The Earl of Harlem

Tea type
Black Tea
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Bergamot, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemon, Lime, Smoke
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Edit tea info Last updated by plasticdaffodils
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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21 Tasting Notes View all

  • “When I first saw the name of this one, I came up short. Whaaaaat? That’s an odd name for tea, thought I. Then….oh! Old World Haarlem! So Dutch tea which means probably a little...” Read full tasting note
  • “Tea of the afternoon….. I am a lucky girl. Russel at the Harney Tea shop graciously sent me some teas to try….a couple of the new Ambessa teas and some iced tea sachets. It is funny...” Read full tasting note
  • “A brand new set of teas in the shop! Chef Marcus Samuelsson cultivated this dark and mysterious tea with a touch of classic bergamot. Floral notes peak through the deep richness of the black tea. -RA” Read full tasting note
  • “I had a Matcha Fruit Smoothie this morning to get me going. Then made some nice hot black tea to take with me on my super crazy morning. Of course, I left it on the counter by the door. I promptly...” Read full tasting note

From Ambessa (by Harney & Sons)

This new take on an old classic adds an air of mystery to the traditional Earl Grey. A smoky, rich and fragrant black tea, The Earl of Harlem contains citrusy layers mixed with traces of bergamot and other floral aromas. For me, it’s home.
-Marcus Samuelsson

About Ambessa (by Harney & Sons) View company

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21 Tasting Notes

2215 tasting notes

When I first saw the name of this one, I came up short. Whaaaaat? That’s an odd name for tea, thought I. Then….oh! Old World Haarlem! So Dutch tea which means probably a little smoky with bergamot added! This made my mouth water, because honestly I have become a little disenchanted with some of my Earls and just don’t enjoy bergamot as much as I used to. The thought of bergamot with smoke, though….now I was drooling!

These are sachets, so I used my biggest mug, which isn’t very big by big mug standards but was about the right size for this. There MUST be some oolong in this (is that right, Russel?) because I have never seen black tea alone swell this much in a sachet. This is one DARK cup of tea! And oh joy, joy! This is a nice, fresh take on Earl that is definitely worth having on shelf.

The black tea base makes itself known very well, and it is a good base, too! I passed the cup around for all the teens to sniff. “Honeysuckle? Bread! Maybe a little chocolate? A little grain!”

I gave it a good, solid slurp like Michael talks about in his book. Is that the bergamot, or is there a little lemony Ceylon in this, too?

I drank mine plain, but this could easily handle milk and sugar if that was your bent. Don’t overlook this as just another Earl Grey. If you like Earl Grey tea, I think this one is with trying. I bet it would be great iced, too!

Edited to add: I decided to try it with sugar since that is how my daughter’s bf will probably drink it and I plan to send him some. I don’t usually add sugar, and personally I liked this better without it. The citrus and floral flavors are enough!

Then I iced the remaining sweet tea and…..OH YES! Very nice!

Further edited to add! – so I was wrong! I said the name perplexed me because I couldn’t think of a flavor that would be identified with Harlem in New York, so I decided it must be Haarlem and the famous smoky Dutch tea this was referring to. Well, it is probably both! The chef who designed this blend has a restaurant in Harlem! Definitely look up his bio. He seems like an amazing young man with an amazing life. Born in Ethiopa, contracted tuberculosis along with his sister and mother, adopted (his sister, too) after his mother died of the disease and raised in Sweden, taught to cook by what must have been an amazing grandmother, studied culinary arts in Sweden and France, and now has a restaurant in New York. These blends are even more special to me now, seeing all the things that each flavor encompasses for him! Bravo to your blends and your spirit! How inspiring!

Hesper June

Oooo! A smoky earl grey sounds delish!


Yes, not too smoky, not like a Lapsang, but almost like a rich Keemun in there? The sachet is so swollen now I wonder about oolong being in it. I should cut it open. And resteeps pretty decently, not as strong as the first cup of course, but still very drinkable!

Harney & Sons The Store

I haven’t narrowed down the exact tea blend quite yet. Flavored teas are tough. I know that there’s some Jasmine scents in there, which suggests pouchong. Also, there is certainly Keemun with a little bit of Lapsang. If you were to cut open the sachet, you’d see a lot of dark chinese leaf cuts, along with some stems, which to me suggest a formosa added to the blend. None of this is official, just my best guess from taking a look and sniff.

