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Recent Tasting Notes
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 8th
Ooh, this is the first white tea of the calendar! I do enjoy white tea, though it’s not something I drink often. Judging by the ingredients listed, this is a possible flower bomb tea. We shall see. I was quite surprised by how crushed the white tea leaves are inside the sachet. The pieces are very small, almost like a generic tea bag with fannings. I think I can see a few bits of flower petals, but it’s difficult to say. Dry scent is sweet-tart apricot and passion fruit with just a bit of rose. I had originally planned and started a 3-minute steep, but I was worried about bitterness from those tiny leaf pieces so I took it out about 15-20 seconds early.
Once the tea is steeped, the powdery rose is more evident in the aroma, though I can still smell the lovely fruits. The rose is definitely the strongest player here, but it’s not so overpowering as to make me not want to drink the cup. It also plays quite nicely with the hay-like, slightly creamy white tea base. I can taste a bit of apricot and passion fruit in the background, and they do come out a little more at the end of the sip. I do wish the fruit flavors had a stronger role here, and they would help temper the rose just a bit more. Overall, this is better than I thought it would be, but I’m going to withhold my rating because I know I’m biased against floral teas. :P
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Hay, Oats, Passion Fruits, Rose, Sweet
Day 8. A brand new tea to me.
This one smells strongly floral, rose petal floral. There were under notes of what I first assumed to be strawberry. I then read the ingredients and realized it was apricot and on tasting the tea again, I can agree that is was apricot.
This tea is fairly good. Slightly chemical tasting due to what I am assuming is the rose fragrance. But the Rose and apricot flavours go really well together. This feels like a really fancy tea. The white tea base is not terribly smooth, a bit of astringency but I had some brewing problems so it could be due to that. The tea is very thick and juicy tasting.
So it is my habit when brewing a tea bag, I always fill the cup with the hot water then put the tea bag it. I dislike when you pour hot water over a tea bag and it puffs up and floats to the tops. So I put my water in the cup, threw in the tea bag and turned my back for about 2 minutes. I could smell the beautiful aroma of the tea. When I turned out I realized that only the smaller corner of the tea bag was in the water, the rest of the bag getting somehow stuck on the rim of the cup, holding itself out of the water. So I put the tea bag in the water for another two minutes. But ther was a small portion of tea that had already been steeping. So I think that might have changed the flavour profile a bit. #teabagprobs
I don’t usually drink flavored black teas… I am a purist, unless it comes to chai and a few from Lupicia, and in those cases, I’m a bit of an easy woman. I got this sample from some generous soul out there prior to my unexpected surgery, and can’t remember for the life of me who it was…but whoever that is, thank you for sharing! I pulled this from my box of samples today because I’ve been jonesing for Lupicia’s Decaf Carol every evening (hot, delicious Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries anyone?) so here it is in my cup on a Sunday morning.
My aversion to most flavored teas is that they make me burp the flavor long after the tea is gone….they also taste fake, and usually hide cheapo tea underneath. But THIS is FANCY tea! Obviously the fancy french have been flavoring teas for quite some time, because this is different…
The base of this tea is smooth and balanced for a flavored tea….a bit brisk for my liking, but I have a low tolerance level for astringency. The 4 fruits are not overpowering nor cloying. They are well balanced with the tea. They are also not too sweet, thanks to the red currant.
If this was served at a restaurant or bakery, I would happily have another cup. Will I search it out online to purchase a tin? Not yet. In my tea journey I am still enjoying the terrain and company of unflavored black teas. But a sojourn here and there for the unexpected is always welcome.
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 7th
Ooh, another green tea. Normally I’m not a huge fan of flavored greens, but I think it’s a different story when it comes from such a quality company. Generally I don’t like flavored greens because of the base tea, and that seems to be a non-issue with DF. Anyway! The leaves in this sachet are surprisingly intact, and I can see some citrus peel among them. Dry scent is strong orange and cinnamon with a touch of marzipan.
