This post has been in the pipeline oh, just about forever. For various reasons.

So, remember when, ages ago, I talked about buying a bunch of tea? This is the review of the Harney and Sons teas! Or the first half of it, anyway! I bought a lot! ;p

In all I have tried the Decaf Darjeeling (meh); Decaf Paris (okay but I found the aroma of the dry leaves a bit obnoxious); Decaf Sencha (very nice for a decaf green tea); Decaf Assam (this may be my favorite black tea, and the only one I can drink without milk-can’t wait to try the regular version); and the Houjicha (it’s a little too roasted, IMHO, but blending it with the sencha or some mint makes it palatable).

I was eager to try the oolongs, which I had never had before. I started off with the Formosa Oolong, and I have to say, it’s my favorite non-flavored tea I’ve tried so far. Smooth, sweet, with no bitterness or astringency. I will definitely buy more of this when I’ve gotten my current collection down to a normal level. (I have seriously bought way too much tea. If there can be such a thing.)

I was hoping my love of the Formosa Oolong would carry over into the Ti Quan Yin – Spring Floral, but I am not quite as fond of it. It’s got a very green, floral taste, not as obnoxious as the Jasmine Pearls, but I don’t think it’ll be a favorite. However, the Magnolia Oolong I found very nice indeed, sort of a balance between the sweetness of the Formosa and the floral of the Ti Quan Yin, with a slightly creamy taste on the tongue, and a definite aftertaste that I finally pinned down as mild pineapple.

One of the free samples was H&S’s Organic English Breakfast, which was…strange. My only experience with English Breakfast previously has been the Twining’s Decaf blend, which I find really nice when I’m in a hurry in the morning, and it’s drinkable even without milk. The H&S version is a strong, earthy tea that has a strangely buttery taste when hot and an almost unpleasant earthy quality when cooled. I only drank about half of the cup.

Next up was the Dragon Pearl Jasmine, a lovely tea to look at but the jasmine scent was too strong for me. Apparently I don’t like floral teas as much as I thought I would? Oh well.

I went back to the black teas for my next cup, trying the Tippy Yunnan. It was nicer to my palate than the Organic Breakfast, but still a bit too bitter for me. It also led to this exchange with my BFF, via text

Last of the H&S samples (that I’ve tried so far) was their Gyokuro. It was a delicious, mellow green flavor that I enjoyed very much. This was my second taste of Japanese green teas, the first being this little jewel, given to me by a friend:

Tin of Yuzu Ryokucha, a citrus flavored green tea from Japan

Look at that adorable tin!

I have no idea what brand this is, as it was sent to the friend by one of her friends who is currently living in Japan. There is no label or anything. I really, really liked this tea. I’d go so far as to say it’s my current favorite among the green teas I’ve tried. The yuzu flavor is just a vague hint on the tip of the tongue, and the green of the tea really comes out. I may have liked it better than the gyokuro.

I know, I fail as a tea snob. ;p

Next post, I’ll be geeking out about the rest of the Harney & Sons samples and the Lupicia flavored teas, and my first try of pu-er!