Jim Marks

I’ll have to look for this. It sounds like a great idea.

My “big” mug holds a full quart of liquid.

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985 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon…..

I am a lucky girl. Russel at the Harney Tea shop graciously sent me some teas to try….a couple of the new Ambessa teas and some iced tea sachets. It is funny on the iced tea sachets…I have always given them as gifts and never kept any for myself to try. Reviews of those will be up within the next week, as what else is there better to drink in this abnormally hot Summer we are having?

I have to admit, I was most excited about this tea, though. I love the subtlety in Harney’s Earl Grey blends….the perfect level of bergamot with the particular tea base of choice. I was very much drawn in by the mention of this being a smokey version of Earl Grey. Can we just say it is love at first sip? I wish I had tried more smokey Earls to compare this one, but then again, this will probably be the standard to which I compare all others. For comparing to other more standard Earls, the tea base is just heftier and more dark. I would even call it more mysterious and, of course, very lightly smokey. For some reason, I think this tea would be the perfect complement to a period mystery….. I definitely need some, but I think the tea base will lend itself better to cooler temps. Who am I kidding?….I bet I can’t hold off for more than a month.

Thank you, again, Russel for your generosity!

Usual mug method.

Have I mentioned how perfectly the Harney logo mugs go with my Forlife Curve teaware? They are the same mug as the tall infuser mugs! And it is a good way for me to have a few more cups to go with my infusers. Life is good.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

It is great, isn’t it? I am almost out of EGS, but I think I will be ordering this next instead.


It is great!

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161 tasting notes

A brand new set of teas in the shop! Chef Marcus Samuelsson cultivated this dark and mysterious tea with a touch of classic bergamot. Floral notes peak through the deep richness of the black tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

A new line? Exciting! Is it on the website yet?


This sounds great! I always look forward to what you guys will bring out next….

Harney & Sons The Store

This new line is not yet available on the Harney & Sons website. There is a chance we may be unable to sell it from there by contract. I haven’t yet been ‘briefed’ on how this line will be sold, but we do currently have it (minus the green) at the Millerton Shop and we can always do custom phone/email orders if needed.

I just added the other 3 varieties under the “Ambessa (by Harney & Sons)” company. I will post reviews once I can sit down for a real tasting.


And I literally ordered from the shop yesterday…..

Harney & Sons The Store

The Lingonberry Green won’t be in stock until sometime next week at the soonest, so you would have had to wait for that anyway.


Will this be available in the SoHo store?


This sounds AMAZING!


I saw these gorgeous tins on Pinterest … I’m very intrigued!


Oh, the lingonberry tea sounds amazing, too! I can’t wait to try some of these.


Well, I might just have to make the Millerton shop my “what I want to do” for my birthday thing! Not a bad birthday gift! :)

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169 tasting notes

I had a Matcha Fruit Smoothie this morning to get me going.
Then made some nice hot black tea to take with me on my super crazy morning.
Of course, I left it on the counter by the door.
I promptly grabbed a glass and filled it with ice and poured in my poor forgotten room temp. tea and drank it mere minutes after I got back home.
But, this is my first hot cup of tea today.
And a huge thank you goes out to Ashmanra for sharing this tea with me!
When I opened the envelope she sent it in, I could smell BERGAMOT!
But, after I opened the little baggy and grabbed out a sachet and schmushed it up to my nose (ahem, I promise if any of you ever come to my house, this IS NOT how I prepare tea for guests, Just wanted to clarify:) I could smell something else…spicy and a little hint of smoke.
A Spicy Exotic Earl…well, hell-O!
It sort of calms down, scent wise, when brewing.
Taste is not overly strong, a small citrus bergamot bite and a small amount of the smoke, but it is very faint.
I might not even notice it if I had not read the description before I tasted it.
Personally, I could handle a bit more bergamot and smoke in the tea, but overall a very nice cuppa for the afternoon.
Very happy you shared, Ashmanra!
Next time I do order from H&S, I just might have to pick me up a tin of this.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Glad you enjoyed it!

Hesper June

I did, Thank you:)

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871 tasting notes

I couldn’t resist picking up this smokey version of Earl Grey.

The dry tea sachet smells very strongly of Earl Gray/Bergamot. Very similar to Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme.

