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Recent Tasting Notes
I split my last Dammann order with two tea-loving friends, and one of them gave me a sample of her Old Man Tea. I have to say, I was primarily in love with the name (because – how could you NOT be?), but I was a bit sceptical because it very much sounds like an ‘autumn’ tea of the kind I thought I’d love until I bought both Noel en Provence (Dammann) and Autumn Blend (Betjeman & Barton) and …. didn’t really like either one. They just felt too heavy and black tea-ish that kind of way that I associate with getting a headache. And they were sweet in a way that didn’t work for me. Which was sad.
BUT – I kind of rather like Old Man Tea. For one thing, it is very strong on the grape note. It smells just like hot grape juice, which I love. And it also tastes very strongly of grape. It was definitely the dominant flavour for me, and it was rather pleasant. Also, it didn’t feel too heavy even though it was decently strong. So, go Old Man Tea. I will be trying you again, what with my very generous sample. And knowing me, I’ll be doing a triple side-by-side tea comparison, cause hey, why not?
Another sample from Dexter! Yyz was kind enough to explain the source of this tea’s name in Steepster chat – it comes from this French children’s song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KrBIhEfSBE. Cute, right? :) The leaves are small and black, and somewhat broken. Dry scent is mild candy-like cherry that is both sweet and tart.
Steeped up, this tea smells like cherry pie filling, which makes me very happy. There’s also a pastry cream note for me. Yum, this is a very tasty cherry tea! I would describe the flavor as being closer to dried cherries than fresh, it has that concentrated deep cherry flavor. I added a touch of sugar to mine and it’s lovely cherry pie tea! Definitely put this one on your wishlist if you’re a cherry lover like me.
Flavors: Cherry, Dried Fruit, Malt, Pastries, Sweet, Tart
So, I just accidentally deleted the first two paragraphs review. Gah. And since I hate repeating what I just wrote, I’m going to summarize. Basically, I’m not that great at detecting different notes in tea, and the best way to start to get them is by doing a side-by-side comparison with a supposedly similar tea. So, with the rhubarb and berries and flowers business, I thought of Yumchaa’s Enchanted Forest right away.
The first time I tried this tea (which was yesterday?) I have to say I was disappointed. It just tasted like floral oolong to me. Very familiar and not particularly special. Reminded me of Jardin de Luxembourg (also Dammann), which has a ton of mostly unusual flowers. I was mostly going for the rhubarb note with this one, so that was a bit of a downer. Also just the fact that I couldn’t really notice anything unusual about it.
Then I did my side-by-side, and boy – flowers! And unusual flowers at that. It also had one of those 1-2 punch flavours, where I first strongly taste one thing and then quickly another thing. I have no idea what, but I’ve never tried tea with either Tulip or Lilac before, so I’m guessing something to do with those. Also, the smell of this tea really started to stand out after comparing it with Enchanted Forest. I’m guessing it must be the lilac, because it smells rather wonderful and I love lilac. Also, tulips don’t smell.
I’m also pretty sure I taste some rhubarb now. It’s got a bit of that lightly sour note somewhere in there, which gives the tea an interesting complexity when mixed in with the florals. I’m also pretty sure I can smell it a bit. I can’t find any raspberry in there, though. But then again, raspberry is also a tad on the sour side, so maybe it’s participating in the slight sourness going on there.
No astringency here, by the way. I don’t usually have a problem with that with Oolongs anyway, but it’s nice to know I keep not having it :)
Still not sure how to rate it. Will be back. Oh, but I definitely like it better than Enchanted Forest. Seems I was right – I’m getting over Yumchaa…
I just got this one, but my first try wasn’t that great. I did have it after Fleurilege, which was yummy, so I think there might have been some disappointment from comparison. Still, I’m pretty sure I can make this taste better, so I’ll have to play around with brewing methods. I’m thinking more tea, more time. It wasn’t at all bitter this time, so I’m hoping it can handle more.
I am always quite impressed by all the Steepster folk who make their black tea with a tsp per 250ml and 4 or more minutes and then say it’s not bitter. I don’t even know how many times I’ve dared to even try that… but I may need to, especially with the really good, low astringency blends.
This tea reminds me quite a bit of how I remember The Des Riads (also Dammann) tasting. I do seem to remember Riads being more sweet, whereas this one… funnily enough, reminds me of grapefruit, which it doesn’t contain, whereas Riads does. I think what it actually is is the lime and coconut combination.
