Part of a series on evaluating online tea stores.
A look at Harney & Sons in the areas of quality, selection, and tea community.
Quality: Harney has done well in telling the story of how they travel to origin to source their teas. As a result, their Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Taiwanese teas generally range from good to very good. Of those I have personally sampled, I found their Chinese and Japanese greens especially noteworthy. That is not to say, however, that their other collections should be completely ignored.
Selection: Among Harney’s clientèle, the tea chatter often gravitates towards Harney’s blends. There is plenty of reason to buzz about Harney’s unblended selection. You’ll find a solid collection of around 8 Darjeelings (1st or 2nd flush), over 15 Chinese blacks, about 12 oolongs, several Japanese greens, and approximately 15 Chinese greens.
Tea Community: Harney may look like a stodgy traditional tea store, but their Facebook fans sing praises of their teas, and interact with a member of the Harney team. On the other side is Harney’s Guide to Tea. Although the company offers Twitter, a blog for their book and store, I suspect their book has created a significant but less traceable following.
Conclusion: Go to Harney for a fine tea collection and experience, then catch the enthusiasm of fellow Harney drinkers on their Facebook page.
Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings. Operated by Jason Walker.