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1112 Tasting Notes

drank 7 Parfums by Dammann Freres
1112 tasting notes

It is so humid out – I was craving something light and fruity after I waded through the swamp, I mean walked to work from the train :) The French teas that Dinosara sent were calling to me from my tea drawer with their intoxicating fruity and flowery fragrances! I picked this one because I thought the ingredients included in the blend mixed with the Ceylon and China teas would really hit the spot. I took it with a half teaspoon of sugar – I seem to like these French teas with un peu! ;)

I’m getting good tea, then the sweet, slightly pithy, slightly powdered sugary citrus hits, and then I taste a sweet and delightful fig flavor. I was so afraid that this would be another tea that sent me on a reverie of nostalgia – figs are another flavor I associate with being a child. We always had dried figs for the Winter Holidays, and our neighbor directly in back had a fig tree that reached into our yard. Summers were for fresh milky delicate figs. Thankfully, with this tea, the citrus mitigates the figgy flavor enough so that I am smiling and remembering, and not shot through the heart!

Dinosara, thank you! This is a sultry summer day in a cup. I love it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I never would eat figs. My mom loved them, and I even made fig preserves for her from my mother-in-law’s figs. Then I had fig in French tea and ooo la la! I am planning to scoop up all of Mima’s figs as soon as they are ready since she doesn’t eat them at all.

JacquelineM

Oooooh how lucky! My mouth is watering!!

Dinosara

I LOVE figs in all their forms. You wouldn’t believe how many teas with fig in them I had on my list for Dammann Freres before I narrowed it down to this one!

Brittany

I’ve never had French tea before, but all your tasting notes are getting me curious. And I agree about the nostalgia. I hate it when certain things (especially food I find) force me into a state of the past. Nostalgia is at first comforting and then rattling and troubling- reminding you of what once was and what now isn’t.

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This was a free sample from Upton! The packet said that it made a good iced tea, so I decided to prepare it as a cold brew to accompany our picnic for our day at Winterthur http://www.winterthur.org/

Delicious and refreshing. Great classic tea flavor. I was surprised how strong it was as a cold brew! I only added a touch of sugar, but I think a little lemon would have also complimented the classic flavors. A great treat.

Upton has several teas that they highlight for being good for iced tea, and I am now going to take closer note of their recommendations! This was excellent!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Kitty

I now have two samples of Upton’s Adawatte Estate BOPSF and they recommend them for iced tea as well on the packet. I think I will go set them to cold brew now! How long did you let the Shawlands brew for? They recommend 12-48 hours for the Adawatte.

JacquelineM

I would say about 16 hours. I don’t think you could go wrong anywhere from 12-24 hours.

Kitty

Thanks!

LadyLondonderry

I got this one as a sample, too. Now I’m torn between making it iced and brewing it hot — I’ve gotten into Ceylons lately, and I want to see how this compares with the others I’ve been drinking.

Hope you had a beautiful July Fourth at Winterthur. I must get to that gorgeous place one day!

JacquelineM

LadyLondonderry – maybe you can do both! It is a generous sample :)

I am still chewing over everything I saw at Winterthur (and I didn’t see half of what they have there! I need to go back!). It really is a mind blowing collection and the gardens are just what I love – natural and wild but not necessarily native – a real collection of things from around the world artfully but respectfully grown.

ashmanra

Sigh. Lucky! I used to get their catalog, and I drooled over it.

LadyLondonderry

I gave in to Upton’s (ever so slight) pressure and cold-brewed it while I was making breakfast this morning. It should be just about done by the time I get home tonight. As I poured the dry leaf into the pitcher, I could smell that minty note they mentioned!

JacquelineM

ashmanra – I didn’t even let myself go into the gift shop or book shop – it would have spelled terrible, terrible trouble! I am a member of www.paperbackswap.com (which also has hardcovers!) and I was able to trade for a Winterthur needlework book and flower book, so I feel pretty happy about that!

ashmanra

Gasp! Thank you for listing that site!

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This is a lovely Golden Monkey. Flavorful and balanced, and I really do taste what the description refers to as “apple skin” – specifically granny smith or another kind of green, tart apple. Second steep very good, a little sweeter and less tart but extremely flavorful.

