I feel like I have a complicated relationship with tea. We got along great growing up, but then I discovered coffee. However, coffee was not kind to my wallet or my body, so I went back to tea… but not the tea I grew up drinking. No, I discovered what my parents like to call “fake tea” – tea that’s been blended with fruits and flowers and all that jazz. (My parents are tea purists who only drink tea from China, Taiwan or Japan.) In fact, I was so astounded by my discovery of this new type of tea (since I grew up drinking what my parents call “real tea”) that I went a little shopping crazy…. and now I have more than enough tea to probably last me a lifetime (or at least a few years). I just kept (and still do) buying tea before trying the tea I already had… and now my collection has grown to be 200+ teas. (And this doesn’t include my parents’ collection of teas.) So, I’m going to start reviewing all of my teas, in an attempt to stop me from buying more tea and actually finish the teas that I already own. Let’s see how this goes. (I already bought 7 more teas yesterday… Whoops.)
I’m going to kick this series off with a holiday tea, since it is the holiday season. Harney & Sons’ Holiday Tea is a tea I’ve had in my cupboard for a while. I’m honestly not even sure when I got it, but it’s still sealed tight, as in I broke the seal this afternoon to drink my tea. It’s available as loose tea or in satchets – I got the HRP tin of 30 satchets instead of my usual loose tea, mainly because the tin is really pretty.
- Upon opening the tin: WHY DO I SMELL VANILLA. I HATE THE SCENT OF ARTIFICIAL VANILLA.
- Side note: My cousin was obsessed with the Bath & Body Works’ “Warm Vanilla Sugar” scent growing up. This has caused an understandable aversion to the scent of artificial vanilla.
- Wait, okay – now I smell the orange and cloves.
- Oooh, these satchets are adorable.
- Upon opening the satchet to see the leaves: At least it looks Christmassy.
- This still does not really smell like Christmas at all. Maybe that vanilla overwhelmed me. Time to play some holiday music at full blast and bring out the Christmas mugs.
- TYPE: Black tea | Flavored
- DIRECTIONS: Steep in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- I honestly just dumped the satchet into my mug and filled it 7/8 of the way with 205°F water and let it steep. Forever. Like, I didn’t take the satchet out at all whilst drinking because I was lazy. No milk or sugar added.
- BLEND: Black tea with cloves, cinnamon, safflowers, orange peel, natural and artificial vanilla, cinnamon, almond and orange flavors
- SCENT: The cup began with a cloyingly sweet vanilla scent, but finished with a spicy mixed cinnamon/clove scent. Definitely a touch more Christmassy.
- BREW: Not as dark as I thought it would be for a black tea.
- TASTE: The tea started off really bland – like a really weak black tea. However, I tasted more nuances as the tea continued to steep in the cooling water. Toward the end of the cup, I started tasting a cinnamon finish. This is possibly the first cup of tea I’ve had where the tea tasted better at the end than at the beginning. Definitely the first holiday tea that was more jolly at the end than at the beginning.
- RATING: 2.5/5. I guess I like the tea, but I’m not likely to purchase it again. There have to be better holiday teas out there.