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Recent Tasting Notes
This was our third tea at tea time today with my friend and daughters. What a heavenly aroma! I chose this special tea to celebrate the end of JURY DUTY! Hooray! I am not complaining that I got called up. I feel blessed to live in a country where trial by jury is our right. BUT, this week? Really? LOL! Three puppies getting fixed, daughter leaving for Europe, need to go out of town twice, and throw in a couple of days at the courthouse plus my music students. WOW!
So the end of my jury duty was call for celebration! Since I am done, I now get to go along to drive daughter to the airport, the daughter who bought me this tea and has more DF tea waiting for me in N. Ireland, to be brought home to me when she returns. EEEEE!
Delicious! Aromatic! Smooth and lovely base. Yum.
After I gave up on that last cup my mind started wandering, thinking about tea and tea shops, and it wandered right to Dammann Freres. Man, that place was amazing. My next thought was that I wanted one of their amazing teas right away. This tea contains some jasmine green tea, but it’s certianly not too jasminey… I am a little jasmined out after that last bomb.
I steeped this one a little hotter than I have in the past just to test it out at a temp in between black and green since it’s a black/green blend. I think it worked out well! No hints of bitterness or scalding of the green tea. I think there’s a bit more of the black tea base showing up this time, giving it a warmer low note to balance the fresh, fruity, floral notes from the rest of the tea. Ahh, DF, you always hit it just right.
This “mysterious mixture” is good, but I don’t find anything exotic or mysterious about it. It’s a black tea with a variety of fruit flavors. A lot of flavored blacks have bergamot in them, so I was pleased to see Melange Mysterieux does not have it (if I want to drink Earl Grey, I’ll drink it — I don’t always want that Earl Grey flavor creeping into other blends).
I let this steep for five minutes, because when I’m drinking a flavored tea, I like the flavors strong; that’s just how I roll. On first sip, I detect strawberries and raspberries, along with some juicy peach and perhaps a tad (but just a tad) of orange flavor. As I continue drinking it, the black tea base comes through more. I like this black tea – it’s stronger than one would expect in a flavored tea. I can actually taste the tea, and it’s rich and dark, which I like. The finish is sweet with a bit of creaminess.
Overall, this is a good flavored black without being obnoxiously fruity or tasting like dessert in a cup. It’s less fruity than, say, Mariage Freres Marco Polo; but it’s more fruity than Harney’s Paris; and thankfully, the fruit flavors are natural and not artificial tasting. I especially like the rich and smooth base of the black tea, and I like that a variety of fruit flavors are present. It’s a perfect tea to have with scones or other pastries. All I have is a sample tin of this, but I’d be more than happy if another one came my way.
Okay, I have GOT to get a thermometer. Have ruined way-y-y too many potentially good cups lately because I heat my water by the “eh, that looks about right” method. That’s why I tend to stick to black teas, I’m just too spacy and distracted to coddle quality greens and oolongs. (Got any recommendations for can’t-ruin-it-no-matter-how-hot-you-get-the-water blends/brands in either category?)
At any rate, this one started out bitter and somewhat disappointingly. However, a sloppily tossed in sugar cube has rescued it somewhat and brought back the caramel and chestnut flavor somewhat. I’ll do better next time. Maybe. I’ll really concentrate and pay attention. Oh, look…a robin!
Mmm, I love this tea. It’s definitely the best fig flavored tea I’ve tried, and I love how all the flavors are both a little independant and then at once meld to form one awesome flavor. I haven’t had this one in a while and I couldn’t remember whether the rose was very prominent or not, but it’s definitely in the “there if you look for it, but not overwhelming” category. This tea is for sure on my reorder when I run out list from Dammann.
We enjoyed this one at tea party today. I have to cut the temp and time to drink this, otherwise it is too harsh for me. I used 195 degree water for 3 1/2 minutes. It paired wonderfully with our eclairs and cookies. It is not a super smooth tea like Coquelicot Gourmand, but has a bit of kick to it, which I like as long as I cut the time down!
I seem to be allergic to the heat in my house, which explains the mega sneezing/runny nose fits I have mornings there in the winter, but not anywhere else and not any other season. Bleh. By the time I get to work it’s usually settling down a bit but I’m still a little sneezy.
Of all my Dammann Freres teas, I have the least of this one left, mostly because I have sent a bunch of samples of it out. That’s ok, though, because though I do really enjoy this tea, it’s not one I have to keep in my cupboard. It is a nice morning cup. Not too complex, a lovely blend of flavors, and a smooth black tea base. Chocolate/hazelnut is a common blend, and the orange adds a little punch of citrus to this, but not enough to make me crave it. It is, however, enough to make me crave more Dammann teas… curse my tea-buying ban! :)
Mm, I haven’t had one of my Dammann teas in a while. This tea is so wonderful… floral and almondy. The blend is just about perfect for me. I really want to try more of Dammann’s teas, but for whatever reason ordering internationally is more of a hurdle. I’ve even encountered similar shipping rates on US tea companies shipping within the country (I know, right?… usually I wouldn’t bother, but a lot of times I’ll have a groupon or something and not have a choice), but it’s like there’s a mental block. Of course I’m on a tea buying moratorium right now so it’s not an issue. It will probably just come down to when I actually run out of this tea and am forced to order because I can’t stand it! :)
My daughter ordered a couple of Dammann Frères teas for me for Christmas and they sent a few samples along as well. I thought the sample pouch for this one looked tiny, and when I cut open the little pouch, found a sachet instead of loose tea. The scent was mostly just oolong. We are not picking up much floral aroma.