I don’t usually go for coconut in my green teas – I find that it tastes very different from my idea of coconut, and not in a way I like. But this one seems to do that green coconut thing better than other teas I’ve tried (e.g. the Dutch one from TeaBar whose name I now can’t remember for the life of me). There’s also definitely a background of spices, though I don’t recognize any particular spice. It’s more like a subtle bitter quality that isn’t actually bitter. If that makes any sense.
As for the mango, I don’t think I taste it specifically, but there may be a bit of very subtle sweetness that comes from it. It’s funny, this tea. I feel like it has this very complex but not very strong flavour. It has shades of sour, bitter, and sweet, without actually being any of those. But I also feel like it doesn’t really taste very strongly of anything ‘real’. Then again, I’m not this tea’s target audience – which is why I only asked for 1/3 of a bag when a friend of mine was ordering it for herself.
I’ll play around with brewing methods, though, and see what happens. Also I think I’ll have to do a side-by-side comparison with Riads (which I am quite fond of).
Darjeelings… with me it’s really all or nothing . I am often disappointed or completely horrified by the taste of some , and I’ve found some gems befitting me completely (some Sungmas in particular).
So we have a very classical leaf with a pretty vegetal but fairly low odour.
as I fear the highly outstanding capabilities of Darjeeling in terms of bitterness , I infused it for 2 minutes only.
Very green wet leaves, chopped wide are obtained. We see the classic mix brown leaves and green leaves typical of many Darjeelings.
The liquor is amber , quite dark for a tea brewed 2 minutes only.
Taste : it is a very vegetal Darjeeling , vivid, dynamic with this unique and so special boost typical of this type of teas. But it’s a little Darjeeling. Unpretentious. So not bad. But nothing more. Not the kind of tea for which I would wake up in the middle of the night to make me a cup of !
So I dip my homemade lemon & poppy seeds cake in it … that’s good anyway
pics of the tea (dry, wt and liquor) and of the cake are visible here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/darjeeling-f-o-p-2nd-flush-dammann-freres/
A sample from Cteresa. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and was rewarded with a light golden liquor, which smells sweet and delicately floral. First sip, and I immediately thought cherry. Cherry jam? I also get an almond note, and a light buttery, bakey, biscuitty flavour. Sipping this one does remind me of a jammie dodger! It’s a dessert tea if ever there was one.
As a fan of dessert teas, this one is obviously going to score well with me. I like the almost over-sweet candy-like notes, and like how accurately the biscuit flavour takes shape, and I’m enjoying the fruity-floral notes that really help to round this one out. This is definitely one I’d look to add to my cupboard. It’s completely delicious as a mid-morning treat!
A sample from Ysaurella. While brewing, this one smells just like a parma violet! That unmistakable sweet, powdery, floral scent, that’s so reminiscent of childhood for me. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in 95 degree water.
Brewed, it TASTES just like a parma violet! I was hoping this would be the case, because it’s a flavour I absolutely adore. It’s one of those flavours that surprises me, because usually floral teas (or floral anything, really) aren’t my thing. This, however, is clearly the exception that proves the rule. It’s sweet, almost candy-ish, and very, very smooth, with a distinctive violet flavour and light generic-floral aftertaste. It’s a little powdery-tasting, very perfumey. It’s almost a scent as much as it’s a taste.
I’m pleased to say that I really love this. I’d hoped I would, and I’m glad that I actually do. Definitely one I’d add to my cupboard if the opportunity arose! In the meantime, I shall seek out more violet teas. Avidly.
I got two sample bags of this one with my DF order. I have to put a caveat first that a lot of fruity greens all taste the same to me, and this one falls in that category. It’s a very fruity green tea. Definitey tasty! But also it doesn’t make a huge impression, and it’s not something I crave. I think ic an taste the passion fruit and the peach, mostly the peach. It’s also got a somewhat boring sencha base. That said, it probably would be very refreshing as a cold brew, which is really where I prefer to drink fruity greens these days anyway.
Another sample! I thought it would be nice to try Dammann’s plain vanilla black tea, since I am used to trying all of their various multi-flavor blends.
Let me tell you, I don’t think I have ever smelled a dry tea leaf that smelled more boozy than this one! It pretty much smells like straight up vanilla extract. INTENSE. The booziness goes mostly away in the steeped tea, and then it just smells like a vanilla bomb. It smells like the tub of Madagascar vanilla beans in my cupboard at home. It also smells like a nice black tea; I can smell their characteristic Ceylon/Chinese base shining through as well.