The steeped tea is quite strong on the candy cinnamon aroma, with a bit of sweet almond. Hmm, this is actually surprisingly light on the flavor, especially the base tea. I can taste cinnamon and ginger mostly, along with the orange. For some reason there’s a tart sensation at the end of the sip, not sure what that’s from. I wish I could taste the vanilla or almond, but alas I cannot. The green tea doesn’t seem to have any taste to speak of… just a foil for the cinnamon, ginger, and orange flavors. Perhaps the smallest touch of grass?
Despite not loving this, I’m very excited to see the first Christmas tea of the calendar! :D
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger, Orange, Orange Zest
Ohhhhhhhhhh my goodness. This smells AWESOME. Thank you, Dinosara!!
I had to add 1 wee chunk of rock sugar to this, based on the amazing smell. Seriously, it’s butter and salt and caramel. How do they do this? And the leaves are AMAZING, and will survive one or two resteeps as well.
And now that I’ve been distracted by laundry (and sewing plans eee!!!), and I’m back to drink this, this tea is amazing. I mean, I’d totally prefer a black tea base so I could buy it and drink it ALL THE TIME without getting oolong drunk, but wow. Delicious.
It’s a super buttery oolong that is definitely an oolong. The butter-salt-caramel flavour is spot on. If you like these flavours, definitely try to give this one a try because it’s amazing.
Thank you so much!
(1.5 tsp per 12 oz)
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 6th
Hooray, another black base! I must say, I’ve been very happy with the ratio of teas in the calendar so far – it’s been almost all black teas, with one green and one rooibos. Just how I like it! :) I was very surprised that I had to add this tea to Steepster (there were two similar teas but not this exact one). Anyway! This is a black tea with bergamot and orange oils, so it should be similar to Troika from Kusmi. The dry scent is quite lovely, and I can definitely smell the sweet orange clearly.
Yum, I like this one a lot. The bergamot and the orange are both strong enough to be easily identified, but not so strong that they overpower your mouth. The base tea is mellow and smooth, and though it doesn’t really have any distinguishing characteristics on its own, it serves as a nice base for the citrus oils. I’m drinking mine straight, but I’m sure this would be lovely with a touch of sugar or milk as well. Thanks Dammann!
P.S. – I must say, I’m actually very happy that this advent calendar is in sachet form! It’s so convenient and doesn’t leave me with extra bits of tea to sipdown later. :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Orange, Smooth
Well I woke up to no Internet. I actually have no Internet, no TV and no home phone. And the service provider cannot come for 7 days. And that’s my fault because I can’t accommodate their schedule and refuse to take an entire day off work to wait all day for them to show up and prolly change a dumb cable or something and be done in 15 minutes. It’s amazing how much of my life revolves around Internet.
The smell of the dry tea is very much like Orangina. Sweet but tangy orange citrus. The brewed tea is woody rooibos with kind of medicinal citrus. There is a bit of a metallic tang. There is a sharp aftertaste.
I am not a huge rooibos fan but this one isn’t terrible.
I typed this out on my cell phone. It was horrible :)
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 5th
Ooh, a rooibos today. I know a lot of people who aren’t fans of rooibos, but I happen to like it a lot, especially when it’s well-flavored (as DF tends to do!). The package is such a happy and bright yellow-orange color, and it made me smile when I saw it inside the little door. There are a few small pieces of citrus peel and some yellow flower petals mixed in the with rooibos base. Whoa, the dry scent surprised me. I could smell the citrus, definitely, a combination of lemon and some type of orange. However, it also smelled almost effervescent? So I looked at the description again, and found that it also has “kola” flavor. Doesn’t exactly come to mind when I think of a citrus tea, but I’ll go with it!
I can definitely smell the cola in the steeped tea, and it reminds me of the cola-flavored Bottlecaps candies. Hm, this is a bit strange! I can taste the red rooibos, and then there’s an effervescent cola quality, which for some reason makes the citrus end of this lean more toward lime rather than lemon/orange. So it sort of becomes similar to a lime-flavored cola. However, near the end the cola sort of dissipates and I can taste the lemon and clementine flavors clearly. This is definitely a strange one. Not bad, but unusual.
