Black King 2015 from Harney & Sons

black_kingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

The name says it all.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not going to lie.  I was very excited to try this tea.  My adventures into straight teas has been a blast this far and have tried some pretty amazing teas in the last few weeks and had some pretty big expectations with a name like Black King 2015 for this tea.

This tea has a beautiful dry leaf appearance.  The leaves have a nice curl to them and the coloring is gorgeous.  Dark curls with light brown tips.

I steeped this up per H&S’s recommendations with my Breville One Touch-212F for 5 minutes.

Unfortunately after one sip of this tea, I knew this tea wasn’t for me.  The flavor was nice enough.  A nice malty tea with a bit of astringency.  This is a solid tea but there really wasn’t anything popping out at me or any flavors that I really noted that made me think wow.  There were slight subtle notes of a dark cocoa flavor but they were very subtle. I just wish those notes popped a bit more.

I think maybe a bit of parameter experimenting and possibly add in another scoop-maybe this tea will give me that wow factor I was striving for.  Back to the drawing board with this one.

Chinese Flower from Harney & Sons

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green, Flower

Where to Buy: Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

Green Tea with Flowers and Lemon A reinvigoration of the senses. Chinese Flower, flawlessly blended of hand plucked Chinese green tea, three types of flowers, and citrus flavors, yields the most high-caliber tea experience. A synergy between tea, flower, and fruit, every part gorgeously synchronized – crisp citrus aroma that bursts and floral notes that woo, Chinese Flower grasps the sensations. It is a rare jewel in the teascape, its bold vitality spellbinding.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What an absolutely stunning tea! So many pretty petals in this cup my first thought was it looked like potpourri! It smells divine as well and one could actually place this out on a table in a bowl and enjoy the aroma and colors of it.

The tea has a lovely lemon flavor which is tart but not sour. The floral notes seem to meld nicely enough but I do seem to feel at times – in some sips – that the floral notes are arguing about which is prettiest and going to get the most attention. Yet, somewhere between the floral chaos, and the lemon’s tart little attitude there is a sweetness that shyly peeks through and politely says a meek hello. This is the note that is worth waiting for! Then in the after taste this delightful and refreshing grassy green pokes through from the base!

This tea makes you pay attention, the more I found myself wondering if I even liked this tea at all the more I found myself taking another sip and smiling because I did enjoy it.

This tea is a lady indeed, complex, beautiful, aromatic, confusing, profound, sweet, sassy, and delightful.

I applaud Harney & Sons for using such a wonderful base for this tea as it could have easily been hidden behind all these other notes but it was not lost at all. I find that if you wait long enough between sips that the flowers dance on the grassy green flavors of the base making me feel like I am sipping this cup in a field of wildflower.

Thanks to a Steepster friend I have a pretty healthy sample of this tea here but I already want to buy a tin of it just because I want to have it in my permeant stash in its own lovely home, as this tea is deserving of it.

Its not often a floral tea catches my eye, or the favor of my taste buds, but this tea has so much more going on than just a flowery bouquet.

The after taste is what gets me the most. Absolutely not to make you think this tea is remotely perfume-y because it is not, but it does remind me of an expensive French perfume. Even if this is a Chinese floral tea. Fresh, rich, romantically floral, beautiful, sweet, tart, sexy and expensive, except Harney & Sons, in my opinion, is reasonably priced tea.

If my tea breath smells half as good as this tea tastes lingering around in my mouth then people should be oohing and aahing over me, following me around wanting to kiss me, yes I can be my own romance heroine if only in my own mind!

Oh La La!

Supreme Breakfast Blend from Harney & Sons

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

Smooth and full-bodied. Fantastic teas from India and China are combined to create this Breakfast Blend. A wonderful tippy Assam gives it full body that is then smoothed by the rich distinctive flavor of Hao Ya ‘B’ Keemun.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a strong brew!  It has a very pleasing, robust flavor with some serious gusto to it – the kind of tea that you want to drink in the morning, when you need a good wake up tea.

The Assam gives it an enjoyable, full-bodied flavor and a delicious malty tone.  The cup also has some sweetness to it, although I wouldn’t describe it as an overly sweet tea, and I do think that this tea would be nice with the addition of honey or sugar to help soften the edges a little.  Some milk would add a delicious creamy element.

There is also some bitterness to this cup.  I don’t think I oversteep it (I steeped it for just 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water), but a jarring bitterness does hit the palate about mid-sip.  I don’t find it off-putting, though, nor is it something that would render the cup undrinkable.  Instead, I think it kind of helps the tea … it seems to give me an added “jolt” that is helping to invigorate me.

The Keemun in this blend adds a lovely smoky element to the cup.  It isn’t a strong smoky flavor; it is a flavor that does develop on the palate though, becoming increasingly stronger with each sip, although it never really becomes what I’d call a really bold smoky note.

I love the way the flavors come together in this cup.  Malty, sweet, bitter, smoky … they all seem to meld together in a pleasing sort of way that I find agreeable.  This tea makes waking up in the morning a much more pleasurable experience!

Tokyo from Harney & Sons

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

Japan’s capital is the inspiration of this tea. Green Bancha is blended with toasted sesame seeds and caramel flavors. The delightful flavor is reminiscent of some of Tokyo’s best desserts.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The description of this tea sounded just unusual enough to make me want to try it … sesame seeds and caramel?  Hmm… I’m intrigued!

The fragrance of the dry leaf has a caramel overtone, with a toasted, nutty scent in the background, as well as a hint of grassy notes.  The brewed tea has a stronger caramel-y scent, together with a strong vegetal note (it almost smells like celery… you know that aroma that fills the kitchen when you saute celery to soften it?  Yeah, that’s what it smells like to me… slightly browned butter and celery!)

This is quite tasty!  The Bancha offers a slight vegetal flavor that develops as I continue to sip.  It doesn’t really taste grassy, but more like steamed spinach:  mild and savory.  There is a buttery tone to the cup as well, although not quite as buttery as you might taste from a Sencha.

The caramel offers a pleasing sweetness that melds nicely with the natural sweetness of the green tea, while the toasted sesame seeds give a toasty nut flavor that marries well with the natural nutty flavors of the tea.  The overall cup is very harmonious and deliciously sweet and creamy, with just enough savory tones to keep it interesting.  There is a mellow astringency that is neither too dry nor too tangy, but it does manage to cleanse the palate to ready it for another sip.

This is the kind of tea that keeps me sipping … and I like that!

 

SoHo Blend from Harney & Sons

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

In honor of our new shop in Manhattan, we are introducing our SoHo Blend. Emeric Harney, the store manager, came up with this flavored black tea concoction. Our SoHo Tea is a beautifully delicious blend of Chocolate & Coconut flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

YUM!

Over the last couple of months or so, I have been reading the tasting notes for this tea on Steepster (drooling all the while), and I’m so glad that I finally get to try it!

And this tea has definitely lived up to my expectations of it.  It is so incredibly good!  The black tea base is a strong, sturdy tea but it doesn’t have an overly aggressive flavor to it so it doesn’t overwhelm the nuances of the chocolate and coconut flavors.

There is a delicious balance between chocolate and coconut.  The coconut tastes sweet, creamy and authentic, as though someone purified real, fresh coconut and put it in my teacup!  The chocolate is rich and decadent tasting, like a fine quality bittersweet chocolate with hints of milk chocolate-y undertones.

Until now, my favorite teas from Harney and Sons have been Indian Nimbu and Paris (which I am shocked to find that I have not yet reviewed!) … now, I think it’s time to add a third favorite.  This is a MUST TRY for chocoholics!