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Mike Harney Spills the Tea: Ask Mike Anything

by Mike Harney December 21, 2021 4 min read 11 Comments

Mike Harney Spills the Tea: Ask Mike Anything


When we gave our customers the opportunity to Ask Mike (that’s me!) Anything, you all did not disappoint! Whether it’s on one of our Facebook live shows that Paul and I often do, or in this format, I love getting questions from Harney fans. Here are a few that were sent in recently -- sure hope I got the answers right!

 

 


Q
: Is there a difference in taste from loose-leaf teas to teas that come in an individual pyramid bag? My mum says there is but l can't tell. Please settle this dispute for us. - Linda P.

MH: It would depend upon the tea. This weekend, they are packing the new season of Dragon Pearl Jasmine and both loose-leaf and sachets are exactly the same. Also, we have done Chamomile recently; it is different because the large chamomile flowers do not flow well into sachets, so we add more broken flowers. The sachet itself does not add any flavors and transfers tea flavors well.

 

Q: Which in your opinion is the best green tea overall? - Irene

MH: Well, I do love my   Meijiawu Lung Ching. It’s pricey, but for a reason: it’s the French Champagne of green teas, the one all other green teas are measured against.

 

Q: Where do you source your oolong teas? Which is your favorite, and do you plan to restock the Big Red Robe soon? - Claire R., Bexley North, Australia

MH: We get our oolongs from   Fujian Province in China or Taiwan. There are so many great ones; however, I do love   Li Shan. We just got in some more   Big Red Robe (aka   Da Hong Pao).

Q: Which Harney tea would you give to your wife as her birthday gift or Christmas gift if you could choose one? - Mayumi G., Louisville, KY

MH: I would be nuts not to give   Brigitte’s Blend, which is named after her! Also, see the next question for related info...


Q: The iconic Dorchester Hotel in London actually offers a Harney & Sons tea (Brigitte’s Blend), and I was really curious how your tea got picked or chosen to represent such an amazing London institution? - Chris H., Meadowbrook, PA

MH: There was a guy who worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC, and he took a job at the Dorchester. He was crazy enough to insist that they use our teas. What an honor. They did change the name to Dorchester Blend, but it’s the same tea.


Q: When will Harney replace the nylon sachets with biodegradable ones? - Jerry W., Seattle, WA

MH: We have started to replace the petroleum-based material with sugarcane. Right now about 35% of production is using sugarcane. There are some operation issues, but we hope that by the end of 2022 we will be 100%. You can read more on   our latest update on our blog.

 

Q: If you were not working with tea, what would you do? Like Albert Einstein played violin, said he would have been a musician, lived his daydreams in music. Thank you. (I love your tea. My life is always with your tea.) - Mayumi G., Louisville, KY

MH: Before tea, I worked in the wine business. So maybe that. As I am getting closer to 70, this is becoming a real question. Did one of my sons ask this question??


Q: How has the pandemic affected your company’s ability to source and ship? - Lori C., Indianapolis, IN

MH: Right now we are on vapors with our Assam supply. The 2022 shipments are coming at the end of this month. Also, we get only tiny numbers of bottles, so the supply chain is an issue. As the months add up, there are more and more problems. Plus the cost of shipping is five times more than it was last year. Yikes!!


Q: What’s your favorite tea? - Kate

MH: I like a good tippy   Assam, or a wild black tea from Hunan, and of course   Li Shan.


Q: An impressive 38-year history. What does Harney look like in the next 38 years? - Dustin T., Phoenix, AZ

MH: Well I just did the math, and in another 38 years I would be 104! Though tea has been good to me and for my health, I doubt I will be around for that big day. My father passed the business down to my brother Paul and me, and that is my plan going forward. Tea has been around for many thousands of years, so there should be people enjoying tea for many years to come. I would like to think that our family, maybe our granddaughter Korabelle, would be helping people. However, life happens.


Q: Would you be interested in putting a commercial premise in Coronel Suárez, the national capital of polo and a province of Buenos Aires, Argentina? - Raquel

MH: I have heard good things about Argentina, so maybe we start with a visit.

