827 Tasting Notes

83

Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 2nd

Yay, another tea from the calendar! I’m still really excited to try all of these, and it makes my heart happy to open another little door and see what my surprise tea is for the day. Totally worth my $40-ish!

This tea doesn’t have ingredients listed on the package, so I guess it really will be a surprise! Opening the packet, I can see small black leaves along with pieces of orange peel and a few flower petals inside the sachet. Dry scent is rich and tantalizing citrus – mostly orange with a touch of lemon. I can also smell a touch of spice, possibly clove, so I guess this much be an orange spice-type tea.

Mm, the steep tea smells like yummy, sweet orange with cloves, along with an additional sweet note that causes the aroma to remind me of orange sweet rolls. Yum, this is quite good. I can definitely taste the gingerbread spices, but they’re matched quite evenly by a sweet yet tart orange oil-esque flavor (sort of like orange peel). The orange flavor is very lovely and lightening and makes a lovely top note. There’s perhaps a touch of pastry flavor here, after all it is supposed to be gingerbread. For a split second in the middle, it tastes like bubblegum, which is kind of odd but not altogether unpleasant. Random! Overall, this is quite tasty, as I’ve come to expect from DF!

Flavors: Clove, Cookie, Ginger, Orange, Orange Zest, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75
drank Oh Canada! by DAVIDsTEA
827 tasting notes

My last sample from Ost. This is a tea I’ve been curious about for a while now, as I generally love maple things. I’ve tried a couple of other maple teas, and they’ve been decent but not amazing.

This one also falls into the “fairly good” category. I would really like more maple flavor, as I can mostly taste it in the aftertaste and as a slight building flavor when I drink multiple sips. Mostly I taste rooibos.

Flavors: Maple, Rooibos, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Fjellrev

Have you tried their Birthday Cake? Oddly enough, I swear that one is heavier on the maple. It’s like maple-flavoured icing.

Cameron B.

Ooh, sounds yummy. I’ll have to keep that in mind for swaps. :)

Fjellrev

I’m pretty sure it’s permanent too. You don’t have a David’s anywhere near you, eh? I take that for granted, I guess. :)

Cameron B.

I think the closest one is about 4 hours away. Womp womp… :P

Fjellrev

Wow, what a bummer. Well, if we ever do a trade, I could always send you some since I’m surrounded by them haha.

And to be warned though, it’s one of those teas that leaves a nasty scum ring from all of the flavouring oils. Guess that’s what David’s has to do with their rooibos in order to make them taste like more than just wood.

Kittenna

Agreed, Birthday Cake is a better version of maple than Oh Canada! :)

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drank Winter Nog by Della Terra Teas
827 tasting notes

Another sample from Ost. Love the cute snowflake sprinkles!

I’m not sure what I did wrong here, but this basically tastes like straight rooibos to me. Perhaps it needed a shorter steep. However, I can’t imagine it making much difference when my cup barely has any spicing at all, and certainly no cream. Withholding rating. :/

Flavors: Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Ost

Rooibos and you don’t seem to get along. Just like me and green tea don’t generally get along. xD

Ost

Sorry you didn’t like it though!

Cameron B.

I do like rooibos, in fact I like it a lot. But if I wanted plain rooibos, I would buy plain rooibos. :P

Kittenna

Weird! This one, at least the batch I have of it, is quite creamy and delicious.

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50

This is a sample from Ost. I haven’t really enjoyed Della Terra’s teas in the past, but their flavors always sound so good that I want to try more anyway. This one is supposed to be marshmallow and caramel, and the tea leaves are mixed with mini marshmallows and cute little colorful sprinkles. Dry scent is sweet but somewhat artificial.

Nope, this one’s not for me. It tastes like generic, somewhat woody black tea mixed with artificial dessert flavoring. I guess it could be caramel flavoring, but the artificial quality of it is making me go ick. :(

Flavors: Artificial, Caramel, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tabby

Aw, that’s what I was afraid of.

Cameron B.

Other people seem to really enjoy their teas, so maybe I’m just overly sensitive to something in their flavoring.

Tabby

I’m kind of on the fance about them, too. Their blends are pretty unique, but not particularly well-executed.

Cameron B.

To be fair, I’m steadily becoming more and more picky with flavored teas…

Fjellrev

Oh man, their stuff is just WAY too sweet for me.

