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Recent Tasting Notes
There is no action that will sober you more about your tea collection than attempting to unpack it into something. I bought a small set of drawers just for my tea for the office and let’s just say there is still a cardboard box full of tea sitting next to it. I have a lot of tea! Somehow it didn’t seem like as much when it was just sitting in boxes. One thing I still have to deal with is the teas from my Instant Thé order, which all are in non-airtight bags, and of course I don’t have enough 50g tins. But if I do get tins from them they definitely won’t all fit in there!
Anyway, this tea. The scent is crazy and hard to parse. It definitely smells floral (orange blossom I guess), and I do get some chestnut, and perhaps a hint of caramel. In the flavor it is definitely floral and chestnutty. The florals are kind of odd; not definitively orange blossom, but intensely floral nonetheless. Perhaps its the chestnut that I am not used to that is giving this an oddness to it for me. It’s pretty good, but the flavor profile is a little out of my comfort zone. It probably doesn’t help that I’m suddenly feeling a bit ill this morning (nothing to do with the tea, it started before that; probably to do with getting up way to early this morning). Well hopefully tea will help me feel better!
Cold brew sipdown! I was supposed to sip this down on last Thursday before I went out of town but I ended up with an extra scoop of leaf. So I threw that in with a bit of Bali to amp the lychee and it turned out well. I prefer it with more lychee and less banana blossom, although the banana blossom is still there to give it a unique flavor. This was a fun one to try out but it’s nice to sip it down!
I am working toward a sipdown on this one too, and I’ve mostly been cold brewing it. But I forgot most of my sipdown teas at work this weekend (meant to bring them home so I could keep working on sipdowns) so I thought I would have a hot cup of this one.
I like the lychee in this one, and the Vietnamese green tea is fine (although a bit more grassy and vegetal than I would prefer), but the banana flower is… kinda weird. It’s not quite banana, more like a floral banana. So, weird. But it’s overall pretty tasty, even hot.
I think I enjoy this tea primarily because of the novelty of the Vietnamese green tea. I mean, the flavors are pretty nice too, but nothing that really captivates me. There is lychee, there is banana flower (so, like banana but not quite), and there is a pleasant green tea base. I should probably try cold steeping this one because it would probably come across really well. For a flavored green tea it is quite tasty, and that is saying something for me because flavored greens and I are not really that friendly anymore. But I do enjoy this one and it’s somewhat unusual flavor profiles.
I didn’t order many green blends since I haven’t been as much of a fan of those lately, but the ones I do still like are Dammann, so I figured it wasn’t too much of a risk. This one was especially intriguing because it is definitely not a sencha… it’s actually green tea from Vietnam, which I don’t think I’ve ever tried before. Cool!
The dry leaf smells like lychees and a bit of banana, but not too much. Kind of reminds me of a smoothie made with banana, in that you can taste it but it’s not the main event. This is actually supposed to be banana flower, so I guess that makes sense. The flavor is definitely floral, as lychees tend to be fairly floral on their own, plus the addition of other, distinct florals blends well. The banana florals are pretty neat; I typically am not huge on banana flavoring, but these are nice and banana-y without overkill. This isn’t a mind-blowingly awesome tea, but it is tasty and I bet it would also make a killer iced tea. A nice, light fruity blend for when I’m in the mood.
This is another one of those, if I loved puerh I would be in love with this tea. Still, I definitely enjoy it all the same; it just takes me a bit to reorient my flavor and scent expectations for a puerh.
I love the caramel-cookie notes in this, and how rich and sweet it is. I would actually restock this one as I do like to keep one puerh around. I have no problem drinkinga big cup of this one, which is not something I can say about most puerhs.
Another from my box of Dammann! I’m not usually one for flavored puerhs, or puerhs in general, but the chance to get only 50g of this (instead of the required 100g in store) was tempting enough to jump on. I mean, cookie, caramel, vanilla, and almond? How could I say no?
The dry leaf smells deliciously like all of those things. At first the scents coming from the brewing tea were mostly those as well, but slowly as it steeped longer more and more puerh notes were coming to the forefront. After steeping I find this to smell like a pretty woody puerh, like sawdust or oak bourbon barrels, without too much dirt/earth. As it cools more and more vanilla and caramel come out as well. Mmm caramel wood, haha.