 

Q: What made you happy today? - Hana

MH: Cyber week during the holidays is full of ups and downs. So the weekend after, I am happy to have survived that. Also, it looks like we will not have the COVID outbreak that brought the county health people to our plant and quarantined the whole shipping department last year. That made this 65-year-old tired packing all those orders! Retirement is looking better all the time!!

Mike Harney
Mike Harney


11 Responses

Rebecca
Rebecca

January 21, 2022

I love your teas, and have been lucky enough to be given assortments for my last 2 birthdays. But how on earth do you open the honey sticks??? I read on one blog that you “simply bite off the end,” but unless the blogger has the tiny razor-sharp teeth of a piranha, I don’t see how that’s possible. I hate to get honey on my scissors… is there a trick to this I’m missing?

I’d be so grateful for your help!

Pearl McElheran
Pearl McElheran

January 21, 2022

Are those lovely little tins that your tea comes in recyclable?

Kathy schlueter
Kathy schlueter

January 05, 2022

I have been a H&S tea drinker for quite awhile and it is my go to tea. As I love to send the tea sachets along with letters that I write and carry them with me I just want to verify that the new packaging with the sugarcane does not contain sugar and will not effect those who are diabetic. And I just want to say thank you for your wonderful products and articles! Keep up the good work!

Cynthia
Cynthia

January 05, 2022

Your teas are wonderful . Everyone I have ever tried. I am a green cinnamon addict. I have gifted your tea many times. When I think what career I would have liked to be in I think tea instead of nursing. Am I too old at 67? I am ready for a second career. Thank you , thank you , thank you for all the comfort your teas have provided me over my lifetime.
Cynthia

Nancy Arcand
Nancy Arcand

January 05, 2022

I really enjoy your tea’s. I was wondering is it ok to mix them, if I drink a green tea, then shortly after drink a black or white tea will it upset me?
Johanna Appel
Johanna Appel

January 05, 2022

I loved this article and love your tea. I am partial to strong, malty black teas and have tried so many Assams and Assam mixtures and yours are the only ones that now live in my house. In answer to Tony Gosse, I drank Barry’s Gold every morning until I discovered Harney & Son’s Malachi McCormick blend— a cup of fantastic tea every morning. I use about 1.5 tsp loose leaf tea, H2O temp 212F and 12oz of water brewed for 4 minutes with a splash of milk. Only way to start my morning off🫖💓

Aurora
Aurora

December 26, 2021

Really loved this little article!

Anthony Gosse
Anthony Gosse

December 26, 2021

Dear Mike,

i get all my tea from Harney & Sons with one exception. I have been drinking Barry’s Gold Blend as my morning tea and I quite like it but would rather patronize Harney’s. I bought a case of the Barry’s last year but am almost out of it.
What would you recommend as a replacement. I really need a strong British or Irish tea in the morning: Bricklayer’s Tea.

Thanks

Tony Gosse

Gary Rogers
Gary Rogers

December 26, 2021

Thanks so much for taking the time to provide feedback and to personally engage with your customers. Although I did not ask a question, I read each one an for your answers so interesting. I am a coffee drinker (and very particular) but my wife is the tea drinker in our family. You Holiday Tea is her favorite each year and we order several containers to get her through till her spring and summer favorites take over. She drinks her morning hot tea each day then switches to ice tea after that (we live in the South – Florida). For ice tea she has no real preference…..
Getting back to your feedback – I really enjoy your personal insight and suggestions but what I admire most is that you take the time to do it… Many company owners (or CEO’s, etc) do not make the effort to have a personal relationship with the customer. It is refreshing that you do this…. I almost just passed on the email but decided to see what it was……..THANK YOU so much for your time, views and caring……

Michael
Michael

December 26, 2021

Mike can you get cooked Pu-Erh cakes that have been cave aged? Your loose Pu-Erh tea is way too mild for my taste. Thanks. Mike P . , Akron,Ohio

Nichole Johnson
Nichole Johnson

December 26, 2021

I have been a Harney and Sons tea drinker for over 12 years. But I’m interested in learning more on making from loose tea. Paris tea is my go to favorite. Any tips of how to make best tea from loose.

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