Tea Review: Canton Green Tea from Harney & Sons

Name: Canton Green  |  Type: Green Tea  |  Brand: Harney & Sons  |  Form: Silk sachets  |  Price: $4.00 for 5 sachets

Design: Harney & Sons do packaging really well – I like their simple black tins for loose leaf, but the tins that the sachets come in are always super pretty, and this one’s no exception. I got the small round tagalong tin for this tea since I hadn’t tried it before – you can also get a bigger tin with 30 sachets in it.

Scent: The tea itself consists of Chinese green tea leaves with orange oil and marigold petals. When you open up the tin you get a fairly strong citrus smell (more on the lemony side), but once it’s brewed the citrus aroma is lot more mellow and orangey. On the chance of sounding like my dad when he tastes wine (“Blueberries, forest ground, slight hint of chocolate – what do you think?” “I primarily smell alcohol, Dad.”), the scent also reminded me a bit of cooked semolina – which I realise sounds somewhat odd, but is actually quite nice.

Taste: Once it’s brewed, the liquid has a bright yellow colour. Tastewise it’s fairly mild – not a lot of bold flavours and the orange is really just a hint in there, but it’s all rather comforting. I also admittedly have no idea what marigold tastes like (people with relevant experience: please report below) but I guess there’s a bit of a floral note as well. Generally very light and smooth and you can tell that you’re sipping on some good quality tea.

All in all: A nice, subtle green tea – nothing that will kick you off your chair flavour-wise, but unobtrusively pleasant (sort of like good typography). Compared to your standard supermarket green tea it’s rather expensive, but you do pay for higher quality tea, the silk sachets and a lovely tin. Great as a small present or hostess gift for a green tea lover.

Green Tea Meltaway Cookies (or what to do with terrible tea)

In the past year or two I’ve come to quite enjoy green tea. All the green tea I have at my current flat is loose leaf, so a few weeks ago I was looking for some conveniently bagged green tea I could take to the office. During my Christmas tea experiment, I generally enjoyed Teekanne’s varieties the most, so when I stumbled upon their fig flavoured green tea, I figured it couldn’t go too terribly wrong – I like green tea, I like figs, sounds alright, doesn’t it? Wrong. I’m sorry to report that this tea tastes fairly nasty.

5 o'clock: Green Tea Meltaway Cookies

The tea itself tastes slightly bitter when you first drink it (and I experimented with brewing this – temperature, steeping time, tea/water ratio, you name it) and then leaves you with a really unpleasant aftertaste that made my mouth feel weirdly squeaky and dry. After suffering through half the box I really couldn’t bring myself to brew another cup. Being a lowly paid intern however, I don’t really fancy throwing half a package of tea away either.
The answer, apparently, is to counterbalance weird flavour with deliciousness and bake some cookies. Fun fact: About 99% of green tea cookie recipes I googled used matcha powder, which is nice and all, but not what I was looking for. So instead I decided to adapt these lime meltaway cookies that I’ve been meaning to make for ages anyway.

5 o'clock: Green Tea Meltaway Cookies

The good news is that these cookies are delicious! The weird flavour of the tea still comes through a bit (my flatmate described it as “having a slightly perfumy aftertaste”), but not nearly as badly as when I was drinking it – I’ve been quite happily munching away at these. They’re awesomely tender (hence the ‘meltaway’ part) and the subtle flavours of the lime and the tea make it a great little cookie. I imagine they should be especially yummy with non-terrible tea. ;)

5 o'clock: Green Tea Meltaway Cookies

Green Tea Meltaway Cookies
(adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)

85g (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
20g + 45g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
120g (1 cup) flour
12g (1 tbsp) corn starch
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp green tea

1. Mix butter and 20g (1/6 cup) icing sugar until nice and fluffy. Grind green tea with a mortal and pestle (or a spice jar and tea cup/whatever you have laying around). Mix the tea and the lime juice into the butter-sugar-mixture.
2. Whisk flour, corn starch and salt together. Stir into the butter-sugar-mixture until just combined.
3. Roll dough into logs (about 4 cm/1.5 in in diameter), wrap in foil or cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Slice logs into small round coins, place on a baking tray with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. (They should be barely golden around the edges.)
5. Once you take them out and they’re not super hot anymore (but still warm), place the rest of the icing sugar into a plastic bag, pop the cookies in and give them a good (but gentle) shake to cover them with the icing sugar. Makes about one tray.