Once again, I find myself drinking a very tasty cup of tea. Strong, rich vanilla, with an aftertaste like you were just eating vanilla candy. What this one is missing is the super creaminess. I know Fleurilège is a vanilla hazelnut tea, but it is almost more vanilla-y to me than this one because of the creaminess. This one comes out a tiny bit flat. Still, I find it very tasty, lots of sweet vanilla, smooth and tasty base. Glad to have a bit of this one to try!
I wrote about this on the mail thread, but I will copy it here because it was really exciting! From a previous order from Dammann I knew that they usually threw in samples of wrapped sachets of their teas, so this time I went through their wrapped sachet offerings and in the order comments I requested a few of them that might be available. Well they did send me some wrapped sachets, but they also sent me two half-ounce packages of loose tea of two of the samples I had requested (Vanille and Pomme d’Amour). Awesome! Now I know that I can request loose samples from them in the future!
When I requested a sample of this tea, I didn’t realize it was CANDY apple, or else I forgot in the intervening time since I ordered. Then I was looking at the label and seeing that one of the “arômes” contained the word “caramel”, and I got really excited. And I read Ysaurella’s note and got more excited. SO glad I requested a sample of this one!
It smells sooo appley and also has a definite sweet buttery toffee-ish type smell. I really wanted to drink this before it got cool enough. Finally! This is quite delicious. INTENSELY appley. I agree that it comes across as almost a baked apple, where the apple flavor is really intensified. Definitely caramelized sugar and a bit of buttery goodness as well. If I had to pick out one thing I could do without on this tea it’s the maraschino cherry. It is a light note and meshes well enough with the apple that I don’t mind, but I can still get hints of it. Still, this is super tasty and I’m very happy to have a sample!
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Candied Apple, Cherry, Sugar
My morning meeting got cancelled! So I got to have this tea also this morning. Amazing what new, exciting teas can do for your desire to drink tea.
This tea was one of the main reasons I wanted to order because I think it is new (I hadn’t seen it before in my searches of the website). I think it was released in a limited tin last valentines day and then they kept it in bulk, which is how I bought it. I had some silly idea that this could be a replacement for the limited and inaccessible La Naissance from Fauchon, in that it has almond and rose in it, but of course this also has about a million other flavors in it, so that isn’t very likely. BUT those flavors are also ones I love (bergamot, chocolate), so I had to try it!
This tea reminds me of another tea but I’m not really sure what. It is a complex blend, and each flavor peeks out at different points. I would say that the major flavors are indeed rose and almond, with a light note of dark chocolate in the trailing end of the sip and a bright pop of bergamot primarily in the aftertaste. All of these things come together to make a cakey flavor as well.
All in all, delicious. My preliminary rating is “I love this tea” but it’s going to take me a few sessions to really sort through all the flavors.
Flavors: Almond, Bergamot, Cake, Dark Chocolate, Rose
Today is a day where I might not have had tea at all, given that I have a meeting this morning and I am teaching all afternoon. But this tea was teasing me all evening yesterday; its scent could not be contained in its little paper bag, and I could smell the raspberries from a mile away. So I knew I had to brew this one right away when I got in to make sure I had time to drink it before my meeting.
Side note, I think they may have sent me more than 100g of this tea. It almost didn’t fit in the empty Fauchon tin that I put it in, and usually those tins have a little headspace with 100g of tea in them.
Good thing I really enjoy this tea. I would say that the raspberry is the strongest flavor here, no surprise given the scent, but I definitely get a “dark” citrusy blood orange note, and of course the richness of the rose. I feel like the blood orange makes its appearance at the beginning of the sip, then its taken over by raspberry and rose, and then it pops back out in the aftertaste. There is also a somewhat cookie-ish note in the aftertaste; it’s something I sometimes associate with rose and black tea, in the way they interact, that makes me think of baked goods. It’s definitely here. The base tea is their usual, which is my fave, and is reliably smooth and nicely balanced.
This tea is dark and rich, and the flavors are thick and entwining. It reminds me of 7 Parfums, but with only 3 parfums. :) If you don’t like rose, don’t even think about this tea. If you do, I would definitely recommend this one.
Flavors: Blood orange, Cookie, Raspberry, Rose
Yay, my DF order came in today! And even though I don’t usually have tea after work, I broke into this one immediately. This tea was one of the geneses of this order, since it’s a limited edition spring tea. Yes, most of their limited teas are available for a long time, but you never really know.