Delicious, but different than the dulcet honey of Harney’s GM, which remains my Holy Grail (did anyone else hear that this year’s is not as sweet or did I imagine that? Has anyone tasted it since it has come back in stock?)! This is a very close second, and I’m actually quite pleased to have something a little off the beaten track to drink for a few months (I purchased 125g but I tend to drink these Goldens quick!) :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Jacqueline, Mile did say that he was not happy with the GM he had found, and then a few days later it was in stock again. I don’t know if he found something he liked or just had to buy something he was not as pleased with. I am sorry to say that yesterday when I drank the new batch I was not paying close attention because we were having cake, too! It was very good, though. Today I took the leftover tea and reheated it. Review coming.

JacquelineM

I think you’d have noticed if it wasn’t up to snuff. :) :) :) I will send you some of this so you can taste the differences. It has a definite GM profile, but the tart and apple make it so different! Harney’s still has the #1 Monkey place in my heart!!!

ashmanra

Oh goody! I would love to try it! Getting a little box ready for you…

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Nice! This ginger is perfectly spicy – it builds a warmth in your mouth, but it is flavorful and does not spread to your lips and overwhelm you like some other ginger teas I’ve tried. Wonderful with a little honey as a warming evening herbal, and I bet it would do the trick if you had a cold or upset stomach. This is going to be my go-to ginger tea – just pure organic ginger, and no black pepper or other things obscuring that nice ginger flavor!!!!

This was from my latest Upton order, and I have a tale of kind customer service for you! I sent in my order on a form with a check enclosed, and at the last minute decided to throw in a case of small tins for samples, since I was out. I quickly re-added my total and threw the envelope in the mail box!

When I got my order today, it wound up that in my flurry I got my addition wrong, and was short 2.50! They still sent my order (and a free sample!) and just noted on the bottom in the calmest fashion that I had a balance of 2.50. I of course immediately wrote another check – but in this day and age – it seemed so old-fashioned and trusting and lovely (they even took time to thank me for my return business) to still send the order.

I already thought Upton had amazing customer service, and just the fact that they offer 4.4 oz of Rose Congou for a penny over $7 makes my world a better place!!! but they are now held even higher in my esteem!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
ashmanra

What a great story! I have been meaning to place an order with them for some time, butnthey have so much I can’t decide what to get! I have wanted that digital tea scale for quite anwhile, too. I really need to get going on this and place an ordernwith Upton. They are one of the tea sellers Mike Harney recommends in his book, too.

JacquelineM

I know – thankfully you can really taste around their selections with the samples! I gave my husband two of their Lapsang samples, and I can’t wait to hear which one he decides to get a full tin of!

mpierce87

I just got my order from Upton also! I had never personally ordered from them before (even though I have 2 of their Chatsford pots) and I received my order within 2 business days. That is a great turn-around time. I’m glad to hear about your story also, I like the company even more now.

SimplyJenW

You know I love Upton, too. I really love how you can focus on one type of tea in purchasing samples to see what the difference is in all the price levels. It has been more of an education in tea than I could have gotten anywhere else. I think I am going to focus on Yunnans and Kemmuns more in depth, and then move on to Indian teas….or maybe Oolongs……Greens?

LadyLondonderry

I agree that Upton’s economical samples make it easy to branch out in new tea directions. I’ve learned to love some lower-grown Ceylons lately and am about to try an Assam-Ceylon blend.

And their service can’t be beat. About an hour ago I placed my last order before they close tomorrow for a well-deserved week-long vacation, and half an hour later I got an email to let me know they were packing it!

Brittany

I just placed my first order with Upton Teas on Monday. I received the order today and I am very pleased. I just love trying many different types of teas, so any site that has cheap samples is always smiled upon by me! It’s good to hear your story. It makes me appreciate the company even more.

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Yummy, roasty, tangy, chocolately love! Yummy second steep, too.

I read something about how the low crop yield last year made Chinese tea growers harvest wild tea leaves more vigorously than usual. I wonder if this offering stems from this circumstance?! Interesting to ponder!