Kittenna

I never picked up on the hype about this one – just didn’t work for me. But I do quite like some of there stuff, for whatever reason.

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65
drank Bubbie's Baklava by DAVIDsTEA
827 tasting notes

Time to start drinking all of my samples again! This was one of the David’s winter blends that I still haven’t tried. I do enjoy roasted oolongs, which is what the base of this looks like. There are a lot of chunks of fruit and stuff. Dry scent is heavy on the cinnamon with a strong nutty presence.

Hm, this is just okay for me. The strongest flavor is the cinnamon, but even it is kind of muted. There are some fruity and nutty notes, but mostly this is a cinnamon tea (sort of like Snickerdoodle was). Thanks to Roswell Strange for the sample. :)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Nuts, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75
drank L'Oriental by Dammann Freres
827 tasting notes

Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 1st

Wee, so excited to finally start this thing! I’ve been giving it longing looks since it got here (clearly I should’ve put it somewhere where I couldn’t see it).

This is a sencha tea with passion fruit, peach, strawberry, and pineapple. There are some colorful flower petals mixed in, making it quite attractive. Dry scent is definitely fruity and sweet, and it’s heaviest on the peach. I did a shorter steep since I find most flavored green teas get bitter rather quickly, hopefully that wasn’t a mistake.

Whoa, this sencha is really grassy and… leaf-y tasting. Maybe a touch like eating raw spinach? Or wheatgrass. I was not expecting it to have so much oomph. The fruit, on the other hand, is far more subtle than I expected! I can taste the peach slightly, and more so in the aftertaste, but not much else. Overall, it’s not bad, but not what I expected. The focus is definitely mostly on the base tea here, and it’s perhaps the grassiest base I’ve ever tasted.

Flavors: Grass, Peach, Spinach

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Awesome that you were able to grab one!

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65
drank Apple Custard by DAVIDsTEA
827 tasting notes

Time for another David’s winter tea! This one is super chunky, with whole golden raisins and big pieces of apple. It smells very creamy and vanilla-esque, but I can smell apple as well. Looking into the pouch, it didn’t look like enough for two cups to me, so I decided to use the whole 10 grams (somewhere between 2 and 3 teaspoons I think) and made a 12 ounce mug. I have to say, this tea made me quite cranky before I had even tasted it… For some reason, I didn’t realize that there’s chamomile in here, and made the mistake of steeping it in my usual brew basket. Of course, now there are a bunch of teeny chamomile pollen pieces stuck all over the inside of the mesh (chamomile seems to be the Finum brew basket’s sole weakness). Harumph.

Honestly, I’m not finding this tea all that flavorful… Perhaps I should have only made a 10 ounce mug with the sample (which is really quite sad). I can taste vanilla and some creaminess, and there also seems to be some kind of sweetening element here (which I don’t see listed). I can barely taste the apple, mostly just at the end of the sip. Overall, it’s fairly meh for me.

Off-topic, the boyfriend and I are going to his sister’s for Thanksgiving. Her husband has to work and she has a 3-year-old along with a new baby (about 10 weeks I think by now?) so we’re going on Wednesday to help her with all the cooking and such. I volunteered to bring the pies, so I’ve been perusing the web for interesting recipes! Here are the ones I decided upon!

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/07/04/salted-caramel-apple-pie/
http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/09/bourbon-pumpkin-pie-with-salted-brown-butter-pecan-streusel.html
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/09/french-silk-pie-step-by-step/ (adding amaretto and using an amaretti cookie crust!)

So excited! I’ll be making them tomorrow. :D

Flavors: Apple, Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Inkling

Mmm, your pies sound amazing!!!

Cameron B.

I hope they are, I’m really excited to try them out! :)

Tealizzy

Yum! Good luck with the pies!!!

OMGsrsly

The pies sound so good!

yyz

Those pies sound delicious!

boychik

Please take lots of pics !

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80

This was one of the smaller samples I got in the Bluebird Tea Co. group order. It’s not something I would have chosen on my own, though I do like strawberry and chocolate. The rose, on the other hand, is not one of my favorites, so hopefully it’s not overly strong in this blend. There are cute heart-shaped sprinkles mixed in with the tea, dried strawberry, rose petals, and pieces of crushed cacao shell. Dry scent is sweet and creamy chocolate with strawberry.

