Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cranberry Autumn Blend from Harney & Sons

Scent in package: Fruit-ily tart, not overwhelming, but very “fall” like
Brewed in: unbleached filter bag
Steeped: 5 min.@ 212 degrees
Cup: Café mug here at work

It’s been a long drought for new teas around here, so I was pretty starved for something different when my order from Harney & Sons got here yesterday. I could only order two samples this time (yes, they have sample sizes now!! Glory be!), because I had to replenish my tin of Florence, so I got this one and a Chocolate Mint (which makes my mouth water every time I think about it). This morning though, it’s cool and very fall-ish, so I decided to start with the Cranberry Autumn Blend.

The first thing I noticed as I leaned over the package to take an obligatory first whiff was dried cranberries and citrus peel, right in the mix. Always good to see real fruit in a fruit blend, but no less than I expected. I’ve yet to try a H&S tea blend that I haven’t liked. It brews up a very dark brown with a red tint, not unlike a good puerh tea, and the scent of the liquor is light, but reminiscent of a hot apple cider, but with cranberries.

The flavor is very light as well. It’s almost more of a sensation of citrus and tartness than an actual “taste”, if that makes any sense. If you can imagine the way an orange slice feels on your tongue after it’s been swallowed…when most of the taste is gone, but that tangy sensation remains, that’s a more apt way to imagine the taste of this tea. The aftertaste is the cranberry flavor, which is the last thing to slide down the throat. Tart with a hint of sweetness, it’s a fabulous finish to each sip.

Of course this means you can still taste the tea itself, which seems to be of very high quality. Those who would argue that flavored teas always use low quality tea as the base have obviously not tried this companies’ teas. According to their web site, it’s a blend of black tea from China and India – whatever blend they used is a winner in my book. It’s very smooth, with very little astringency and it carries just a hint of flavor a long ways. The dry leaves range from medium to small size, and unfurl fully when steeped as with any loose leaf tea. This blend is also available in their signature sachets, which while somewhat small for a mug, have always worked well for me when loose tea just isn’t convenient.

If you like flavored tea with a lighter flavoring that brews in perfect harmony with the base teas, don’t miss this one. Like I said, they have samples now at $2.00 each, so go to their web site and order up some samples. This company hasn’t failed to impress me yet, and while they are more expensive, it seems as though the teas are worth every extra penny.

This particular tea is autumn in a cup, and I wish I had more to brew up with Thanksgiving leftovers. I may hoard the rest of my sample until then…


  1. Jamie--

    If you keep describing things so beautifully I may have to overcome my innate distrust of flavored teas. Who can resist you when you compare the color to puerh and answer teasnob objections in advance. It's unfair, I tell you; leave me set in my ways!

  2. Ahh...come to the dark side, Salsero.

    It won't hurt...much... ;-)


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