91 Tasting Notes


My throat is scratchy and my eyes burn like coals. Runny nose and cough coming on too. Yep, the nasty cold that is going around work has apparently claimed another hapless victim. I need a cup of comfort. I seek solace in my benevolent lord, The Earl of Harlem.

He possesses a restrained strength in is subtle smokiness. There’s a playful cheerfulness in his citrusy bergamot. There’s a gentle sweetness about him in his lightly floral jasmine. Oh my – He even brought me some chocolates! He certainly is one class act. My dear Earl is a gentleman through and through. He’s come to my rescue once again. The galant Earl will see me through this cold just fine.

Teatotaler Thank you, MissLena! :)

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I work as head nurse in very hectic advanced dementia care unit. It is a very rewarding job, but very stressful. The past six weeks at work have been especially busy. My own mother has Alzheimer’s too. I’m exhausted.

On a brighter note, I have the weekend off. It is time for the nurse to take care of himself. Yesterday I sauntered over to Southern Seasons and purchased this tea. I tend to favor Keemun based English Breakfast teas, and I’ve been yearning to try this one for some time. I have never been disappointed by any of Grace Tea Company’s blends, and this one has proven to be no exception.

The lovely dry leaf smells of sweet earth and autumn leaves. A three and a half minute steep yields an orangey red, sweet fragranced liquor. The taste is very rich, and was quite reminiscent of sweet pipe tobacco and warm nuts. True to it’s name, there is a definite note of fine red wine with a pleasant, mild astringency that comes in on the end of the sip. This tea takes milk and sugar very well, though it is not necessary. I think that honey would work marvelously as well.

Winey Keemun English Breakfast is a tea that wakes you gently. This is a luxurious, delicious tea for a long, lazy Sunday. I believe that it would also be superb for an impromptu afternoon tea party. This is a time out tea. A tea to linger over and savor. A tea to relax, unwind, and forget your cares. I feel better already.

Flavors: Astringent, Red Wine, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Tobacco

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Decaf Paris by Harney & Sons
91 tasting notes

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drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
91 tasting notes

Firstly, a huge thank you to ::Nicole:: for the generous sample that sparked my fascination with this beautiful Russian tea blend! I loved it so much that I ordered a tin from Kusmi that arrived yesterday.

So, it’s a rainy weekend here in The Old Dominion. Rainy weekends just beg for a good book and good pot of tea to go with it. I am currently reading “The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra” by Helen Rappaport. Anastasia by Kusmi Teas was created around 1917/1918 in Paris after the company fled St. Petersburg at the start of the Russian Revolution. This tea was, indeed, named for the youngest daughter of the imperial family. Nothing like pairing an historical book with a matching historical tea!

But I digress. This tea is an amazing melange of citrus, orange blossom and honey flavors. The honey note really comes out with just a little bit of sugar. Lime is the dominant citrus flavor. The bergamot works brilliantly in the background. The Chinese and Ceylon base teas add breadiness and sparkle respectively. Strangely, there is an illusive scent reminiscent of sweet incense not unlike myrrh which is used in Russian Orthodox churches. Like it’s namesake, this tea possesses an element of mystery.

As I sip this tea it is quite easy for me to envision Nicholas and Alexandra, the beautiful grand duchesses and the young tsarevich at Tsarskoe Selo enjoying teatime together with a tea like this. It’s that good!

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Honey, Lime, Orange Blossom

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Happy first day of autumn everybody!

Thanks to an extremely generous sample from ::Nicole:: I am celebrating the first day of autumn with a very fine cup of Glenburn Autumn Crescendo Darjeeling tea. I can think of no better way to bring in my favorite season than with a delicious cup of an autumn flush of my beloved Darjeeling tea.

This tea is ripe with flavor. Classic Darjeeling floral notes along with ripe fruitiness, a bit of astringency, some nuttiness and a wonderful caramelly/vanilla sweetness combine to make this a very fine autumn flush Darjeeling tea that is as fecund and fruitful as the magical time of year in which it is produced. I’m so loving it!

I hope that all of you out there in Steepsterland will take time out to enjoy a special cup today in honor of the beginning of this most glorious time of year!

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Nutty, Sweet, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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Harney describes this tea as smokey, rich and fragrant and it certainly is! Chef Marcus Samuelsson stated that his homeland of Ethiopia was the inspiration for this tea and I can understand that. This tea, like Ethiopia, is complex and mysterious – an exotic brew that I could easily imagine being imbibed by the late emperor himself! The name though, I think, was chosen as a tribute to Harlem in the golden age of jazz. That makes sense because the Earl of Harlem is one jazzy tea!

It’s smokey for sure but not overly so. Along with bergamot, other citrus flavors of lemon, lime and grapefruit emerge. Notes of bittersweet chocolate also come into play as you sip. There is subtle but definite jasmine flavor too that helps to soften and sweeten things up a bit.

Earl of Harlem actually reminds me of a smokey, floral version of Kusmi’s Anastasia. I think that this tea could easily pass for a Russian style blend. With Kusmi taste and Harney money I believe that I have found an affordable and amazingly delicious alternative!

This is a hearty brew that worked beautifully with my Mexican food this evening. Four and a half minutes brewing time yielded a nice, strong mug of tea. I expect that this bold and complex tea could work quite well with breakfast/brunch too, jazzing things up a bit. It can handle milk and sugar if that’s your preference. A dollop of orange blossom honey compliments this tea exquisitely – Oh, yes!

Earl of Harlem is going to be one of my forever teas for sure.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemon, Lime, Smoke

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Darjeeling is the tea that inspired me to begin my beautiful journey through the wide world of tea and will always reign supreme in my tea pantry! My first tea love, so to speak. I positively adore a truly great Darjeeling – Especially a good muscatel second flush! Autumn flush Darjeelings, I believe, have been under appreciated. I quite love them too.

After Darjeeling tea, a great Yunnan Dianhong tea rich with chocolate, caramel, peppery and floral notes is hard to beat, and comes in a close second! I also love a full on smoky Keemun with cocoa and plummy notes.

I must also admit to an appreciation of fine Ceylon teas – Especially high-grown Ceylons and top drawer low grown Ceylons such as New Vithanakande – Fantastic! Ceylon teas make superb iced tea, I think.

As far as scented teas go I am particularly partial to floral teas such as jasmine and rose. I enjoy Earl Grey occasionally. Especially a smoky Earl Grey tea. Black currant and vanilla are favorites as well!

I tend to like rich and robust breakfast blends. I really enjoy a nice English Breakfast or 100% Assam Irish Breakfast tea. Though I generally stay away from most bagged teas, I think that Yorkshire Tea, especially Yorkshire Gold, from Taylors of Harrogate is a delicious British brew when I just want a no frills good old comfort tea.

I’m quite fond of various herbal teas such as rooibos and camomile. Lavender tea is another favorite of mine.

Organic tea is my preference whenever possible.


Richmond, Virginia, USA

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