Brewed the tea smells of a very blunted Earl Grey, only slightly citrousy. The taste of the tea is slight Earl Grey with a smokey finish. This is a good tea, not too strong, but also not too weak. The smokey flavour works well with the citrous bergamot.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

How bergamoty is this? Lol


The dry tea smells very begamotty, like 9/10, but I would say the brewed tea tasted like a 2-3/10 maybe.


Do you want me to send you a sample :)


hmmmm that helps. these are in chapters so i might try it. sounds intriguing


haha i think i’m good on swaps for the time being lol. I just sent out 6? packages this weekend and i have 3 more that will be going out in the near future. Also…i totally expressposted yours lol so i technically have a tracking number for it hahaha


Thats where I got mine. Ha ha

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419 tasting notes

I had the pleasure of trying this out yesterday at the shop in Millerton. It was indeed a smokey take on the classic. I loved the hint of smoke and the light flavor of the bergamot, def. different and really nice to sip on while the rain came down in buckets outside! While I enjoyed it I didn’t pick any up to take home. No real reason for it, ok maybe the other 3 tins and lunch I bought was the reason…

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4846 tasting notes


I was excited to try this one. I like this twist on my classic favorite. Chef Marcus Samuelsson did my beloved Earl Grey proud.

It does have a smoky profile, but it’s not overtly smoky. It’s more of a gentle presence of smoke, and the smoke doesn’t interfere or block the wonderful bergamot tones which are also not overdone here. Not a soapy or cologne-y taste from the bergamot, just a tangy-sweet citrus note.

Very nice.

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828 tasting notes

Having a cup this morning, and since I anticipated the smokiness, it’s far less overwhelming. Also goes well with Biscoff cookies!


This is a lovely tea.

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564 tasting notes

This is one I specifically requested when I ordered a box from LiberTEAS, and she sent me two sachets. Thank you!

When I first smelled this I was a little scared, because it smelled a lot like the Lapsang Souchong I hated. Once it brewed, though, I got a lot more bergamot out of it. The taste is interesting. Definite bergamot and there are some honey and wood notes, but there’s a moderately strong smokiness throughout that puts me off. I’m starting to think that true smoked teas aren’t for me and I only like smoke flavors when they’re naturally-occurring. Still, I’m glad I got to try this one!

ETA: This is much better as it cools, and the fruit takes over the blend more. The smoke is still there and I’m sure that that’s what’s throwing this off for me, but it’s more manageable this way.

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414 tasting notes

When I opened the tin, I got fresh, crips bergamot. Brewed this up, and the bergamot is warmer now, mixed with tea and jasmine. Not getting much smoke in the scent.

First sip is bergamot first followed by jasmine. Not particularly smoky, though the base seems solid. I thought I smelt smoke when I walked into the kitchen to pick this up, but it was just my toast popping.

I think I’m getting a nuance of smoke in the aftertaste, though it might be a bite from the other flavours in the tea. It is a bit disappointing, I was hoping for a smokier blend (hmm, if not a lapsang or caravan base, why not keemun and bergamot…?). But it’s still a solid earl grey (even if I’m not a huge fan of jasmine in my earl).

I broke my promise not to buy any new teas until I’d slimmed down my cupboard. I picked up this after I’d crashed a new teashop that opened nearby (about 4-5 months ago) but which I hadn’t heard about until now (makes me feel out of the loop). It’s actually a very incredible little teashop (a lot of teashops have been popping up after Davids came to town—I like to refer to it as the “DavidsTEA Boom”—but this was a very modern-with-traditional-values shop. Gaiwans and yixings as far as the eye can see (which isn’t far because it’s a rather small space, but).

Both myself and the guy working the counter at the time were excited for this encounter. I guess more on that once I get around to reviewing the teas I picked up there.

As for this one. Harney and Sons likes to be deliciously subtle, they’re good at balance, and this is balanced, and definitely fills the craving for earl grey that I’ve been having recently. Fills that void in my earl greyless cupboard.

But I do wish it were a tad smokier. Maybe it’s there and the jasmine’s covering it. Hm.

Also’d like to try more earls with China bases.

Edit: As it’s cooled, I’ve been picking up a more prominent smoke in the base. Once it reached room temperature it was considerably more smoky; wish I could have enjoyed it more, but I had to rush out the door to class.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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