Malachi McCormick's Blend

Tea type
Black Tea
Assam Black Tea, Chinese Keemun Black Tea
Chocolate, Honey, Astringent, Malt, Toast, Cherry, Cocoa, Earth
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 9 g 13 oz / 397 ml

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98 Tasting Notes View all

From Harney & Sons

We created Malachi McCormick – a black tea blend of Assam and Keemun – to honor its namesake, an Irish author and small-press publisher. Though his handmade book “A Decent Cup of Tea” is diminutive, Malachi McCormick’s words speak volumes concerning the difficulty of finding well-prepared tea in hotels. “Malachi,” as this tea has come to be known among its many fans, has long since become a favorite morning or afternoon cup. The 8 oz and the 4 oz loose tea tins still feature their original hand-drawn label design.

In the 1980’s John Harney was at the barricades of the tea revolution. When Malachi McCormick hand published (on his tiny press) A Decent Cup of Tea, John fell in with this fellow traveler. Together they did a few tea projects; one was this tea. It has been described as ‘a pure and simple tea that is unpretentious and affordable.’
Dry Leaves:
Simple black tea leaves.
Dark brown.
Since this is a blend of simple teas the aroma is muted malt and suggestive of cocoa.
Caffeine Level:
This British Legacy Tea has a strong, simple body.
The unpretenious flavors of muted dark honey and unsweetened cocoa. It is perfectly suited for milk (and more than a splash) and sugar.
Brewing Time:
4 to 5 minutes
Brewing Temp:
212° Fº

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

98 Tasting Notes

985 tasting notes

Tea, or should I say, teas of the morning…..

I decided to do a side by side of Malachi McCormick and Supreme Breakfast. I do like them both, but am trying to decide which one to keep around. I do realize that I could keep them both, but I am going for a little more simplicity here. I need to rein in the stash and settle on a few breakfast tea choices rather than a few dozen.

I think the Supreme Breakfast is heavier on the Assam, but it could just be that it is blended with higher quality teas. I get a heavier malt than the Malachi. I brewed this one a little longer than I did last time (4 minutes instead of 3) and I think this hits the Assam bitterness threshold for me. It could probably be corrected for my palate with steeping time. I do have to say that I am leaning more toward the Malachi. What I love about Keemun tea is the cocoa notes, and Malachi has them. They are much lighter in the Supreme Breakfast. I definitely can’t say that I am sorry that I tried the Supreme because it is a great tea blend, but for now I think the Malachi fits me better. It is such a relief that I can still be happy with good basic tea, and that my tastes have not all given over to the more expensive varieties. (Malachi is currently $20 a pound, and Supreme Breakfast is $32.)

Brewed side by side by the usual mug method.

(I also ordered a Harney Mug in my shop order…it is the same as my white ForLife mug, except with the Harney logo. Since I have three ForLife infusers from my one mug and two teapots, it all works out perfectly for side by side comparisons!)

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I, too, compared these side by side, with nothing in them, just black. I enjoy them equally, although I prefer the Supreme Breakfast as a first cup in the morning.

I find both of these teas very refreshing and satisfying.

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6768 tasting notes

Ahhhhhhhhh! The perfect cup for this crazy morning! A morning I would rather NOT repeat!

I think this just may be the most refreshing BLACK Tea I have ever had!


I’ve been eyeing this one for a long time! Maybe I’ll put it on my next Harney order.


off to shopping list

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3263 tasting notes

We haven’t had this one in quite a while. The tin is getting low, but I don’t think I will be ordering this one again. It is, as it says, a decent cup of tea, but it doesn’t ring bells for me. Youngest likes it more than I do, but she is such a fan of Irish Breakfast teas. We had this one for second breakfast. I took the first cup plain and the second with milk and sugar. It didn’t thrill me either way, though it wasn’t bad. I would just rather drink something that makes my eyes light up!

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2036 tasting notes

This smells awesome in the sample packet. It has that planty, earthy smell I get from good Assams with something else as well. It’s not really chocolate, not really vanilla, but it might be a hint of either of those. Not really smoke but could be a hint of that as well. The leaves are really pretty and bird nesty looking like some Ceylons (which is interesting since this doesn’t have Ceylon in it according to the picture at the top of this page).

It makes a dark, mahogany colored tea, with a sweet, smooth and malty aroma. The flavor is really yummy. It is a hearty flavor without a heaviness to it like some of the stouter breakfast teas (e.g., Queen Catherine). I’d describe it as medium bodied leaning toward full. It isn’t overly complex or deep, but it is full flavored, fairly smooth (a got tiny nip at the back of the throat, but it’s not consistent), and not overly sweet despite its malty aroma.

My main problem now is that I’m liking so many black teas, I’m not being very successful at narrowing down what I buy after sampling. With the exception of a few real stand outs, I’m getting a cluster of very goods and excellents and I’m having a hard time cutting them more finely. I also can’t keep them all in my head each time I taste a new one.

Does anyone have a systematic way of doing this successfully?