I love Dammann’s caramel flavoring (see their Caramel Toffee tea, which I restocked in this order), and it is present in full force in this tea. So that works out pretty well for me. I can definitely taste the puerh, woody and even a tad minerally, but fortunately for me it is not too strong. I am definitely enjoying this tea; I guess I prefer my woody puerhs doused in caramel, vanilla, and a hint of amaretto-y almond. :)
Speaking of simple teas that do one flavor and do it well, next we have this tea. I’m in love with many of DF’s fig-based teas, and this one is no exception. I love that it’s nice and figgy, smooth, well-balanced base tea, not too much going on. It would probably be fabulous iced but it’s also one of those teas that I don’t necessarily want to use it up that fast! But perhaps I will try it at some point. I would certainly consider keeping this tea around despite the fact I have many other figgy DF teas in my cupboard already!
You know when you get a lot of tea at once and you don’t know where to start? That’s how I feel about my order from Instant Thé that came yesterday. I ordered 13 teas and got three free samples, bringing my cupboard up to 144.
I chose this one as the first from the box, as the whole box smells like fig (actually at least two of the teas I bought have fig in them, maybe more) and it was making me crave a fig tea. It unsurprisingly smells, and tastes, very figgy. If you like figs, you would love this tea because it is very intensely figgy. I love figs (fig season is perhaps my favorite fruit season), so this tea is AMAZING. Perhaps a bit more black figs than green figs, sweet but not too sweet, rich and delicious. So pleased with this one!
Next up, a stroll through the Tuileries. I wish!
This is such a unique tea. Some things you might expect to go together: pineapple and coconut (ok), cereals and chocolate (sure), a variety of florals (yeah [but tomato blossom?]), but then put all of them together on a green oolong? Weird. But it works. When you drink it, it’s impossible to really pinpoint what it tastes like. Nevertheless, I like it, and it’s my kind of tea.
There were a few teas I had to buy at Dammann when I was there, and they were all three of the “Jardin” teas: des Tuileries, du Trocadero, and du Luxembourg. They are all green oolong blends, which I haven’t had from Dammann before but I trust them to make awesome. They are also pretty pricey, relative to their teas.
This afternoon I sniffed all of them and they all smelled delicious, but this one called to me. It has a lot going on, but one of the main scents I got is somewhat cookie-like, which must be the combination of chocolate and cereals, and perhaps the coconut milk. Then of course some fruitiness (pineapple) and a large amount of florals (tiare, tomato and cherry flower). I had to look up tiare, but its a type of gardenia.
The flavor was complex and quite tasty. All of those notes, plus, amazingly a bit of floral, buttery green oolong peeking through. It is, as I like to say, very French, which means all the flavors blend so well together they are hard to pick apart, and I often don’t really want to. They all work so well together. I can’t wait to try the others!
I believe this is the right tea. Mine came as a sample tea sachet with a Dammann Freres order. I have had it for quite a while so it is quite possible that the quality has suffered.
First, I confess that my initial experiences with Darjeeling as a tea newbie were not good and it was all my fault. I didn’t know better and made them just like any black tea. After I learned a bit and made them as they should be, I liked them a bit more, especially one or two special ones. I preferred Chinese black teas over Darjeelings and gave up on most Indian tea altogether, except for a few blends.
I feel that this makes me unqualified to judge this tea, but I can state my opinion of it. It is smooth enough to drink without additions. There is definitely some fruity astringency, but not enough to make me to see it. I even did a second steep, because I still have some cubes of Dubliner cheese left and wanted tea!
I expect that a Darjeeling lover would have to great things to say about this tea, but this is not something that appeals to me. It was fun to give it a try! One of my favorite Darjeelings is a very earthy one from Luis Tea that my daughter bought in Budapest. The real Darjeeling enthusiast probably wouldn’t even like it because it is so different!
No 12 from TTB-A
I have to confess, I’m really enjoying sampling teas in this way!
These little cups hold just enough tea for a quick sample, & if it’s something I don’t care for, I don’t feel so bad dumping it out.
The one is not getting dumped! It’s tasty!
And that’s enough sampling for now, I have a gig in a little while, the monthly tea party at the nursing home. Time to get ready.
I got the most amazing mystery box from shmiracles. Seriously, if she ever offers to send you a box, don’t miss the opportunity! There are some 20+ teas all indivually wrapped in foil pouches. It took me about 10 minutes of sifting to decide where to begin. I chose this one.
