Harney & Sons

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

This is a very mild tea. The coconut is extremely mild and in no way overpowering. Very mild notes of chocolate and I get a little bit of caramel as well. There are no harsh or strong flavors noted in this tea. Fortunately, there is no unpleasant aftertaste either (sometimes coconut gets soapy for me). Overall, this is a nice easy sipper. I wouldn’t mind stronger flavor but this is nice to relax with.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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76

Middle if the road Lapsang Souchoung. Maybe a little too smoky; I think I prefer the Upton Lapsang. But this is not bad.

Preparation
1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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87

I actually got this tea by accident. I ordered Chocolate Chai Supreme and was sent this 4 oz tin of Chocolate Mint instead. I emailed Harney & Son’s and by the next morning the proper order was on the way and they told me to go ahead and enjoy this tea anyway. Great customer service! I gave it a try the next day and was a little bit underwhelmed initially. Not bad but just not amazing. I decided to have it again the next day and for some reason it really grew on me the second time. The mint is really refreshing and the chocolate is surprisingly strong. It reminds me of a guilt free hot chocolate and is very enjoyable. It’s frequently in my travel mug and it’s somehow become one of my favorites over the course of a week! A delicious happy accident.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

My first Lapsang Souchong and second time drinking it. Very different from most of my other options but very lovely nonetheless. Strong smoked smell but much more mild taste. Very earthy with no discernible bitterness. Reminds me of a campfire or a fire in a hearth. Not my everyday drink but certainly an enjoyable option when I’m looking for something a little bit different.

Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Dirt, Smoked

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
derk

Welcome to Steepster, SpaceNerd12

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84
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
175 tasting notes

Just a really, really pleasant cup. I can taste caramel, berry, and bergamot with each and every sip. I can see why this one is so popular!

Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Caramel

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84
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
175 tasting notes

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84
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
175 tasting notes

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40

Sipping this now and I taste absolutely no lemon or caramel. Nothing but a pretty average Darjeeling.

tea-sipper

This is usually a good tea!

amandastory516

I’ve heard only good things, so I’m not sure what went wrong! I’m definitely going to have to give it another chance.

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drank East Frisian by Harney & Sons
78 tasting notes

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58

Would’ve loved for this to have a more prominent chocolate note, but unfortunately I got mostly mint. Adding cream and sugar helped, but the mint was a bit overpowering. I tend to dislike straight mint teas, but hoped this would be more of an Andes/dessert like-mint (which I do like). Unfortunately it was more of the former, so it won’t be a repeat purchase for me.

Flavors: Mint

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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42

Unfortunately, this is a total miss for me. I’m not picking up any notes besides a very medicinal cherry. No stone fruit/plum. Nothing very complex.

Flavors: Cherry, Medicinal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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89

I’m always on the lookout for a nice pear tea, and this definitely fits the bill! The fresh pear, and mild spices work very well with the white base. Very pleasant and mild, and the pear flavor is very authentic.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pear

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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56

2nd tea for the day. The dry aroma was a beautiful mix of orange, cinnamon, and cloves,. However, I was disappointed that the brew only tasted of clove. The clove flavor was so strong that it turned very chemically tasting.

Flavors: Clove

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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56

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66

My first tea of Halloween day. I wanted something sweet and creamy, and this seemed like it would fit the bill. However, even with the addition of sugar and cream, it’s surprisingly astringent and a bit bitter. It has a lovely vanilla aroma, but it’s lacking the rich, vanilla flavor I was hoping for. Based on other reviews, it seems like this tea can be a bit finicky, so I will be retrying a few different temp/time combinations.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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77

It’s a nice enough tea, but if you’re looking for something with a lot of maple flavor, I’d pass. The maple is very subtle, and you’re probably not going to really notice it unless you add sugar to your tea.

Also I think it tastes a little like raisins for some reason. I don’t know. Something about it’s just reminding me of Sun-Maid raisins. Weird.

Flavors: Maple, Raisins

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Harney & Sons
2384 tasting notes

I made this gong fu style first and wrote a review for Sororitea Sisters. The following day I served it at tea time made western style and that is what I will address here.

First of all, I read a lot of hype of JJM and had high hopes. It is crazy expensive – $75 an ounce. No, I didn’t pay that. I used my reward points to buy a sample pack. I got one gong fu session and two large pots of tea out of the leaves when you include resteeps. The sample was $10. The two ounce tin is $149.

