15 Tasting Notes
My wife surprised me with a massive package of Harney & Sons tea samplers today: I had never tasted this brand, but always wanted to! So, my first job was to add all of those teas to Steepster and read the reviews. It had me at “cookie”.
So, the aroma upon opening this package was indeed that of vanilla sugar cookies: it reminded me of brown sugar biscotti. After it was brewed, I could smell more of that black tea. I am a little put off by how small the tea leaves looked? Maybe my package got knocked around in shipping, but it seemed like the tea leaves were incomplete (verging on the size of fannings?).
The flavor was heavenly. I’m a sucker for dessert teas with cream and sugar, and boy did I find it. My first cup was overly sweet, I was not anticipating the vanilla punch that this tea packed! My second cup had more milk but less sugar – perfect. I tried a little bit of double strength concentration in a tea latte – also heavenly. Overall, a very nice cup! Very smooth, not mild…but smooth.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cookie, Toasty, Vanilla
Oh my – what a flavor! I’ll admit it: I’m one of those people who started drinking teas and who continue to drink tea more or less because they taste good. I’m learning about all of the health benefits and such as an afterthought; so when I smelled this tea in the storefront in McKenny, I was most excited to give it a whirl!
Okay, I’ll break it down. Delicate green tea with mildly tart berry flavor, not overly sweet or bitter. I love the lemongrass and the pomegranate! The color is a very pleasant lemony-green hue, and goes down well without sweetener.
Overall, a mild tea with a light complexity that made me come back for a second brew. This blend rivals the jasmine green tea pearls that I’ve had from Fusion Teas, which is my all-time favorite brew.
Flavors: Goji, Lemongrass
So I’m a sucker for Chamomile teas. I’m about to rip open a cheaper bag of tea from my infant drinking days and plant me some of these little flowers in my garden if they’re truly that easy to grow!
This blend, however, left me a little disappointed. The vanilla bean, coconut, licorice, ect. were all so strong that I was left with an extremely sweet cup with very little tart or tangyness (which I would have expected from that lemongrass). The complexity of the sweet ingredients kind of left the chamomile overpowered! The Honeybush also left that roasty flavor in the back of my throat. I knew that the ingredients in this tisane were strong, but I didn’t realize HOW strong! I just took another look at the package, and it looks like there’s stevia leaf in this – no wonder there was a lingering sweetness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
If you’re looking for a vanilla-forward, sweet blend, this one definately fits the bill! I didn’t like this tea because of my own personal flavor preferences, but the dry goods were high quality and they steeped nicely – so I’ll recommend.
Flavors: Coconut, Licorice, Vanilla
This is one of the finer coconut teas I’ve ever had! I only purchased a teaser of this flavor and I’m regretting it. Most coconut teas are comically coconut flavored with artificial notes, or they are rather weak in flavor. Not this one!
The aroma of this tea is straightforward: coconut, coconut, and more coconut. When brewed, the tea takes on a simple-looking pale amber – very weak appearing but packed with flavor. The tasting notes that come forward first are, you guessed it, sweet coconut; but with a buttery/creamy twist. It tasted as if I had added cream even though I hadn’t! But there’s a playful pineapple flavor hiding in there – if I were to blend this tea, I would want to add a touch more pineapple or mango to add more of an element of tartness to this tea. I didn’t /need/ to blend it, however, because I love creamy teas.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Pineapple
Personally, I like Hibiscus herbals! I feel that the juicy flavor hibiscus in a good tisane is a nice break from the more serious notes of other teas. This tea was juicy, fruity and floral – tartness is much lower than other hibiscus blends, maybe it’s the currants, orange and mango flavors that are aiding to that? This blend reminded me of berry/orange fruit leather, and I would give this to a friend who is just getting into drinking hot teas.
The color of this tea was a pleasant rosy pink, and the aroma was more elderberry/orange forward than I expected. The flavor was almost candy-like, even unsweetened, and as it cooled the complexities of the currants shined through. Even iced and sweetened, this tea was very delicious. Of all of the hibiscus teas I’ve drank, this is probably my favorite so far!
Flavors: Apple, Berries, Black Currant, Hibiscus, Mango, Rosehips
It has been a long 7 day work week, and I as looking in my tea pantry for something with licorice root to combat my fatigue. This tea also has the caffeine free perk – the last thing I need is a crash! My first impression of the aroma reminded me of mulling spices – very cinnamon forward and almost verging on the gates of alcoholic. Do you remember those little cinnamon breath drops that come in the teardrop shaped plastic bottles? That’s kind of the aroma I gathered at first.
After I brewed it, the complexity of the plum and hibiscus came forward. The cup is stunning, a burgundy-purple color. The flavor was misleadingly tart, but the brightness of the plum is needed to counterbalance the spicy, tingly cinnamon. The aroma when brewed reminded me of Christmas. Warm, comforting and complex.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Plum
This is an alright tea – just alright. The overall flavor of this tea is weak, and to use more than one of the balls per teapot just doesn’t make sense at the price of around $15 a pop. After I decided that I would thin down my tea stock, I started brewing at 3 to 4 balls per teapot (32 oz) but it didn’t improve the flavor much. I don’t normally comment on tea price, but for this flavor of tea, I wouldn’t expect to pay a premium.
When brewed, the tea is almost clear. Watching the bloom is quite an experience, but the visual effects of this tea greatly outweigh the flavor or aroma. The aroma is misleadingly pineapple-heavy, with a seemingly complex white tea undertone. There’s a floral note, but it’s not at the forefront of the scenting.
As for the pineapple, it seems artificial – the only real flavor that shows through is marigold and white tea with more of a pineapple scent. I would have thought this to be a blooming white tea that were pineapple scented if I hadn’t have looked the ingredients up on the Teavanna website.
Before I had tried an array of blooming teas, of course, this was one of my favorites! If you’re looking for a visually pretty tea to serve at a brunch or a tea party, this wouldn’t be a bad choice – but if you’re looking for something that packs a lot of flavor and complex aroma, this isn’t the right tea for you. I will not be purchasing this tea flavor again.
Flavors: Artificial, Floral, Pineapple
These little tightly rolled little leaves open up beautifully in water! As I am still learning about teas, I had never seen pearl-rolled tea before; and it smelled beautifully in the bag. As the water steeped, the aroma really came out of the tea! It’s a sweet cup with playful floral tones, and when brewed properly, has no astringent or bitter properties. I drank this tea without sweetener, and I love sugar! This is literally my favorite green tea to date. Just a beautiful aroma and pleasingly sweet flavor!
You totally can’t judge this tea by the smell of the dried leaves alone. When you take a whiff of the dry blend, it’s more of a caramel creme smell. It’s only after hot water melts the chocolate bits that the smell of chocolate come through; along with notes of toasty vanilla and a subtle hint of floral. I didn’t find the floral rose notes until I began looking for them, but after you’re aware, it does add a nice complexity to the cup.
I should also add that I’ve never liked a chocolate desert type tea. I guess I’ve changed my mind!
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Rose, Vanilla