When I opened up the tin, I was immediately struck by the scent of the rose. It’s not a dark, lush, rich rose (unlike the rose in Amore, which I can smell through the bag is intense!). It is a bright, springy rose, which makes sense since this is suppose to be some special roses that are harvested early in May.
The flavor on this one is light and delicate. As with the aroma, this is not thick, dark rose; this is gentle, delicate rose. The oolong underneath is also delicate; I might guess a high mountain oolong, but I don’t know for sure. All together, it reads as a bright spring day, which is funny since it is now officially fall. I brewed it on the cool side for oolongs but I think I will try it at boiling as well because it seems like it will stand up to it. It is very good, although I don’t know that it stands out as amazing to me. Which is fine because it is only available in a tin at a steep price. I am curious about their Tieguanyin Rose too, although that one is even more expensive just in bulk (no tin)! Maybe someday!
Flavors: Green, Rose
I was curious about this tea because I tend to appreciate plain black teas that have a figginess about their flavour already. This tea is kind of like that, turned up to eleven. To that end, it’s really lovely – lots of what I like in a black tea. This review is late so a lot of the finer details have escaped my seive-like memory, so further notes, I hope, will be better on the whole detail thing. But I quite liked it! Thanks to Ysaurella for sending this my way!
Well, I’ll be. I have a job interview next week. Huzzah!
And this tea is very nice! I’d completely forgotten what was meant to be in it when I made it, but as it brewed I got a fragrance most strongly reminiscent of biscuits. Like, plain rich tea biscuits: that simple comfort, not too sweet, the kind of thing your gran always has on hand to serve with tea when you come round to visit. A tea that smells just like those biscuits is kind of the best kind of meta.
And then there’s the flavour. And it’s rich and nutty and cozy and very nice indeed. I’m not sure I’d have picked out that it was chocolate I was tasting until I read that it was chocolate and almond, but then I was like, yeah, I totally get chocolate. So there’s that. And it’s not the sort of very marzipanny sort of almond flavour you get in a lot of almond teas, but more just a nice, creamy nuttiness. And I’m not sure I’d have picked out orange in it either, but I think it serves to sort of bolster the other flavours, rather than standing out as a flavour in itself. So all things considered, it’s a very interesting tea, and also very very good. Many thanks to Ysaurella for sending this little gem my way!
Well, I was brave and put both a whole teaspoon of tea leaves per cup, and steeped it at boiling temperature, AND left it in for 4 minutes. And no bitterness – hoorah!
I am definitely getting what a bunch of folks said about the jamminess of the tea. I don’t quite get strawberry jam or fig jam, more like a combo jam. But – I still don’t really like it very much. Which makes me feel bad. I really really want to like this tea! I think I may actually not like the base very much. There is a flavour that seems to overpower the jamminess, and it kind of just tastes like tea. Black tea that’s not bitter, but also definitely not my preferred kind of black tea.
I tried adding some honey, but it didn’t really change much. Sorry, tea. I think I’ll need to find a better home for you.
I still don’t know how I feel about this tea, so no rating yet. The first time I tried it I really liked it, then the next few times I was underwhelmed. I re-read the steepster reviews and that inspired me to steep it longer. I tend to get a bit nervous about steeping black tea for more than 3 minutes unless I plan to add sugar and/or milk, but this tea really benefits from it – and no bitterness at all. I steeped it for 3.5 min, but I think I might even go for 4 next time.
I don’t really taste the figs much. I wish I did, because I adore figs. In fact, the figgiest tea I’ve tried so far is Charlotte au Chocolat, and that doesn’t have any fig in it. Sigh. I think maybe my fig-tasting faculties are off with tea, which is too bad cause I adore figs.
I think mostly I taste the honey, and then there’s a strong liquor-ish aroma (I smell it more than I taste it, but it does affect the overall impact) which I presume is the fig. Maybe a bit of strawberry. No lavender, which I’m also kind of sad about because I love lavender in tea, unlike most people who reviewed this tea, it seems :)
YES YES YES THIS IS GOOD OH HOT JAM
So, Gentleman and I are moving in together a lot sooner than we’d planned because of reasons and am I ever not over the last move yet! Blerg. But it’ll sure be nice to actually live together in one house instead of two, yes? Yes.
So, this tea. It’s like lovely crisp, juicy peaches, and then lovely crisp, juicy apples, and then cooked plums. SO MUCH COOKED PLUMS. Not raw plums, cooked plums. Like a beautiful, flavourful, sweet and tart plum compote. It’s an incredibly beautiful flavour. I’m in love. Thanks for sharing, Ysaurella!