I began steeping this in the sachet. The liquor was incredibly pale and a trial sip was very weak, so I decided to cut open the sachet to let the leaves expand more. The sachet was fairly bursting at the seams at that point. Once the leaves were released they expanded beautifully and are now huge!
Because of all the waiting, testing, cutting, the tea oversteeped a wee bit. The first cup reminded me of tender greens, something local farmers sell but I am ot sure if they are called that everywhere. I think it is a mix of baby turnip green leaves and bany mustard green leaves. This first steep is a little stronger than what I usually mean when I say something tastes like buttered veggies because usually I am thinking squash or bok choi.
The second steep is better since I can now time it accurately and the leaves are free. It is milder and still very pale. The osmanthus is so light that I would probably mistake it for a natural floral note rather than a scenting of the leaves with flowers. The oolong itself is filling my head with warm, woodsy flavor. There is a ittle roasty toasty something about this oolong. It is a somewhat drying, but not at all bitter. I recently read some Chinese tea reviews that indicate that this is often highly desired as a means of clearing the palate after a meal.
The third steep is still woodsy and tasty. I think this may go to five steeps, but I don’t expect to go much beyond that and still have flavor. We shall see!
I felt terrible for not loving this right away like other reviewers seemed to do. The first pot I made was so strong that I was certain there was Assam in the base. I looked at the review and saw that it is Keemun instead. Ah, that explains it. Though I love Fujian province teas, I have not yet developed a taste for the stronger Keemuns, and this is one of them. I love Harney’s English Breakfast which is 100% Keemun, but I take it with milk and sugar. I didn’t care for their Hao Ya A or B, though I liked Mao Feng. Hao Ya A from Southern Season is very mild compared to Harney’s, and youngest and I like it better, though a Keemun lover would be disappointed in it I expect.
I decided to reduce my steeping temp just a bit to around 205 degrees and reduce the time to 3 1/2 minutes. Now I have something I can drink even plain! It has less body, but is still quite bracing.
I have a good friend who comes over for tea who is probably going to love this one. It reminds me of coffee, and she is a former coffee drinker.
Youngest found it too sweet, but then she has never had a chocolate tea that she liked, and drinks very little flavored tea at all, preferring lapsangs and Assams.
My oldest daughter bought me this tea for Christmas, along with Charlotte Au Chocolat. There were three samples in the box as well. I am not sure if they were ordered or are compliments of Dammann Freres. The bottom line…this tea was worth waiting for. It is smooth and delicious, refined and artfully blended.
The dry leaves are beautiful with the blue flower petals and poppies. The aroma is so nice. This is magnificent tea. It must be for me to break down and make a cup at two in the morning…
Tea of the morning……
And tea 24 of 24! This one is from Dinosara, and I am in love. I don’t know what it is about this one. Usually I am not a fan when there are many flavors going on, but I am thoroughly impressed with the way Dammann Freres blends their tea into such a perfect cup. There are not ever any standouts…they are are blended together seamlessly. I can’t really say what exactly it is I am tasting, but it is delish! This company is definitely on my future order wish list!
Usual Mug method.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever brings your family and loved ones together this season, even if it is only to spend time with each other. May your travels be safe and uneventful, and your time blessed. And Happy New Year, too!
Tea of the completely wrong time of the day…..I don’t usually drink tea in the evening, so lets hope I can go to sleep later…..
Tea 21 of 24……..This is from Dinosara from her world travels, and I feel so lucky to have a chance to sample the teas she brought back from Paris. Thank you! I usually find blood orange to be overpowering, but in this tea it is perfectly balanced with the chocolate and the tea base. I could not detect the hazelnut as a standout flavor, but I do think it was kind of the flavor that smoothed all the other flavors together, rather than being able to taste each on its own. I am definitely much more impressed with the flavored teas from Dammann Freres than the flavored ones from Marriage Freres.
Not your typical Christmas tea! But it just might be a nice one for thinking of warmer times when it’s cold out. It’s just so bright and cheery! I love the jasmine in combination with the mango/passion in this one. This is also a black/green blend that really works. Some people might be missing some of the black tea notes, especially when brewed a this temperature, but I’m cool with them laying low in the flavor.
Did a pot this afternoon and let it go the full recommended five minutes. The mild sweetness I got when at three minutes is now downright rich and almost milky-creamy, but it’s making the oolong base a little more bitter than I care for. All the same, this is a really, really good pastry-ish tea.
Next time I’ll put time right in the middle zone and expect nothing but awesome.