I’m in a very tea-ish mood today (stuck in office without my usual comrades and unable to take lunch!) so I think I’m going to keep the kettle piping today and put a pinch of rose scented in these leaves for yet another cuppa!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Do you know how long I’ve been pining for my very own tin of Harney’s Keemun Mao Feng? Exactly two months (when ashmanra sent me some, and I drank up her generous allotment in under a week!!!!!) That’s how long!

I am so over the moon happy because I finally have 4 ounces of this exactly suited to my tastes morning tea in my possession…and possession is a good word in more ways than one, because I am simply in thrall to this tea! A little chocolate, a little smoke, a bold tea flavor that is SO smooth, round and complex. I truly love so many teas, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is my absolute favorite tea in the entire wide world.

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

I am following you today. I just made my first small pot rather than just a mug. I am nearly giddy at the thought of drinking my beloved KMF all day….. And I agree, this one is my favorite, too!

Jenn

I have to give this one a try. It sounds utterly amazing!

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drank Trois Noix by Mariage Frères
1112 tasting notes

I prepared this as a dessert tea (a little extra tea, 5 minutes, barely a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of half and half). I’m tasting the most delightful marzipan flavor, which actually reaches a crescendo (!!!) where it sweetens and almost tastes like orange blossoms and you don’t know what is going to happen!!! then it quiets to a nuttier, deeper flavor. Wow. It reminds me of childhood and my Grandfather and definitely Europe and goodness…what can I say. These French teas can be so evocative for me! So many of them taste like things that simply don’t exist in America any more, and they cut me to the quick! I actually have tears behind my eyes!

Needless to say, I find this tea very dear, and I thank you Dinosara for a little visit back in time and across the globe.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Was your grandfather Italian? French? I wish I had fond memories of grandparents. You are so fortunate. I hope I will be an amazing grandma someday…

JacquelineM

He was Italian but you know how everything is so close there – his ancestors on his father’s side were French (and mother’s side Austrian). As far as I know my grandmother was Italian, and on the my Father’s side Italian, but my other grandfather was from Rome, which usually means they came from somewhere else. Add to that -both grandfathers and one grandmother had blue eyes, everyone with fair skin, and I really wonder! I tried to do the ancestry thing where you give your DNA to get tested, but it only shows the matrilineal line for women (so I would only know my maternal grandmother’s dna, and she is the least mysterious one!)! and my father and both grandfathers are dead, so I will never know unless I try to do ancestor research, which is fascinating but time consuming. Maybe after school is done :) Maybe better to stay a mystery. Sorry that was long!!!

But what I wanted to say too was that marzipan is also an Italian delicacy, and a flavor that instantly takes me back to being a child. The marzipan wikipedia entry is completely fascinating – the culture involved in a little bit of almond and sugar! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marzipan

JacquelineM

And to further show how mixed up everyone is – my husband’s father is from Italy but his ancestors came to Italy from Albania! There are a whole bunch of Albanian Italians http://www.initaly.com/regions/ethnic/arberesh.htm

Dinosara

I’m glad to be the catalyst! :) And get ready for more marzipan in some of the other teas… it’s one of my favorite flavors!

ashmanra

I will look up the info on marzipan you mentioned. I think it would be wonderful to have a big huggy Italian family! My mom was raised in an orphanage so I never knew her parents and didn’t get to see my father’s parents, and his mother died when I was 9 so I didn’t really know her well. I am looking forward to being a benevolent matriarch! I will be the grandma who reads aloud to you in a tent and helps you collect bugs! :)

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Paris has come to New Jersey! Dinosara was the kindest, most generous world traveler ever, and sent me some of her Paris teas from Mariage Freres and Dammann Freres! I didn’t know where to start! I bet she thought I was kidding when I said I was going to do eenie meenie miney moe to decide, but that is what I really did! (but I said "catch a Frenchman by the toe! instead of a monkey. Monkeys are for Chinese teas!)!

So, the Frenchman chose this one!

Divine Decadence! I taste a nutty, chocolatey tea taste, and then PING the orange on the end of the sip. It’s really delightful, round, and yes, decadent. It’s amazing how sweetly satisfying it is sans additions!