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I try to pay attention to which area they come from. This sampler box from Nothing But Tea that I’ve been playing with has really helped there. For example it has confirmed to me what I already suspected of not really being a Ceylon fan. For a long time now it has seemed to me that I have a tendency to prefer Chinese, it’s just a shame that my box only had three Chinese ones in it, but I might be able to confirm some things depending on what I think of all the Indian ones. So, country first, then region.


I’m horribly old fashioned and have a molskine in my purse. This is sort of goofy, but I’ll tell you anyway :) Each page has a shop I frequent (whether online or bricks ‘n mortar) and what I’d like to get from it. When I have money, I then have a list of what I’m dreaming of, and then can make decisions based on my budget and needs.

When it comes to teas, I have about 10 pages devoted to shops. I write the shop at the top, and then list all of the teas that I think are good as I taste them (these would be your “cluster of very goods and excellents”) over time. Then when I am ready to order from/go visit a particular shop I have everything that I like/want in a convenient place, and can make decisions. You’ll have the list, and can go back over your tasting notes on Steepster if need be to help you – and you can then get your budget and what holes you have in your collection involved :)

I do this with everything. I have some pages related to clothing, I have a few for bookstores, certain art and craft related shops, etc. Because it’s in my purse at all times, I never get the OMG not WHAT was the book that I wanted or HOW many yards of elastic did I need or wind up buying a pair of shoes when I really, really, really need a blouse.

I imagine this would work in some kind of iPhone type thing too that you always have with you, but like I said, I’m horribly old fashioned. :)


Thanks for the ideas, keep em coming.

Jacqueline, that is a much better system than I have (I don’t have much of one). Here’s what I’ve been doing. I had been intending to “weed” in layers. I pretty much discount anything that I rate below a 70 as something I’d order again, so that’s the initial cut. Then if it’s a specialty sort of item, like a decaf or a tisane, I ask myself would I really drink it much or would I prefer one I already have. If the answer is no, I don’t put it on the list. For everything else, I’ve been collecting full tins that I have been intending to go back and do a second round on. A good example is chai, because I’m pretty much narrowed down on that one already. I have 4 or 5 front runners and I measure against those. So I have the Samovar which is my all time favorite, then I have a spicy one that I like (Rishi) and a mild one (GM), and a decaf one (LeafSpa), and an unusual one (like the GM pu erh chai). And I measure all new ones that I taste against those. If any of them is close, I’d order more and try to do a run off between them.

The problem with the blacks is that there are so many of them, and they’re blended so many different ways and in so many variations. You can’t even really compare an English breakfast to an English breakfast because their ingredients aren’t standard. I think at some point I’ll have to do what Angrboda suggested and just line them all up by ingredient and do a run off.


Jacqueline, I am with you on the moleskine! I keep one with tea quotes, a list of the tea I have sent to friends via mail, a list of tea currently in the house, and a list of teas I have given people when they come over, indicating their preferences and favorites! At the back is also a wish list based on tea reviews I have read that intrigued me and teas I have seen in shops.

Morgana, I am also trying to “keep things straight” and right now I am trying to rank some of my breakfast teas by smokiness. The difficulty is that sometimes the perception of the taste changes based on whether I measures the leaves and time carefully, how much milk and sugar did I add, what was the temperature of the tea while I was drinking it, etc. So I just shrug and realize I will have to keep trying more tea! :)

Also, sometimes I go through a “mood” where I want a certain tea of type, and then that phase passes and I don’t want it for a while. Fortunately it keeps a long time! But keep those beloved forerunners on the shelf, and then add some that you liked very well for variety!


Commenting on an old post because 1) Carolyn made this sound delicious so I wanted to read the other reviews and 2) I think that’s an interesting question (organizing and deciding what to buy)

I’ve only been at this for a couple years, so I can’t speak to the long-term effectiveness, but basically I decide based on the tea shop. I use Steepster to keep track of the ones I like well enough to buy a full tin of (that’s what my “shopping list” is for, and my tasting notes really), and I plan to make my next order from whichever company has the most teas I’ve been meaning to buy. I make the order either when there’s space in the cupboard and spending money, or I see they’re running a sale.

It does mean that I sometimes run out of favorites for awhile, but then I usually appreciate them more when I get them back :) I do also add teas I’d like to try to my shopping list, but it’s not hard to figure out which is which – if I haven’t tried it, there’s no tasting note!

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168 tasting notes

A chilly 22 degrees here in Millerton, NY. This morning pot was just what we needed to get the day started. With it’s toasty flavors and sweet aroma, this warmed us right up, getting us ready for a day of retail!

Without further ado, another excerpt from Malachi’s book, “How to Make a Decent Cup of Tea”.

“Forty years elapsed between the first proud declaration and the second sorrowful inquiry, a shameful interval indeed which saw the decline of the most basic of institutions. I refer to the Decent Cup of Tea.

We can survive functional literacy or shattered windows of vulnerability, but not the demise of a Decent Cup of Tea. So, while we may, let us review the proper way.