This was….good but not $75 an ounce good. It was savory like Zhen Qu from Southern Season and had hints of Golden Monkey flavors. I tried regular cups and Jianzhen cups. It just wasn’t the over-the-moon experience I was hoping it would be.

I served an out of date Tangerine White from Revolution as the other tea at tea time, and my guest said she preferred that to the JJM, and she is a black tea lover, preferring unflavored black most of all. That kind of says something.

Again, it wasn’t bad, but there are $6 an ounce teas that taste as good or better to me. I feel bad saying it because I love Harney and Sons and they and their teas have been great to me. Maybe my tastes are not refined enough to appreciate this tea. That is quite possible.
I wouldn’t mind hearing from a real JJM lover who has tried several and see how this compares for them.

Leafhopper

Yikes! Real Jin Jun Mei is indeed expensive—Zhen Tea has 15 grams for $78. I haven’t tried anything of that quality, and the much cheaper version I had from Yunnan Sourcing wasn’t that exciting. You might have better luck with Old Ways Tea or other Wuyi-based vendors, which I’ve heard are somewhere in the middle in terms of price and quality. (I’d also like to know if the really expensive stuff is worth it.)

Bluegreen

Yeah, for $3 per gram I would expect something quite out of ordinary too. Not sure Harney & Sons are the best source for that level of teas, though. I mean, I did see some quite expensive offerings on their site but was always skeptical about them.
Also, I am forever skeptical of Jin Jun Meis: they look to me as an attempt to rebrand tippy Lapsang Souchongs by giving them a sexy name and building up the hype. Still like them, though.

Leafhopper

I must have missed the memo about JJM being related to Lapsang Souchong, which is a tea I like a lot when it’s unsmoked. Yunnan Sourcing has a few unsmoked Lapsangs that are both affordable and tasty.

ashmanra

Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang is cheaper and better than this one to me!

Leafhopper

I’ve never had Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang; I might have to remedy that.

Kawaii433

I will have to try Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang as well. Thank you. ^^

Bluegreen

I second ashmanra: Teavivre’s Lapsang has been one of my favorites for years. It is quite complex for the price.

eastkyteaguy

I can chime in a little on Jin Jun Mei, having tried a decent number over the past couple of years. In my opinion, Jin Jun Mei is a hot ticket tea for three primary reasons. The first is that black tea is becoming a bigger deal among tea drinkers in China, and Jin Jun Mei happens to be one of the newer black teas that just came along and got some attention at the time domestic interest in Chinese black tea was noticeably increasing. The second is that a number of more traditional Chinese tea reviewers and critics tend to heavily weight leaf grade and appearance in their evaluations of tea, and Jin Jun Mei is generally produced in grades that are considered desirable and attractive. The final reason is that “mi xiang” teas have recently become a huge craze among Chinese and Taiwanese tea drinkers, and Jin Jun Mei tends to have a natural honey scent and/or flavor, which producers and vendors have capitalized on in their marketing. Due to these and probably other factors, demand for Jin Jun Mei has skyrocketed, and prices have gone through the roof. The yearly Jin Jun Mei competitions in Wuyishan have become a huge deal, and should a tea place in the competition, expected demand drives price speculation through the roof. This, however, does not mean that lower grade teas cannot be just as good or better in terms of value for individual drinkers. Personally, I still prefer teas like Jin Mao Hou and Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong to Jin Jun Mei and refuse to pay ridiculous prices for competition Jin Jun Mei as the reputation of the producer and appearance of the leaf tend to be primary deciding factors in competition placement and thus the price point at which such high grade teas are sold. I also tend to evaluate teas based on a combination of aroma, flavor, and feel, so I have little reason to expect greatness out of teas that are exorbitantly priced due to evaluations primarily or wholly based on other characteristics. I think one’s primary consideration in tea reviewing should be how a tea strikes them at or around the time of consumption and not how special and great a certain tea is proclaimed to be and/or how it is priced. Having tried competition grade Jin Jun Mei (not awarded teas), I can honestly state that I have tried cheaper teas of the style that have struck me as being just as good or slightly better.

