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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Got a sample of this one from Miss B!
I didn’t find the flavours super strong, they didn’t punch me in the face or anything, but I realize that is probably typical of “scented” french teas.
I have this mission to try as many French teas as possible. Though I can’t afford to buy online and I don’t seem to be able to find them at my local Winners or Homesense stores like some other lucky people.
Perhaps someday France will be on my travel menu!
I found this relaxing and enjoyable to drink. Not my favourite one so far, but nice. It kind of ended up like a random blend of unnameable fruits to me. Ah well :) Glad to have tried it!!
I liked Velours Nacre better though!
It seems like peach is one of those flavours I don’t instantly gravitate toward as a favourite tea thing, but will very occasionally really fancy. And I do really fancy this one! It’s juicy and peachy and there’s a warmth that comes from the vanilla and it’s just really lovely. Dammann does do fruits well, my goodness, they do. The base sits in balance with the flavours, and there’s a little floral whisper that makes it feel like an elegant summer afternoon in a resplendent garden.
Given how grim the view is out my office window today, it’s a welcome distraction.
This is another free sample that was included with my Dammann Frères purchase. I must say, I wasn’t too excited to see this one, since I’m generally not a big fan of fruit blends that include hibiscus or rose hips, and this one happens to include both. Ah well, c’est la vie. At least the name is kind of charming, it means “summer night”. The tea itself was in very small pieces inside the sachet, and I could see hibiscus and rose hips as well as what I assume was apple and something that resembled nuts. Dry scent is very lush and candylike strawberry and raspberry. I used one sachet in my 8 ounces of water.
The tea steeped up a dark pinkish red thanks to the hibiscus. Surprisingly, it doesn’t smell overly tart, mostly just of sweet berries. However, it does taste quite tart, and I’m not adding sugar to my teas anymore, so it’s a bit hard to drink. I can kind of taste strawberry, raspberry is definitely there, but I’m not picking up on any cream. The tart hibiscus flavor is too strong and overpowers any sweetness that may have been here. This one’s not for me, unfortunately.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Raspberry, Rosehips, Sour, Strawberry, Tart
This was one of the free samples that came with my Dammann Frères advent calendar. I find myself liking mint and herbal tisanes more and more these days, especially in the evening, so I was not disappointed to see it in the box. Visually, it’s a mix of variously-sized chunks of pastel dried herbs. It smells mostly of peppermint, but overall the scent is mild. I used 8 ounces of water for my single sachet.
Once steeped, I can still smell peppermint the most, but I can also pick up mixed citrus from the lemongrass and orange blossom. Overall, the aroma is quite mellow. Overall, this is a tasty combination. The mint is bright and refreshing but still mild, and all of the citrus-based herbs meld together well into a nice lemony orange concoction. The linden serves as a nice herbal, lightly floral base and helps the blend have a more substantial texture overall. Very nice.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Thick
Backlog from yesterday night
This is an interesting chai tea and as its name suggests it, this is a Rwandan tea. Which is rarer than a chai made on an Indian tea base .
We immediately see by the size and type of leaves that we are dealing with a Rwandan tea. The leaves are super short , with a chocolate colour and have almost a circle shape.
We have lovely and nice mixed spices : ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pink berries
I opted for an Indian style of preparation because of the gloomy weather. I got so a barely beige liquor.
This chai had not a very strong flavor , spices are present, very mixed, difficult to feel each one separately. Cardamom is nonetheless a little more present in this chai .
I’m not super excited . I much preferred Anichaï of Dammann Frères too . I love an heavy spice chai , this one was very discreet.
But my cat loved it :)
You can see pics of this tea and of the thief cat here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/the-des-mille-collines-dammann-freres/
I find it funny when there are teas that are added to the Steepster database but there are no reviews or limited information added. It makes me wonder who added it or why it was added if the information is incomplete. Anyway….
