I detected emerging malt, brown toast, smoke, roasted nut, and wood scents. In the mouth, I discovered intriguing notes of dark wood, brown toast, cream, plums, smoke, roasted nuts, chocolate, and leather. Subsequent infusions allowed the nut impressions to separate. I began to pick up roasted almond, hickory, and black walnut. I also began to detect sorghum, pine, cedar, black cherry, apricot, minerals, and roasted grain. The later infusions were dominated by minerals. There were, however, lingering touches of wood, smoke, leather, sorghum, and nuts.
I know it is not exactly the season for strong black teas, and as previously mentioned, my setting did not lend itself to a gongfu session, but I found this to be a very nice tea regardless. The Keemuns from Harney & Sons seem to enjoy a good reputation, and after trying this tea, I can certainly see why. I would have no problem recommending this to anyone looking for a flavorful black tea.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Dark Wood, Grain, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Walnut
This is the closest approximation to my favorite tea from Alaska. It’s not quiet the same as my Samovar Tea from Kobuk, but it certainly curbs my cravings and makes me smile.
It’s very rich and flavorful. It warms you up like drinking a hot cider and the orange and clove provide a sweet balance to the heat of the cinnamon. No need for added sugar or milk as it is wonderful on its own. Definitely one to maintain in my cupboard.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Orange
I am a lover of mint juleps. While this tea isn’t quite the same as a julep, it does have a refreshing taste and fragrance that helps take the edge off of the summer heat. I tried hot and cold. It was fine both ways but with the warm weather, I especially enjoyed this tea chilled. The spearmint flavor really comes through. The tea it self is almost the consistency of a matcha, so be careful with the infuser. If you like spearmint, you won’t be disappointed. Prior to this I was buying McCormick and Bigalow’s Plantation Mint. This is far better than McCormick and while PM was’t a bad tea, the Harney’s blend is easily my favorite.
In fact, I think this will end up being one of my summer favorites, besting Harney’s Black Currant and Organic Coconut iced teas.
My favourite earl grey ever. I initially got the tea sachet version, but that led to over-caffeination on my part. After I found my perfect steeper (from David’s Tea), I bought a tin of loose leaf and never looked back.
Distinct notes of bergamot, this black tea literally warms the soul. It’s my go-to cheer up drink for those dreary mornings. I usually have it with some full cream milk.
Flavors: Bergamot, Earl Grey
I think everyone knows that I love Dong Ding oolongs by now. I do not drink them all that often, but when I do, I really get into them. I reviewed Harney & Sons’ Dong Ding Light a couple months ago, and while I liked it, I was not entirely blown away. I held off on reviewing this one as a result. I now wish I had not done that.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of butter, char, nectarine, peach, wood, and osmanthus. After the rinse, I began to note aromas of honey, lilies, magnolia, and petunia. The first infusion allowed a subtle cream aroma and a hint of grass to emerge. In the mouth, I noted a unique blend of cream, butter, osmanthus, nectarine, honey, peach, lily, and magnolia notes balanced by hints of char and wood. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas and flavors of yellow plum, apricot, lemon zest, candied orange peel, minerals, grass, hay, and vanilla. The later infusions were heavy on mineral, grass, hay, butter, cream, wood, and candied citrus notes underscored by ghostly impressions of flowers, honey, nectarine, and apricot.
The whole time I was drinking this oolong, I kept thinking it was odd that it reminded me of a really good Gui Fei. I then discovered that this particular tea was allowed to oxidize longer than many Dong Ding oolongs before the heavy roast was applied. The tea’s unique fruity and floral character was a direct result of this treatment. This tea also displayed a very light, smooth body despite its complexity, and as a result, was incredibly approachable and easy to drink. At this point, I cannot say much else than Harney & Sons knocked it out of the park with this one. It was not what I was expecting, but it was fantastic!
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Char, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Honey, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Plums, Vanilla, Wood
It’s Saturday and I’m still cleaning out the backlog. I finished the last of a sample pouch of this tea yesterday morning and I’m just now getting around to posting a review. For whatever reason, I could not motivate myself to do anything after getting home from work yesterday. Anyway, this was a nice CTC Assam. If you are the sort of person who enjoys strong, malty breakfast teas, this one should be right up your alley.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions. Just to be clear, you do not have to steep this tea that long. I prefer CTC teas to be very rich, brisk, tannic, and astringent, so I utilize a longer infusion. One can still get good results out of a 3-4 minute infusion with this tea.
