Harney & SonsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
The description of this sounded pretty intriguing, so though I already have H&S Earl Grey Supreme established here as my house earl grey, I sprang for a tin during the black friday sale.
How do the two compare?
1. I think Earl Grey Supreme is still technically the better tea. Something about it just tastes higher quality.
2. The Victorian London Fog is noticeably finicky to make. If you set a timer, you’ll be fine, but I have a bad habit of wandering off like a space cadet, and I appreciate teas that can be a little more forgiving.
3. Having said that all that, when it turns out right, the London Fog is really delightful. The light vanilla and lavender notes are a delicious accent to the earl grey. And there is a bit of nice cream flavor too.
I don’t think this tea is going to supplant the Earl Grey Supreme any time soon, but it’s well worth trying. And really when you think about it, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a back-up earl grey around ;)
Got this as a sample in my recent order. There were no notes that really jumped out at me in this tea — as the name suggests, it is kind of a general flavor of the season profile. A little spice, maybe a little citrus? Still it was a very cozy, pleasant tea with a well-matched base, and I wouldn’t at all mind having more.
This is a nice solid basic flavored tea. The tea base is smooth but strong. The flavor comes across almost a bit as coffee to me while this is hot, and as it cools I get more nutty chocolate from it. It would probably be a great dessert with milk and sugar, but on its own it is nicely chocolate without being sweet. I wouldn’t serve it to someone I was trying to wow, but I think it has nice solid broad appeal.
Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Nutty
It smelled so pretty, and looked pretty too. But not much in the flavor department. Brewed this at 180F in a 100 ml gaiwan. Did three infusions, but never got beyond a slight vegetal flavor.
Brewed the remaining sample western style, 2 tsps at 90C. Much better. Floral notes followed by creamy notes
What a tasty surprise!
Harney & Sons included a sample of this Holiday Tea in a recent order, and I love it. We have amassed quite a few samples, and sometimes I don’t feel like going through the effort to brew a pot (lazy, right?), so I’ll grab a sample tea bag. My wife doesn’t do caffeine after a certain time of the day, so when I held out the pre-Thanksgiving offerings, she snatched up an herbal, and I chose this from the remainder.
I’m not typically a fan of clove, but it’s so tastefully woven into the overall flavor of this tea that I was sad to see the bottom of the cup. The almond, cinnamon and citrus were just right to make this a great evening tea, and it would make a delicious dessert or conversation tea at any gathering.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove
I found this through a review in the Financial Times, in which the reviewers ranked it the third best Earl Grey tea on the market, behind a Harrods blend, and something from the Rare Tea Company. The scent and flavor of bergamot was pure and bright, while the tea itself was strong without being bitter. I believe H & S add some oolong to this blend, which possibly gives it a smoother flavor than an all-black blend.
Another sipdown for today. I used 1 tsp in 500 mL hottish water with soy milk. I don’t think Yunnan blacks or puerh go with milk at all, but I had half of a soy milk tetra pack to use on something.
anyway, the leaf has pretty golden streaks and smells very Earthy. It reminds me a lot of a puerh. Soil, Earthy minerals, leather, dry oak leaves/leaf litter, roasted barley, malt. It isn’t my favourite black tea, but it was nice to try. It is very distinctively a Chinese black, more specifically it does tasty like a Yunnan tea. There is such a huge difference between Chinese blacks and Indian blacks that they aren’t very comparable.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dirt, Earth, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Roasted Barley
I let this Harney sample sit for weeks because it’s a rare desire for a single cup of tea. Low or no-caff options, sure, but but caffeinated black tea.
Well worth the wait, this Assam was rich and flavorful. Deliciously malty with an edge of honey. I’m quickly becoming a fan of Assam tea, and this well-balanced variant is just right for any time of the day.
My collection was lacking a tasty decaf. Sometimes I want a warm and cozy cup of black tea, but also want to get some sleep. I’m glad I listened to the good reviews and picked up some of this!
I was nervous when I first opened the tin, since it smelled really sugary, and I thought it might have an artificial taste. It doesn’t have the chemically vanilla that I feared though, and the nice black tea flavor comes through strongly. It tastes sweet and desserty, but still real. I’ve been kind of moving away from flavored teas overall, but this is a tasty one. This tea has a noticeable vanilla flavor, but it still tastes like a proper cup of tea.
One thing I like about Harney & Sons is that they source a number of unique black teas from all over mainland China. This one, in particular, was produced from Anji bushes grown by monks in southern Zhejiang Province. In my mind, Zhejiang Province is synonymous with green tea (gunpowder, Long Jing, and the like), so a black tea from there was automatically going to pique my interest. I found this to be an exceptional black tea, almost as chocolaty as the Laoshan black teas I love.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent 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 rinse, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of dark chocolate, honey, and ripe plum. After the rinse, I found rather subtle aromas of black cherry, blueberry, mulberry, malt, wood, toast, and roasted chestnut. The first infusion brought out a hint of something like elderberry on the nose. In the mouth, I immediately found clear notes of dark chocolate, honey, malt, wood, toast, and roasted chestnut. Subsequent infusions brought out all of the fruit notes in the mouth plus notes of caramel, cream, marshmallow, orange zest, vanilla, and minerals. I could also pick up soothing, cooling herbal impressions after the swallow. The later infusions were very mild. I could just pick up lingering impressions of minerals, cream, marshmallow, wood, and malt with some even fainter dark chocolate and herbal notes.
On one hand, this tea faded very quickly, and I felt like I did have to ding it a little due to its lack of longevity. On the other hand, the earlier infusions were spectacular and the tea’s fade was quick, yet rather graceful. I kept going after I probably should have stopped simply because I enjoyed the texture and color of the mostly spent tea liquor. It’s also somewhat rare for me to find a traditional Chinese black tea that packs such tremendous amounts of flavor into the early goings of a session. Definitely try this one. In my opinion, this is one of the best unflavored black teas Harney & Sons currently offers.
Flavors: Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Plums, Toast, Vanilla, Wood
“Thieves Tea”…yep, looks like they swept it up off of the trading floor, seriously. There are what look to be broken bits of leaves, stems, and maybe a bit of bark. Looking closer, I see bits of leaves from green to brown to predominately black.
That aside, its a great cup of tea. It’s very generic and I don’t pick up a clear Ceylon or India regional flavor. I brewed my first cup conservatively, as reflected below, but I suspect that this tea can take a lot of abuse, because of its generic flavor.
After a questionable experience with Harney’s Big Red Sun (which I’m hoping was a prep issue), I thought I’d try another of their Kenilworth selections a shot. Good call.
This delicious and delightful Ceylon has such a pleasant aroma while steeping…I could hardly wait to get it in the cup. When I did, I was treated to mellow sips of toasted malt, honey and maybe an edge of cherry.
Glad I ordered more than a sample…