I actually quite like this, even though I can taste the rose involved. It blends quite nicely with the strawberry, and together they are almost like one cohesive flavor. The chocolate is definitely present, though it’s darker and more bitter than I expected. It’s a nice counterpoint to the sweeter, fruitier strawberry/rose. This one would definitely be delicious with milk and sugar added.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Rose, Strawberry

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Yay, another one from the Bluebird Tea Co. group order! Honestly I don’t even remember what flavors this tea is supposed to contain, heh. Just poking around in the dry leaf, I see some dried apples and a few of those lame caramel cubes, along with possibly cinnamon bark and some decorative red flower petals. It smells deliciously caramel appley!

Yum, I quite like this one! There’s just a little bit of smoky character (I assume from some lapsang) and it goes very nicely with the burnt sugar, toffee, and sweet apple flavors. I’m also getting some mellow wood and malt notes from the base tea. Perhaps there’s a little hint of cinnamon here as well. Overall, yums! I’m really liking Bluebird so far.

Edit: Forgot to mention that this was the inaugural run for my new Christmas mug from Target! http://instagram.com/p/vwF4hrGgPI/

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Malt, Red Apple, Smoke, Toffee, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tea Sipper

Glad you like this one and Bluebird so far!

boychik

I don’t think the link is working ;(.

Cameron B.

Yeah, apparently it didn’t like being italicized. :P

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80

Another tea from the Bluebird order! This one was definitely a total wildcard on my part, as I have such little experience with maté and absolutely none with chicory. But for some reason I kept going back to it, so I figured I might as well get some and try it out. I know chicory is often used as a sort of substitute for coffee, so I figured it would mostly likely be roasted and possibly somewhat bitter. I will say, my 25 grams of this tea has one tiny piece of freeze-dried raspberry in it. So, either the packet of this tea didn’t have ample raspberries or someone else got all of them when it was divided up. I’m hoping this doesn’t have a ton of impact on the flavor… Another thing, the ingredients lists only roasted maté, but mine appears to be a mix of both green and roasted (unless the crumbled green leaf is something else). Dry, it smells very much like sniffing a giant roasted nut of some kind, possibly cashew.

I admit it, I actually made this twice. The first time I steeped it for 5 minutes and it was super bitter. I figured I should give it another chance before writing any kind of note (although the directions did say 4+ minutes). This time I stuck to 4 minutes, and thankfully it’s not quite as bitter (although it still has bitterness to it). I’m assuming the bitter quality is just a part of the chicory and I’m not still brewing it incorrectly…

Overall, the taste is also similar to roasted nuts, and definitely a creamy and fleshy nut like a cashew or macadamia. There is a fair amount of bitter (possibly from both the cacao and the chicory) but it doesn’t overpower too badly. I must say, I don’t really taste chocolate at all here. I do, however, taste a strong roasted flavor from both the maté and the chicory, and it’s very nice and slightly reminiscent of coffee. I definitely don’t taste any raspberry at all, or anything close to a fruit taste.

This is definitely an odd one, and I may experiment with even shorter steep times to bring the bitter quality down even further. It would definitely take milk well, though I don’t generally add milk to my teas.

Edit: I forgot to mention that there’s a certain umami quality to this tea that makes it seem very broth-like. It almost reminds me of miso soup! (in a good way :D)

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Coffee, Creamy, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Umami

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

careful, mate is very energizing. its better as breakfast option. maybe you are not sensitive ;)

Cameron B.

I guess not… I had another maté earlier today as well and didn’t really notice any difference.

donkeytiara

…it sounds strange…. which is always intriguing…

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Profile

Bio

Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 24 years old and currently living in Saratoga Springs, New York with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Likes:
Taiwanese Blacks
French Flavored Teas
Yunnan (esp. Pure Bud varieties)
Lightly Roasted Oolong
Japanese Greens (esp. Sencha & Gyokuro)
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)
Sobacha
Blueberry
Cherry
Vanilla
Fig
Almond/Marzipan
Chocolate-Orange
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Lupicia
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing
Fauchon
Kusmi
Mariage Frères
Dammann Frères
Yunomi

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
Hibiscus
Rose Hip
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!

Location

Saratoga Springs, New York

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