Prior to the infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a mildly malty aroma. After infusion, I picked up aromas of brown toast, malt, caramel, leather, molasses, and nuts. In the mouth, the tea liquor was lively and astringent, offering robust notes of caramel, molasses, leather, wood, black walnut, hickory, brown toast, cream, and malt underscored by hints of dark chocolate and brown sugar. The finish offered a swell of malt, cream, toast, caramel, and molasses.
In a separate session, I also tried this tea with a little 2% milk added. It completely transformed. The liquor remained strong, but the astringency all but disappeared. The tea’s woodier, toastier, nuttier qualities took a backseat while the caramel, brown sugar, molasses, cream, dark chocolate, and malt came forward.
I greatly enjoyed this CTC Assam. If you have had teas of this type before, this one will likely not surprise you in any way. For what it is, however, it is very nice. As a breakfast tea, it really hit the spot.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Toast, Caramel, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Nutty, Tannic, Walnut, Wood
FYI if this is your kind of tea, Harney’s has it for appx. half price right now. I am learning that I am a black tea lover at heart. That being said, this is a nice tea for when you have had your quota of back tea but still want a tea drink. I can taste the orange but it is not the main note. The green tea/marigold seems to dominate. For me, a touch of sweetener brought out the orange. It was pleasant but not the show stoppers goji and black currant were for me. Not something I wold normally buy in large quantities for me (a sample or tag-along 5 pack would be enough for me) but getting the canister on sale enables me to share with my green tea loving friends and add another pretty tin to the Harney collection.
They always get me with the pretty tins :)
Flavors: Flowers, Green, Orange
I received a sample pouch of this and decided to give it a try. I liked this so much more than the organic citrus ginkgo that I tried yesterday!
I brewed this as directed (2 cups water at 212 degrees for 15 minutes before added 6 cups of cold water) and was impressed with its refreshing flavor.
You get a definite berry taste along with a black tea flavor that makes it self known but does not overpower the brew. This tea takes sweetener and a dab of creme very well. I haven’t tried it hot yet (I have a sample of the the plan old black currant blend waiting) but I don’t see why it wouldn’t taste as good hot as it did cold.
It doesn’t beat out Irish breakfast or Harney’s Royal Palace as my favorite black tea blends but with 109 degree weather expected here on Sunday, I can see stocking up on this for those hot summer days.
Flavors: Black Currant
My last Harney order included this sample and my curiosity got the better of me today.
Drank this about 90 minutes ago and my tummy is still gurgling. Could just be that I drank this after having 2 cups of Nina’s Grand Amour and my body is on tea over load but I was also less than impressed with the flavor.
This was my first taste of a tea containing ginkgo, so the taste maybe fine for people that like it.
Someone else mentioned that the citrus flavor was almost and after taste and I would have agree. A grassy flavor seemed to be the min note.
I used the one big bag in the sample and steeped it for 15 minutes in 2 cups of water. I added 6 cups of cold water after ward, just as the instructions …well… instructed.
I tried on its own and with some sweetener (which did bring out more of the citrus flavor) and creme (which makes everything drinkable in my world).
Still have 4 cups of tea left and I am tempted to cut my losses and dump it. The flavor is just too grassy for me.
Maybe after my tummy settles I will give another try.
Flavors: Citrus, Grass, Herbs
Oolong and I aren’t the best of friends. I just haven’t found many that I enjoy.
I was very pleased to have received a few Harney & Sons oolong samples from a teapal. Most of them didn’t sound or smell like something I’d enjoy because I don’t care for overly floral teas. That said, the description and tasting notes of this tea sounded too good not to try.
It’s really quite nice. The peachy aromas in the dry leaf and in the steeped cuppa were just lovely and so comforting. This tea is very light but has noticeable flavors of honey and peaches. It’s also got a bit of a buttery note which I don’t normally care for in tea, but it’s so faint that I don’t mind.
It’s turned out to be a nice cuppa for a mid-morning pick me up as I work on grant proposals. I’ve got enough in my little sample pack to sip through a few more cups, and I’ll be enjoying every one of them.
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Peach
If you like cherry this one is a great tea to try. Cherry …maybe a black cherry …is the dominate note in this blend. As it cools there seems to be a slight after taste of alcohol…subtle…maybe like some sort of fruit liquor.
Cream gives it smoother, less fruity, flavor. A nice after dinner tea.
Flavors: Alcohol, Cherry
Surprisingly light and refreshing . Just the thing for a late spring or early summer afternoon. I think I prefer it iced but it was very flavorful hot. The grapefruit favor dominates but without any bitterness, as the vanilla fives it a smooth, creamy after taste.
