Saturday, September 6, 2014

On Tea: Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice

Now we’re starting to talk about a “higher class” of bagged teas.  My first experience of Harney & Sons was when they sold them in Barnes and Noble cafes (though I don’t recall if those were still Starbucks at the time).  They had an excellent lavender and chamomile herbal that I really enjoyed (especially when I needed to chill out!) 

Harney is known for their tins as much as for what’s in them.  They look very pretty on a store shelf in those bright tins.  Like Republic of Tea, they have a very wide variety and are also now available in many grocery chains.  Harney do loose as well as bagged teas, but you’re more likely to have to go looking for loose.  Their bagged teas usually come in silk “pyramid” bags.  Now that’s very nice! 

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The shape of the bag, supposedly, has a lot to do with how the tea brews.  Pyramid bags, seen in higher end teas, are meant to give the tea a basically “loose leaf” brew (and are usually used in higher grades and/or less broken leaves).  They’re almost necessary in the case of large flower buds in a tea blend.  Even paper bags pick up on this now with most “better” bags having that flow-through style.

Recently, a tin of Harney & Son’s Hot Cinnamon Spice appeared in my kitchen, as these things sometimes do.  I was starting to think the thing was temporally locked until Christmas because I couldn’t get the lid unstuck for love or money.  I have to say, it was worth getting it open though. 

This tea has a sweet-spiciness not unlike Stash’s Licorice Spice.  At first, I was a bit underwhelmed.  I wasn’t getting much cinnamon or spice out of this.  About halfway through the cup, though, the sweetness appeared full-force.  It may have been the temperature (this is a black tea, so should be brewed at a boil) that canceled out the sweetness, so the next time I make this I’ll probably let it cool in the cup for a few minutes after pouring. 

"Silk" pyramid bag - you can see how the leaves and other ingredients are much larger.
I had my first cup with a little slice of apple pie (the cinnamon goes nicely!) and I’d serve this with just about any sort of sweet, pastry, biscuit, etc.  It would be a good after-dinner/dessert tea, but don’t forget that it is caffeinated (they do have a decaf one available) so how late you’ll want it depends on your caffeine tolerance.  I could see it being nice with a splash of milk as well.  And, of course, the cinnamon is always a good fall-and-winter spice. 

A very nice tea that I’ll give 8.5/10.

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