60
drank Mousson sur Hanoï by Dammann Freres
300 tasting notes

The base tea here looked really interesting – I didn’t recognize the leaf; apparently, it’s Vietnamese green tea.

In the bag, I get bamboo and rose more than anything – in fact, I find this very rosey throughout, even in the cup. This is a bit of a mystery, seeing as there is no trace of rose in the ingredient list. It might just be one of those taste overlaps – I’m pretty sure what I’m smelling and tasting is DF’s lychee. Thing is, both Butiki and Lupicia make beautiful lychee teas that I love, and that’s the taste profile I want – not this perfume-like, floral variety.

In no way is it a bad tea, but like many of DF’s other products, this seems so staged and contrived. It’s a colonial dream! Indochine! The Hanoi monsoons! If marketing must be based on this kind of historicized, romanticized dreamscape nonsense, can’t it at least be a less tainted fantasy?

I enjoy the base tea, but it’s more sensitive than DF’s usual sencha – there’s the slightest hint of bitterness in spite of the fact that I stayed well within the steeping parameters.

Overall, a nice tea, and thoroughly Dammann Frères-esque.

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

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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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.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

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.

2013

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.

Ever.

  • * *

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.

100-90
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.

89-80
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!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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