Aww… Cola isn’t an available flavor to select…
Flavors: Citrus, Lemon, Lime, Orange
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 4th
Ooh, I’m very excited for today’s tea! I’ve heard very good things about this one, and the flavors involved sound right up my alley. Inside the sachet are small and dark black tea leaves mixed with various flower petals. Dry scent is… heavenly. It smells luscious and sweet and buttery, definitely reminiscent of a poppy seed pound cake with almond extract added. I just stood there whiffing for a full five minutes, then with a sigh decided it was time to steep this baby.
Mm, the steeped tea also has a lovely pound cake and marzipan aroma. _(Now I want to bake an almond-flavored pound cake…) Hmm… There’s a very strong musty/powdery taste at the beginning of the sip, which I’ve found a lot in French teas. I’m not sure if it’s something to do with the flavorings they use or what. After that flavor subsides, I can taste the lovely almond pound cake that the aroma promised. I dunno, maybe that musty flavor is supposed to be the poppy part of this? I don’t know what poppy tastes like!
Ugh, so sad. I was really excited for this one… :/ I guess I’ll withhold my rating and try this another time, since others seem to love it so much.
Flavors: Butter, Cake, Marzipan, Musty, Powdered sugar, Sweet
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 3rd
Yay it’s time for advent tea again! I must admit, this is quickly becoming my favorite part of my day. I’ve been pretty impressed with almost every DF tea I’ve tried, and I’m very glad that I chose this calendar to try.
This sachet doesn’t have any ingredients on the packaging. I must admit, I took one whiff and had to come check the intended flavors to see what I was getting myself into, because it smelled quite floral. I can definitely smell the orange blossom very strongly, and there are also slight fruity and sweet scents. I can see little pieces of something mixed with the black tea, but I can’t really tell what they are.
The steeped tea still has a rather strong orange blossom aroma. I can also smell the apricot and possibly some maple/toffee. Hmm… I must say, I wish this blend wasn’t so heavy on the orange blossom flavor. It pretty much takes over and it’s hard to taste anything else. I can taste a bit of the candied apricot and possibly the apple/papaya, but I’m not really getting much of the biscuit, toffee, or maple syrup flavors, which are the ones I was most excited about! I added a bit of raw sugar to the second half of my cup to see if that would help bring out more of the dessert flavors, but I don’t think it was very successful. Oh, I forgot about the chestnut! Yes, I suppose I can taste that flavor a wee bit. Overall, obviously floral is not my favorite note, but I am thankful that it’s orange blossom (which I find somewhat similar to jasmine, more of a sweet floral) and not something like rose or lavender. It’s a good tea, it’s just not meant for me! :P
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Nuts, Orange Blossom, Sweet
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
WOW YUM! Also funny that both teas I drank today had heavy raisin/prune notes. This one is flavored that way, obviously, but tastes very natural. Plump and juicy prunes nomnomnom. It also really did sort of taste like vodka. And although I don’t get a chocolate note, it is naturally sweet tasting. VERY good. Dammann Freres FTW.
Thanks Sil for the sample!!
I quite enjoyed this cuppa. At first, hot, I was getting an earthy floral note. Not very sweet compared to what I expected or knew of fruity teas.
Then as I sipped more, a honey/berry note emerged. If I concentrate, it actually does resemble rhubarb though, but vaguely. Definitely some strawberry in there. No sugar or milk, and I gobbled it down. Not very common in a black non-asian tea, for me!!
Day 1 of Advent Calendar.
This is one of the teas in the calendar I had not tried before.
On first sniff of the tea sachet it smelled strongly of green tea, maybe a bit bitter with strong artificial strawberry scent.
The brewed tea initially tasted quite bland and thin and my first thought was that I needed to add some sweetener. After the tea sat for a bit in my travel mug it thickened up quite a bit. The green tea base is quite creamy and buttery. Slightly vegetal and astringent in the aftertaste. No need to add sweetener becuase the tea also has transformed into hints of sweet strawberry, albeit artificial strawberry. On every few sips I feel like I get a kick, like the kind you get from tart pineapple. I don’t seem to taste any other fruits but the overall taste is vaguely tropical. I think the cornflowers are what is giving the tea the thick feeling. I anticipated it to have a bit of pastry flavour but I am not getting any of that today.
