Victoria wrote:Aside from being overpriced . . .
That's a lot to put aside! ...and you're going to regret giving me a soapbox to talk about Harney!
In January 2007 I had Ali San Oolong
(sic, an Ali Shan, I suppose) from Harney that was quite good, but it was disappointing to open the Harney can and find a vacuum-packed bag inside entirely in Chinese. I felt like, gee I could buy the vacuum-packed bag directly from Taiwan and get better, fresher tea cheaper. Their Fanciest Formosa Oolong
seems like a pretty average Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty), so why don't they just call it Oriental Beauty
? And their Fanciest Formosa Oolong
doesn't seem so different from their Formosa Oolong
. On the other hand, I had a very nice Da Hong Pao
from them in late 2006 and the price wasn't even all that high.
I currently have a sampler of four black teas from them and every one has more quality in the packaging than in the tea. They're not too bad, but so much better is available from so many other suppliers! Their Golden Mudan (reviewed by Jamie at Tea on Tap
) is a nice, unusual Chinese black I had never heard of before, but just a little too sweet for my taste. I have had several of their other black blends in the last couple of years that have been just cheap tea: the kind of stuff where you need to steep no more than a minute or it's just too rough to drink.
Did I mention they don't routinely give harvest dates? Learning from Master Chip, I am starting to see those dates as the first sign that you are dealing with a serious tea vendor.
So, where does all this narrative get us? Harney just seems enormously inconsistent
. There probably was a day when they were one of the best things going for teaheads, but nowadays they just seem like a lumbering dinosaur. A company like Adagio has a consistent price/quality ratio and a logical representation of world teas. Plus they don't belabor us with far fetched stories about how a family member traveled deep into darkest China and brought home XXX trophy tea. Harney seems (IMHO) to have a quirky set of choices and you never really know if you're going to get something pretty bad or pretty good.
What was the question again?