I did my first steep at 3 minutes, and there was a little thinness. For my second steep, I put in a little more leaf, took it to four minutes, and yes. There it is. French Perfection! No bitterness, no astringency, great flavor. I love it.

I must say, though, it certainly makes me not want to work! It’s making me dreamy! I want to sit on a park bench and read and watch the world go by when I sip something so lovely. Ah!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Quick! Have a cup of Queen Catherine! She will set you straight and you can have some of your French tea this weekend. :)

Dinosara

Now you know what I felt like when I got home and had to choose the first tea to try! :D There is something about the French teas that put you in a whole ’nother mindset!

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I’m so excited! My Harney order arrived! This is a new Chinese Black from them. When I read “dark” “intoxicating” and “cocoa” I knew that even though no one on Steepster has yet to try it, I would order a tin without batting an eyelash!

My trust in the Harney empire has been rewarded with a …dark, intoxicating, and cocoa cup! The only word I would add is “tangy.” It has that Emperor’s Red tang, which I love (how to explain “tang”? Soy sauce like fermentation meets vegetal? I don’t know. It’s very hard to describe but I think you’ll know what I mean when you taste it), but it’s waaaaaay richer. It’s like Golden Snail’s tall dark and handsome brother. It’s utterly delicious. I feel so happy (it must be the intoxication!)!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

I can’t sit on my ordering hands any longer….. ;)

JacquelineM

Jen it’s soooooo good. My second steep is excellent – sweeter!

I just put in a little Upton order of Rose Congou and the Imperial Golden Monkey you recommended. I have trust in your empire too :) :) :)

Uniquity

Oh man. If Canada Post ever gets back to work, I might have to consider this, since there is Golden Snail at the mo, but if he has a handsomer older brother…

Uniquity

Ouch, but then I looked at the price. Oh well, I’ve still got lots of tea : )

JacquelineM

Uniquity – I know – the price is a little steep (ha! tea humor!) but I find it very worth it. I think it will come to under .60 a cup, which is pretty reasonable for so much pleasure!

SimplyJenW

It will be my most expensive to date. But then I have not yet really gotten into oolongs. I know they can be pricey. Luckily, they still have the free shipping deal, and I used ashmanra’s other code (summer12) for another 12% off.

Kashyap

I’ve never been a big fan of the Wu Yi Mountain teas, but I have recently come into some Dan Congs from the region that has brought me to reconsider…I totally agree with you Jacqueline about the worth of a cup of pleasure….and your tea humor is a pleasure…..

ashmanra

Gasp! I just got mine today and was planning to send you some as a little surprise! Now what shall I do? I will think of something!

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drank Golden Mudan by Harney & Sons
1112 tasting notes

My “Golden” teas are really taking a hit in this hot, sticky weather. Golden Monkey is now gone! (sob) We know Golden Snail is bye-bye! Yunnan Golden Bud is half gone! and I only have three puffs of this gem left. I brewed it a little longer and the sweetness is unreal and on the verge of apricot. Ah! So good. I love how all these golden teas have their own charms. Chocolate, honey, yams, apricot!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I love to cook, bake, read, paint, knit, do needlework, and garden. I need my coffee, but I LOVE my tea. I work at an Art School, and attend a large public university doing post-bac work (my BA is in English). I’m interested in the liminal spaces between art and craft, the academic and the practical, the individual and community, and the old and the new. I’m currently exploring these ideas through the disciplines of education, literature, history, and psychology.

I enjoy writing tasting notes, but have decided not to numerically rate teas as of 9/14/10. For an explanation, see my looooong tasting note about Mountain Malt from the Simple Leaf.

My favorites:
Chinese black teas
A good “milk and sugar” English style black
Earl Grey (classic, and in all variations!)
Vanilla teas (classic, and in all variations!)
Jasmine, Rose, Violet and other froofy, flowery teas!
An Occasional Oolong
Flavored Rooibos
Herbal Tisanes

Location

Collingswood, NJ

Website

http://jackiemania.wordpress....

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