I tried this without consulting any previous tasting notes and, evidently, steeped it on the light side (I don’t generally leave oolongs more than 2-3 minutes). So what I was tasting was surely on the light side—-I was thinking caramel and thoroughly enjoying it.
Now I’m reading that this nice sweet little additive is chestnut. Obviously, I wouldn’t recognize a chestnut if it exploded in the Yule log fireplace and bonked me on the head. But now that I’ve made its acquaintance, I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. Can’t wait for a revisit with correct steeping time!
I think, after what happened friday and yesterday, we all need a bit of a calming cup. The actual drama bit wasn’t particularly nice, but I appreciated the things that were brought to light afterwards. It was very informative.
So here’s my calming cup. This one came to me from Dinosara. It has blood orange, chocolate and hazelnut in it. That sounds like a rather wonderful combination, doesn’t it? I can’t believe it was allowed to sit and be almost forgotten in my cupboard. (I think it’s because of the french name. I don’t speak french, so it doesn’t stick in my head.
I shared it with the boyfriend, who thought it smelled like christmas. I can sort of see where he gets that from, but personally I think it just smells like sweets. It’s very heavy on the chocolate and hazelnut in the aroma. Like a melted chocolate bar. I’m not sure I can find any orange in the aroma, because I can’t work out if what I’m smelling is really just another aspect of the hazelnut.
With the aroma being so thick and heavy, it’s almost a surprise to take a sip and find it not having the texture of aforementioned melted chocolate bar. Instead I find the orange is coming through here on the first half of the sip and then the rest of it being all hazelnutty astringency. I’m not sure about the chocolate, though. I can’t really peg it down but I feel like it’s there somewhere. Or rather, I feel like there would definitely be a difference if it wasn’t there, if you know what I mean.
This is not nearly as sweet as I was initially expecting, but apart from the very initial disappointment about this, I have come to decide that it’s probably for the best. If it had been sweet, I think it would quickly just have become rather cloying.
As I made a large pot to share with the male of the household, I used all the leaves I had been sent. Had I not done that, I might have used the rest in an experiment involving vanilla. (Lately I find that it’s all sorts of fun adding vanilla black to… everything.)
Tea of the morning……
And Day 1 of my 24 teas of Christmas. I am just trying to finally get to a good portion of the samples generously sent to me by my Steepsterite friends, so it also becomes a counting of blessings, really. (And yes, I am counting up to Christmas, just because that is the way my family celebrates the season. Please don’t take that as a slight that I don’t respect how you spend this season.)
This tea is really good…..berry notes, a little almond, a little breadyness. Full mouth feel and a tea base that complements the flavors. A little lighter than something like Paris or Fruits de’Alsace from Harney, but still very present. Well done. I have a few more samples from this company sent to me by Dinosara along with this one , and I cannot wait to try them all!
Steeped the usual 24 oz teapot method.
Yup, there’s definitely something off today, because I’m getting a slightly bright metallic taste from this one too, except not quite as much as the Passionate Rose earlier. Not sure what it is because I had a cup of the water plain with lunch and I didn’t notice anything odd about it. Perhaps the kettle, or my steeping basket (but neither of them look different from normal)? Who knows, but I hope it goes away soon. I have a ton of new tea coming to me, and I want the best conditions to taste it!
Mm, I love the rich florals over the fruits in this tea. The citrus and the fig and the lotus and the rose all blend together so well. There’s something so luxurious about it; I think it’s partly the fig, which grounds what might otherwise be bright citrus notes, and partly the rose/lotus, which I think in general are pretty “thick” florals. This is no light flowery tea… these are heady, intoxicating aromas and flavors. Definitely recommended for fans of floral teas.
Going back and trying all of these teas is amazing because I’m pretty sure I forgot how awesome they were in the intervening time, but I also feel like have nothing to write for my tasting notes. But I still write them because I like tasting notes.
This one is almost sweet today… it’s a tantalizing, lingering sweetness that isn’t as much in the sip as in the aftertaste. The main part of the sip is mango-y and a bit floral and lightly almondy (like a macaron, of course), but I can taste the vegetal grassiness from the Sencha as well and it’s a nice grounding note. They combine well but also remain distinct, as if you were eating a macaron and drinking a cup of green tea at the same time. Delish.
Last Friday I said that this week I would be revisiting all my favorite teas, which I haven’t drank in a long while. Of course, this week I will only be around my stash for two days before traveling for Thanksgiving, so perhaps I will need to stretch my “favorites” resolution to after this week. In reality I’d like to revisit a lot of teas that I haven’t gotten around to in a while, not just my absolute faves, so I’m going to try to mix things up a bit in general.
Anyway, what better way to start out than this one? So almondy and floral. This is one of the few teas I’ve encountered that really does give me that sweet almond marzipan flavor I look for in an almond tea. I love this tea but I don’t want to drink it up so fast because I have to order it from France when I run out! On the other hand, that means an order to Dammann Fréres in which I can order all kinds of other teas as well. Maybe I should drink it up to make an excuse for myself! :D