drank Fleurilège by Dammann Freres
300 tasting notes

This whole Dammann Frères experience is turning a little too existential and emotional. I just wanted to drink some tea, okay? And now I’m forced to reminisce about my dead grandmother and maybe even reevaluate my whole outlook on black teas. I’m packing my trans-Atlantic suitcase right now; I don’t have time for these shenanigans!

But fine. My two top blacks are teas from Mariage Frères – they’re rich and luxurious and very flavourful. I love all those things. But they’re also fairly thick, almost a little muddy, and very dark, which pretty much sums up what I have a hard time handling when it comes to certain blacks.

Dammann’s black bases, on the other hand, leave the liquid a dark amber, and they’re very light and easily drunk. In this case, though, the flavour is a little too delicate to leave me entirely seduced. It’s quite smooth and elegant, but I think I’d like to try a somewhat longer steep to see if I can get some more flavour out of this.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I usually go full boil on my Dammann black blends, and I never have any bitterness. I’d try it a bit hotter, too!

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I usually go full boil on my Dammann black blends, and I never have any bitterness. I’d try it a bit hotter, too!

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I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.


  • * *


This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.


Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.


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My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.


Rome, Italy

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