Experience buying from Harney and Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york
Age of leaf: Lot # 11193: puts ”production” at mid-July of 2011. I waited until today, Mid-January 2012, to open this tea (it was still in its vacuum sealed bag within the tin).
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: similar shape and size of a standard green tea: very dark green, curly leaves, which look almost brown. Yet, it has an aroma I have never encountered before (which I really like): surprisingly sweet, and spicy, and somewhat similar to a White Monkey green tea I had recently. It is very leafy in that 1.5oz fit very snugly in their standard 4 oz tin.
Brewing guidelines: leaves free to roam in my glass Bodum pot; stevia added.
……….1st: 165; 1’………. Incredible!
……….2nd: 170; 1.5’……About as good!
……….3rd: 180; 2’………Still good.
……….4th: 185; 2.5’……..Wow, still good.
……….5th: 189; 3.5’………Not much, but some!
……….6th: 193; 5’………….Amazing. Still some flavor!
Color and aroma of tea liquor: standard clear yellowish-green color which did not seem to change much over the steepings; very mild, but somewhat sweet, aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor: < see below >
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Impressive looking: although there were a number of stems (and a few pieces) it was mostly comprised of whole leaves and buds; they were similar in color to the leaves of a green tea, but they had some yellow—and one or two brown—splotches on some of the leaves (I suspect this discoloration is from the yellowing process). It was fun to watch them steep. They slowly progressed from ‘hanging out’ on top on the first steeping, to ‘hanging out’ on the bottom on the sixth. Aroma was odd, almost sour after one steeping, then later, after one of the last steepings, it was almost, malty? Weird.
Value: Awesome for what this tea delivers: $5 / 1.5oz tin.
Overall: First of all, silly as it sounds, I have to apologize to the tea: it sat, unused and unloved in a dark tin, on the back shelf of my tea cupboard for months before I even opened it. Sorry, tea!
Feeling a little better now, to business.
I have had only one other yellow tea (from Tea Trekker) and my wife and I both liked it. Yellow teas are hard to find; well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that they’re aren’t very many types of them (a tea retailer will usually one have one or two, if that). They can be on the pricy side, as there is an extra step in the processing, and I think the production is generally pretty limited. I view yellow teas as the ‘creme de la creme’ of the larger category of green teas (which they kind of fall within). So, I was expecting something good from this tea right from the get-go. And, not long after opening the sealed bag and smelling the leaves I was already starting to get excited about this tea. I could tell right away it was different (I went out to the H&S website to look at their recommendations on how to brew this tea, and I saw that they describe the aroma as being similar to a Darjeeling. No wonder I like the smell of the leaves so much!). So, that’s nice, it looks and smells good, but what about taste? Well, it didn’t disappoint here at all. It was very unusual: smooth, sweet, and fruity, somewhat like an Indian black tea, as good as or better then the Tea Trekker yellow tea, and I never tasted any astringency. My wife could even tell it tasted like a black tea, and she liked it so much she was quickly asking me to brew up the second pot! The staying power of the flavor over six steepings amazed me: it had about as much flavor on the sixth as a quality green has on the forth. All that to say, this is one of the best teas I have ever had, no matter what class it’s in!