This was a free sample with my last Dammann order. The dry and brewed tea smells strongly of verbena. There are strong mint and verbena flavours over top of a lighter citrus flavour. The citrus leaning more towards lemon than lime or orange. This is a hard one to describe because this tea has no sweetness to it, but it is not astringent or bitter or sour, I have no word to describe that part of it. The mint lingers a long time in the aftertaste.
I was a little scared I would not like this one based on the ingredients but it did not turn out too bad.
This was a sample from TeaTiff. The leaves are very small and somewhat broken, and almost black in color. There are a few ivory-colored flower petals mixed in along with a few other bits and bobs that I can’t identify. Dry scent is vaguely sweet and dessert-y, I can pick out almond but not necessarily chocolate.
Mm, aroma! Steeped, this tea smells heavily of cream along with some almond and orange. This tea is almost creamsicle-y, but with more emphasis on the cream than the orange. I’m not really getting any chocolate, but there’s definitely an almond pastry flavor, which is quite lovely. This tea brings to mind some kind of orange and almond-flavored tea cake with glaze. I’m sure a touch of sugar would bring out the dessert flavors even more.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Malt, Orange, Pastries
Went through my drawers in the office and realized I had this one left over from a while ago. It was a single serving so it was completely sealed so I figured it would still be good and let me tell you oh yes it is still delicious. I love Dammann Freres they have such interesting flavor combinations. I am a big fan of marzipan and in this tea it is quite nice. A sublte nutty flavor too yum. It’s finally getting chilly here so this is such a delight to warm me up on this chilly morning. :-)
Flavors: Almond, Marzipan
My eldest daughter spent a few days touring Europe while we were in Ireland and she brought this back for my youngest daughter. I believe she bought it in Amsterdam. I don’t now how she finds these tea shops that sell such nice teas, but she always does.
A couple of years ago, she brought us Lapsang Souchong Crocodile by Dammann Freres. This is definitely lighter on the smoke and has a lighter feel to the base, perhaps just because the smoke level is different.
This is very smooth and what I would consider a middle ground Lapsang – not as light as a smokey Keemun but far from tarry. It is a very pleasant Lapsang and we used it as our breakfast tea.
A sample from greenteafairy! I love trying French teas, so I tend to gravitate toward them when I’m poking around in people’s cupboards for swap ideas. My sample of this doesn’t have any red berries in it, and the leaves are smallish and a dark reddish brown. Dry scent is yummy sweet and tart strawberry mixed with cherry.
Steeped, it smells lovely. It’s both tart and sweet with a touch of candylike juiciness. The taste of this one actually kind of reminds me of Dammann’s 4, 5, 6, Cuellier des Cerises, which I suppose makes sense. It has that same deep, rich, somewhat tart fruit flavor, and there’s definitely a strong cherry presence. I do also get a touch of strawberry though, and it adds a little bit of brightness to the heavier cherry. There’s also a nice mellow malt flavor running through it from the base tea, and a bit of dark caramelized brown sugar richness. Overall, yums.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Cherry, Malt, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart
Received this as a free sample from Dammann.
I initially thought this was a black tea as it was packaged in the black coloured packaging which generally signifies black tea with Dammann. The tea description was in French but I could make out ‘Chinese dark tea’, so assumed black. I obviously did not put much thought to the name or I would have realized what I was getting into.
Upon opening the package I realized quite quickly that this was an oolong. It is a darker oolong but I would not describe it as roasted. I often mistake the smell of osmanthe flowers as jasmine. So jasmine was my first thought when I smelled the dry tea sachet.
The brewed tea brews up nice, light and clear. It has the osmanthe/jamsine flavour and scent. The oolong is very light, slightly floral but also with some butteryness. There is a nice light and natural sweetness to the tea.
These are not my favorite kind of oolongs, but this one was quite a nice surprise. It is quite good even after it has cooled in my cup becuase I have been too busy at work to drink it.
