Reviewer: Alex Zorach
✓ 1274 teas reviewed
✓ 371 of Black Tea
✓ 51 of Harney and Sons
✓ 287 of blends
Review of Orange Pekoe (Ceylon & India)
March 20th, 2017
One of the best black tea blends I've tried that hasn't been in a more specific style. Enigmatic, this tea constantly defied description. I also found it versatile, able to take on different characters based on how I brewed it.
The dry leaf of this is potently aromatic and commands my attention, spicy with strong cinnamon notes, also fruity and sweet; it's so fruity and spicy that it smells more like a flavored tea.
When I brew it, it initially starts smelling different...at first it smells a lot like a Darjeeling or other light Himalayan teas, fresh, clean, cooling. But after it's steeped a full three minutes and I start to sip it, notes of wintergreen and toasty, bitter chocolate come out.
Blending tea as an art or practice, can go in two totally different directions: it can homogenize teas, achieving a standardized, often bland quality. But this tea highlights what I see as the true benefit or strength of blending: it can add great complexity, creating a rich landscape of different aromatic notes.
My one disappointment, this was a bit of a one-hit-wonder: although this tea can be resteeped, the aromatic complexity is gone, the resulting cup has a simple and rather flat aroma, although its flavor is still pleasant.
I preferred making a single steep of as long as 5 minutes (longer and it becomes too astringent). Alternatively, using more leaf than normal, and steeping 3 minutes brings out the aroma best.
Great price too for a tea of this quality!