Adding sweetener gives the tea a general citrus flavor as opposed to the distinctive grapefruit flavor it has plain. It took a dab of creme well but I wouldn’t put more than that in (my dab is between 1/2 and a full teaspoon). The creme made the flavor smoother but more creme could easily drown out the fruit flavor.
This is my second white tea sample and it makes me anxious to try more.
Flavors: Cream, Grapefruit, Vanilla
I like this as much as I like the Tower of London and Florence blends. This is a wonderful tea! Full bodied and brisk, it takes creme and sweeter splendidly. The honey and chocolate flavors blend in a way that tastes a lot like molasses. It was great hot first thing in the morning but it was also delicious iced in the afternoon.
It didn’t me the kind of caffeine joint Irish Breakfast does but this tea is definitely brisk and a great addition to the morning routine.
Flavors: Apricot, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Molasses
Very brisk tea. It rests on the edge of bitter without crossing over. Malty enough that it makes me think of Harney’s Dorchester blend. It’s a good, solid tea probably best for the morning. It gives me the wake up kick of Dorchester or Irish Breakfast, though my preference is still IB.
It took cream well and as it cools the honey flavor blends in with the malt.
Flavors: Honey, Malt
Very silly old sample but I did enjoy it, despite the waning flavours. I think it would be tasty and I’d like to try it again sometime, which is why I’m logging it, even though I’m so so sick of the Harney teas I still have, like Boston and Tokyo and Tower of London. Note to self, never buy 4oz of any one tea ever again because you are a fickle, fickle lady.
Too bitter for me. I tried it iced alone, with Splenda, with more Splenda, and finally with Splenda and cream.
The cream helped with the the bitterness and I did taste the lemon through out but the grassy bitterness really made this an unpleasant tea for me. I think though that is because I prefer a lemon without thee herbs.
Harney’s makes great tea so if you don’t mind the herbs, you might rate this one significantly higher. For me, I Love Lemon would be my go-to blend if I wanted a lemon tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Lemon, Lemongrass
This is wonderful tea! If you like chocolate you have to try this. I almost didn’t because hazelnut was listed as one of the flavors and I am not a nut fan when it comes to tea or coffee. While the hazelnut is noticeable, it the smooth vanilla and chocolate notes that dominant this blend.
It was great on it’s own hot, it was heaven with my usual dab of Splenda and cream, and it reminded me of a smooth creamy iced mocha when I had it chilled later.
I haven’t had a mocha in years…not since I went low carb… this was such a wonderful treat. it would be perfection if it had just a touch of raspberry because my old signature summer drink was a white-raspberry-iced-mocha… but it was still thee best chocolate dessert tea I’ve tried so far.
I can’t say enough good things about the blend. It is brisk and full bodied. Full bodied enough that I could see having this occasionally as a morning blend. It’s not sugary sweet at all but it is another great alternative to a traditional dessert.
Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Vanilla
Very light tea that was perfect after dinner on a day that was in the 90’s. Refreshing and soothing. I tried it hot and chilled, with and without cream and sweetener. The vegetable taste is there no matter how you make it. It is a general veggie taste. I couldn’t get a good fix on a specific vegetable, nor the water melon rind flavor the maker says it has.
Maybe I need to eat more watermelon and then I could identify it???
While I still favor fruity or brisk blends over this, it is nice and I did enjoy it. No bitterness on either the first or second steeping. Just a smooth lightly flavorful blend. Not boring, either. I drank two 32 oz. steepings because I liked the flavor and really wanted to identify it better.
This tea has a distinctive roasted fragrance. That roasted note is also evident in the first sip of the tea. A dash of sweetener brings out a fruity flavor. If you like smoky, toasty blends this might be one for you. It is not a weak tea, but not the eye opener an Irish Breakfast tea is.
A bit of cream really turns this into a smooth roasted cup. The cream compliments the blend, as opposed to drowning out the flavor. The second cup was made with just a little cream and it too had a smooth, toasty cream flavor.
Going to try it iced in a bit.
A good solid tea. Not as fruity as I thought it would be, but maybe that will come over ice?
Just finished a glass of it iced. Not bad. The toasty flavor still comes through. The ice doesn’t water it down, it just blends it better with a little cream & sweetener. I think this could be a nice change of pace tea in the summer or with a meal. Not something I would keep as a main stay but something to get a sample of once in a while.
Flavors: Roasted, Toasty