I really like this tea. I’m having a bit of trouble describing it, though, because it’s quite unlike any other tea I have (and I have plenty). The taste is really lovely, and I kind of keep sniffing at it. It really does smell very similar to a rose tea, but somehow not quite as floral, not quite as sweet. I think it’s the combination of Vietnamese tea and lychee.
Now, I have no idea what Vietnamese tea is supposed to taste like, because this is the only one I’ve tried, but I do get the feeling that it gives quite a bit of character to the blend. It really doesn’t taste like anything else I can think of and it’s not just the banana flower. On that note, I have no idea what banana flower is supposed to taste like, and I don’t really taste anything bananaish but I definitely taste more than just lychee.
There is a ‘dryness’ to the flavour that reminds me of one of those grapefruit & spices blends, like The des Deux Chinois or The des Riads, but it’s not quite that. Not surprisingly, since there is no citrus and no spice in this one. But it’s a very pleasant dryness in my opinion, and one I definitely feel in the mood for at times and then I go straight for this tea. Other times I go straight for this tea just because it’s so cool and unusual.
Try it, it’s an experience.
A very nice, simple, refreshing tea. I wanted to get a grapefruit tea for my boyfriend because he liked a Detox one we were given to try at Kusmi and in general, with Kusmi, I figure I can find a similar kind of tea for a much lower price elsewhere. And indeed – this one is lovely, grapefruity, and wonderfully affordable due to its Dammannness.
It’s not at all bitter, but it’s also not really sweet. It’s kind of like a perfect grapefruit, though the grapefruit taste is also decently subtle. But it’s the main flavour, so it’s definitely there. I don’t really have too much to say about it, I just like it. And it’s nice for when I want a break from all the sweet or floral greens that I have and when I don’t want anything with spices in it (such as The des Riads, which is also grapefruity and lovely, but in a rather different way).
I really like this tea. It’s unusual and lovely and everyone I’ve served it to has liked it. Plus I love that is has the weirdest list of ingredients I’ve seen so far. I need to actually make it again to write a proper review, but I’m updating my Steepster cupboard listing and wanted to make sure that I mention that this one is lovely. Also, I think the first time I made it I was watching Moonrise Kingdom, so now it reminds me of that movie.
I loved this one the first time I made it, and then the second time I just liked it. I think I need to figure out just how to prepare it, but it definitely has a lot of potential.
A note – it’s a vanilla and hazelnut black tea. The other day, I mixed my Notting Hill (Tea Palace’s vanilla black with some decorative flower petals) with Adagio’s black Hazelnut tea and it was very very yummy and very very vanilla and hazelnutty. This tea is nothing like that – it tasted much more subtle, but still sweet and lovely. And whereas I drank my mixed tea with milk and sugar, I drank Fleurilege plain and I get the feeling that’s the way it works best.
Must try it again before adding a rating.
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).
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
This is my third try with this tea, and I’m giving it a not great score (76) because I really do seem to find it underwhelming considering how interesting the ingredients are. And yet, I have a feeling I’ll be increasing the rating later on… let’s see if I’m correct.
I still get the perfectly nice oolong base here, though I also have that bit of extra ‘heaviness’ that I seem to get from flavoured greenish oolongs when compared to just flavoured greens. (Not sure how else to describe it…) I also still get the slight sourness of I think rhubarb. But then I noticed a rather distinct lilac flavour all of a sudden in the middle of drinking this cup – or, at least, what I’d imagine lilac would taste like based on its smell. And I love the smell of lilac, so that was lovely, but then it kind of went away again. A bit of a shy note? Still smells like lilac, though, and something else… maybe a bit of that raspberry? I’m really not sure. But I think something vaguely sweetish. Will have to keep playing with this tea and see what happens.
One interesting this about this one – I have a lot of trouble getting it into a spoon in order to measure it. It has these rather firm, very long and thinly twisted leaves, which just doesn’t like my Perfect Tea Spoon… or any spoon, really. I wonder what kind of oolong it is.
So, I just accidentally deleted the first two paragraphs of the 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…