A decent start to the next 24 days.
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
This is a very perfumey tea- smells like potpourri, but does not taste as much like it as you would expect. I enjoy the florals I can taste (and smell!), but the base seemed to contribute very little to the tea, besides maybe a slight astringency on the second steep. There is something cloyingly sweet, which reminds me of crushed tobacco flowers and too-sweet generic airport handsoap that I am just not enjoying in this cup. Strange to hear me say that… an unsweetened tea that I do not like the sweetness of! It’s a brand of sweetness that is not really off putting, but not engendering either. Maybe it’s the lotus? The whole affair feels a little grandmother-y… I know! It tastes how I imagine those floral print couches would, if they were a tea! Haha!
Thanks to Dinosara for the sample!
I’m supposed to be drinking more of my oolongs so that they don’t age too much before I consume them, but my problem now is that I don’t want to drink oolongs right now. A lot of them are very spring-y to me, and now I want rich black teas. So I decided to drink this one—decidedly NOT old, so it doesn’t really help my purpose—because caramel, yum.
I brewed it at a hotter temp today just to see how it would behave, and it was definitely still delicious, although the oolong was more present and slightly more vegetal. I’m happy to let the oolong lurk in the background on this one and just provide butteriness, so I will probably keep future steepings at 195°F.
MOAR CARAMEL TEA!
This is one of Dammann’s new blends for this fall, and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. Salted butter caramel, mmmmm.
This tea is INSANELY caramel smelling. It is almost overpowering. It is also insanely caramel tasting. Once again, distinct from some of my other caramel teas, and not just because this is on an oolong base. I can definitely taste the slightly salty buttery notes in this. It tastes like an amazing soft salted caramel. I think this particular oolong really adds to the butteriness. Normally I might prefer caramel on a black base to make it really rich, but the oolong works here. It really makes it taste like a lightly-cooked caramel, almost a caramel sauce. Very delicious. So glad I have this one! And all of the caramel teas. :D
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Salt
Hm. This is a perfectly nice tea, with absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with it. It’s not bitter at all (except for that ‘not actually bitter’ spice and grapefruit bitterness), it has a perfectly nice and pretty complex taste (some sweetness, some ‘bitterness’, some slight citrus-iness), but I just have other teas that fall into the same tea category (for me, at least) and that I like better.
Specifically, The des deux chinois (Dammann again), which I’m becoming increasingly fond of. Also Everglad (again Dammann), which is a lovely grapefruit tea without much else in the way. Then there’s Mousson sur Hanoi (and again Dammann – sensing a theme here), which has no ingredients in common, but does have a similar kind of green tea + non-bitter bitterness thing going for it, and is utterly lovely and unique. So, sorry Riads, I think I’ve found teas I just like better than you. But I’ll happily sip you down.
By the way, I’m sure that there must be a better word for the non-bitter bitterness that I keep mentioning. I have no clue what it is, though.
Sipdown! (6/202) This was a sample from the EU TTB Round 2.
This came as a single sachet, and was not wrapped in anything, so maybe that affected the flavour. I brewed it for 5 minutes, as suggested on the tag, and could maybe detect a slightly cola-esque scent as it was steeping, but it is totally missing in the flavour. To me, this tastes like a straight black. An average, not particularly complex black tea with maybe a touch of sweetness as you swallow. I really am struggling to say more about it that that. Despite following the brewing instructions, the resulting tea was weak, so I popped the bag in for a couple extra minutes to see if that helped. It did strengthen the tea a bit, but it also became astringent. I drank the last half of the cup with a drop of milk to alleviate the astringency, unfortunately this made the tea even weaker. Maybe if I had more than one serving I could play around with it until I struck the right balance between strength and astringency, but I’m quite glad to not have any more.