Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reluctant Review: Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice

This is a bittersweet review for a tea I truly enjoy, but one that now needs to be an occasional sip.

I usually shy away from flavored teas, but this blend from Harney & Sons captured my affections. It's perfect for the winter weather. It warms the palate and body. I don't usually like sweet teas, but the cinnamon is so strong it overpowers the sweetness.

I first had this tea as a sample at the New York Coffee & Tea Festival, so I didn't know what the ingredients were. I loved the flavor so much, my friend who tried it with me recently gave me a beautiful tin of the tea bags. I was delighted with the gift, but after inspecting the ingredients listed on the tin, I was disappointed to see that there are artificial flavors in this tea.

I rarely buy products with artificial flavors or colors in them, especially in things I consume on a daily basis. So as much as I love this tea, it went from being a regular indulgence to one that is just occasional. I respect the Harney & Sons company, and I was surprised to see they add artificial flavors to their teas. Since I don't usually drink flavored blends, I haven't noticed this on any of their other teas. I will be carefully reading labels in the future.

This tea is known as one of their most popular flavored teas. I can understand why- the play of spicy and sweet is just right, and hints of orange and clove are perfect for chilly weather. The spices linger on the tongue long after the tea has been sipped. Now I know this is because of the artificial additives, and not just the natural spices. The sweetness should have given it away, but I was too taken when the spiciness to notice.

As much as I love the taste of this tea, it is now in the same category as bubble teas- something I have when I'm in the mood for a sweet drink. This can be my winter alternative to bubble tea. The attractive tin will also brighten up my office. If you enjoy spicy blends and don't mind artificial flavors, definitely give this tea a try.


  1. Interesting. I should check my oolong and green tea to see if they have artificial additives as well. I'm usually too busy checking to see the caffeine levels.

  2. I don't think the pure teas do, but maybe check if you have any flavored blends.

  3. Do you know what the sweetener is?

    1. Unfortunately, I don't. In the ingredients it just says black teas, orange peel, 'natural and artificial flavors'. so they don't disclose what the sweetener is. I could try and inquire, never hurts to ask!

    2. They say on the Amazon page that it is sweetened only with cloves. No sugar added.

    3. Thanks for the comment! As you can see from my canister above, it has artificial flavor. Perhaps they've recently changed the formulation? I'll have to investigate further. Thanks for letting me know!