Firstly, of course, you must keep your tea in a proper tea-caddy, preferably on one of those little wooden boxes that are lined with tea-chest paper. (Tea is sometimes sold in these boxes: whenever I’m in Dublin I go to the world-famous Bewley’s to savor the tea, the ambiance, the Harry Clarke stained glass windows, the conversation at the tables – and to pickup a box or two of their wonderful tea.)

Of course we’re talking “loose” tea here. No teabags OK?

Incidentally you may be interested to know that the word ‘caddy’ comes from the Malay word, ‘kati’, meanigf a small unit of weight, that tea was sold by in that part of the world."

Stay tuned for the next excerpt about a Decent Cup of Tea!

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Love the excerpts! I tried to get this tea on my last Harney order, but it was forgotten in the box. I got a refund (no worries!) but I have to try and get it in my next round of ordering. I, too, sometimes just want a Decent Cup of Tea! (particularly when cold or exhausted)!


I love this excerpt and the tea! I am sipping it now as I type!

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148 tasting notes

A couple of short notes today. I drank this early in the morning, and it is now late and I’m yawning!

My partner’s last name is McCormick, so when I saw this I went oh my goodness! It’s McCormick tea! I’ve been on a quest lately to find some decent, inexpensive, everyday teas and ordered a tin of this. After all, it bears the last name of someone I love very much, so for that alone I figured I could like it.

And I did! It’s not going to knock your socks off (in other words, it’s no Laoshan Black), but this had a pleasant malty flavor with a hint of cocoa, and no astringency. Although I disregarded the instructions and brewed it for 4 minutes instead of 5.

As a testament to its name, this is in fact a Decent Cup of Tea.

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166 tasting notes

I have spent the morning with Malachi McCormick, the last of the black tea samples from Harney and Sons. This is described by the company as a simple and unpretentious blend of black teas. Before tasting it, I wondered if it would therefore be boring and blah. I must say no, emphatically no! It is a very flavorful cup of tea-smooth and sweet with a grainy/toasty aroma. That being said, I like black teas in general and as long as a black tea is decent, I’m probably going to like it a lot and rate it at least in the 80’s. This goes in the very good category for me, if not outstanding.

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Terri HarpLady

With a name like that, I’d be expecting a scottish/irish breakfast type, and of course, in my mind Malachi would resemble Colin Farrell, who I was in a habit of having tea with awhile back (Until I ran out of Irish Breakfast).
Note to self: Get some more Irish breakfast blend, and invite Colin for tea (in my head).


I love this blend!

Donna A

Terri, it would be fun to read the book “A Decent Cup of Tea” which is available on Amazon for a penny. The author of the book, for which the tea is named, is Irish.

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813 tasting notes

i have so much fic to read. i feel like my email is blowing up with new posts of stories. huge ones that exceed 100k words, and tiny little ideas that are adorable in both content and size (300 words).
it’s a little daunting? but MOSTLY just gleeful.
tea and a book. tea and a book!!
poetry. fan fiction. memoirs. non-fiction. comics. art books. on and on. there’s never enough time!!
maaaybe if i spent less time on steepster? …. NAW! nope wrong answer :)

this tea. not a keeper. i really thought i would flip for it more. but it just kinda came and went. i barely remember it to be honest. i’ll have another pot within the next week or so. perhaps i’ll amend my post when i do.

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652 tasting notes

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

Simple and good. Toasty sweetness form Keemun, heft and creaminess and malt from Assam. Reliable. I’d keep this as a staple.


This one is on my bucket list.

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612 tasting notes

I always forget to use tea as a way to dust off the cobwebs in my brain upon first waking up—a throwback to my intermittent fasting days I reckon (I still use the window—don’t eat anything from 8pm to 12pm. Has made worrying about breakfast in the rush of work days a non-issue, which I like, plus when I DO eat breakfast-y foods on days off it always feels so special now, like just going for pancakes is a huge deal, whee). But the other day after dinner I was thinking about how if I don’t start drinking tea earlier in the day than I have been (I often forget to until well after lunch, eek) I will never be able to enjoy my brisk quite caffeinated stuff, of which I have a lot as it’s still my favorite category. So here we are, with a very decent and standard cup of breakfast-y tea with that traditional black tea taste I sometimes crave and miss like no other. Not a bad way to greet day at all. Only hope this doesn’t take me down a slippery slope of NEEDING caffeine first thing to even be sentient at all (oh coffee addict days, I really don’t miss you). We’ll see.

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Sounds about perfect for early mornings! Actually, I tend to feel that crash and burn particularly around lunchtime, so an extra shot of energy would be helpful! and here’s to IF—I’m currently doing the “eat stop eat” version, myself!


i’ve been really happy with IF, yeah! it must be fun to break your fast late in the day after your stop period, whee. i think IF makes me appreciate the flavors in food a lot more once i do in fact eat, if that makes sense. and yeah i don’t have weird glycemic crashes during the day nearly as much—man i hate those.

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