Roswell Strange

Thanks eastkyteaguy – I actually found that really informative and helpful! :)

ashmanra

Yes, indeed! Thank you, eastkyteaguy! Makes sense. The Teavivre unsmoked lapsang that I like is Xheng Shan Xiao Zhang, I believe. I prefer it to this JJM.

eastkyteaguy

No problem. On a related note, black tea in China is very much subject to fads and crazes, much like pu-erh, Wuyi and Anxi oolongs, Fuding white teas, Keemun, and many of the more famous green teas. Right now, Jin Jun Mei is clearly a hot commodity. For some time there, it was Yunnan Dian Hong, though I do not know whether or not it ever commanded such ridiculous prices among tea vendors. Of course, Keemun has also long been a big deal. I have a feeling that once the Jin Jun Mei craze dies down, we’ll start seeing something like unsmoked lapsang souchong, Laoshan black, Phoenix black, or black Tieguanyin become the hot new thing. Smoked lapsang souchong is also worth keeping an eye on for the time being. It has long had a reputation as a lower end tea for Westerners, but it is actually becoming more popular in China. More vendors are starting to offer it. Oh, and if you are ever looking for something akin to Jin Jun Mei at a fraction of the price, check out Yin Jun Mei, which is Jin Jun Mei’s lower grade counterpart. Berylleb Tea and What-Cha both used to offer great ones.

Ilse Wouters

If I may say so : thank you for all these comments, it gives me quite a few ideas for teas to find, to try and to discover.

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79
drank Smoke Tea by Harney & Sons
34 tasting notes

A touch lighter than their Lapsang Souchon, its OK, but close enough as to be the same for me. Now I really Like Lapsang Souchong, so that’s a good thing.

Preparation
1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90
drank Chocolate Mint by Harney & Sons
415 tasting notes

I’ve been largely unimpressed with mint chocolate teas in the past, so I wasn’t very excited to try this one. I like Harney’s Florence flavor, but all their other chocolate teas are kind of eh. I’m happy to say that this one is pretty nice! The mint takes the front seat and there’s just a bit of a chocolate base in the background. Nothing tastes fake or strange. This is actually very well blended, and I would totally drink this one frequently if it were decaf!
Thanks to AliceG for this sample! This might finally be the last of the teas she sent – it’s been fun trying everything!

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The moment the air had even a hint of crispness, I ordered a lot of tea for Harney and Sons, and am now smugly sitting on a small mountain of teas.
This is a new flavor for them, and I tossed it into the cart excitedly. This tea was voted on to determine who would win, and I really liked the tea that won last year (Victorian London Fog), so I had high hopes for this one.
I like breakfast blends, and one with a touch of maple sounds brilliant.
However….. I cant say I taste any of the maple. Its a decent breakfast blend, but I am lacking that punch of earthy sweetness that I was expecting.
Hmm. Well, I’ll keep trying and see what happens.

AJRimmer

I find that maple teas almost never have enough maple! It’s so sad!

gmathis

Maple teas, properly done, are delicious. Hope you find your sweet spot.

Maddy Barone

I like the Pancake Breakfast tea from 52Teas. I recall the maple was sweet but not cloying.

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Another tea I had failed to add to my cupboard, so here it is added in and I am hoping to have some more sipdowns to celebrate soon.

I had a couple of students today – two sisters who take both piano and voice. Both had colds and decided to just do piano lessons today so we had spare time before their mom picked them up. I offered them tea for their sore throats and let them pick from my cupboard. I ket them rummage through my cookie stash and make a cookie plate as well. The youngest is not allowed to have caffeine and chose Vanilla Comoro (spoiler – she loved it) and the older girl chose this because she loves Earl Grey and had never tried a white one.

She was really happy with this, saying that some white tea disappoints her because she can not detect much flavor but this was very flavorful indeed. She added milk and sugar, I drank it plain.

I concur that it has tons of flavor. The base is nice and smooth and the bergamot doesn’t get sour/puckery. I really really dislike Earl Grey with a Ceylon base because the lemony notes in the tea plus the bergamot just equal big yucky SOUR taste to me. And heartburn. Not so with the white tea base.

This was in sachets because that was what the store had available, but these tear very easily along the heat sealed line and I just pour the loose tea into an infuser.

Their mom came in and saw the tea table set and joined us for a few Coconut and Chocolate Milano cookies and tea. More on Vanilla Comoro to come….

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