It was described as chocolaty and maraschino cherry. I totally got the cherry, a little chocolate. The fun thing about the mystery box is you get a bunch of teas that you probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. A great chance to expand the horizons! This tea was perfect example of that. And I really liked it. Probably not a keep stocked on the shelf tea, but a tea I would happily drink if offered.
This is my first tasting note and it’s making me strangely nervous. I am still working out what kinds of tea I like (but then – isn’t everyone?) AND how to prepare them properly/to my liking, so I don’t feel quite ‘qualified’ to be assessing a tea, but here we go!
I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and raided Mariage Freres. I only found out about them because of Steepster, so – thank you Steepster. Then I had to wait for 3 days before I could try any of the teas, since I couldn’t boil water at the hotel. Now that was a mild form of torture. Oh, by the way – does anyone know why tea is so expensive in Parisian cafes? It tends to be around 5-6 (or more) euros per cup.
I absolutely loved MF’s De-stress tea (green & flowery/herby) and Confucius (smokey oolong! the joy!), but while I was decently happy with both Marco Polo and Pleine Lune, I wasn’t over the moon about them. [sorry, couldn’t resist.] I’d always been drawn to flavoured black tea, but with the exception of a whole lot of variations of chais and Earl Greys/citruses, I hadn’t had much luck.
Then I read someone’s comment here about how Dammann does flavoured blacks better than MF, and went ‘Sh&&&&&&&t! And I just got back from Paris!’. Well, turns out there was no cause for alarm, since Dammann ships to all of Europe for free for orders of 40 euros or more, so I notified a couple of tea-lovers-in-training and we ordered ourselves a package.
The package arrived 4 days later, i.e. 20 minutes ago. First thought – getting a package full of tea is BRILLIANT. Second thought – Charlotte au Chocolat!!
THIS BE WHERE THE ACTUAL TEA REVIEW STARTS
This tea smells amazing. Clearly chocolatey, but somehow ‘deeper’. After steeping it smelled even more chocolatey, and still completely lovely. As for the taste, that’s what’s got me here and typing. First of all – it’s delicious. I tried Tesco’s chocolate tea as a first attempt at chocolate teas, and it was actually quite tasty. But this one is nothing like it. It’s much less obvious and much more complex. There was a slightly bitter note, but not in an unpleasant way. There was chocolate – really yummy chocolate – but not in a hot chocolate kind of way. More in a hot cocoa with no milk way, but better. [I actually love no-milk hot cocoa. With tons of sugar, naturally]. And then there was – FIG. Lots of fig.
I couldn’t remember anyone mentioning anything figgy about this tea, just almonds and sunflowers. So I double-checked, and sure enough, no fig mentions. No fig in the ingredients. I even for a second thought I might have accidentally received one of Dammann’s fig teas, but then I remember the strong chocolateness of the smell [and taste] so that wasn’t possible. A tea mystery. But, seeing as I absolutely love fig, all of this just ended up making me very very happy. Especially since the fig flavour is pretty much exactly how I would have hoped a fig tea would end up tasting. A successful flavoured black tea experiment with a fig bonus! Joy.
I first tried the tea plain, then got the craving for something a bit sweeter and creamier and not-at-all bitter, so I added first sugar and then also a bit of milk. Tastes marvelous in all incarnation. Must try this tea again. But before that – I hear Everglad (green tea with pink grapefruit) calling ;)
Another sample sipdown! Thank you Ysaurella!
The St. Louis cardinals won, 10 – 1, completing a 4 game sweep of the Brewers.
This was my celebration tea, & victory is sweet! This lovely tea combines a blend of black teas with strawberries, rhubarb, & florals. It was a very nice cup, & Tony enjoyed it too!
Thank you, Ysaurella, for this wonderful tea trade! I hope the teas I sent you have finally arrived, & I also hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed the ones you sent to me!
I love the photograph of this tea! It is so graceful, so beautiful, so enticing. As far as Rose teas go, it was nice. I have had stronger ones, & many weaker ones, & this was a very pleasant cup for me, especially because the flavor was a true rose flavor, not artificial tasting at all.
This was my 2nd cup for my bubble bath, & I chose to have this because the scent of roses can be so soothing, & I’ve been out of sorts today, with a headache & a sense of irritation throughout. These are classic early allergy symptoms for me, including itchy eyes. My oldest daughter, who lives a block away, is having some of the same. I can’t believe we’ve had snow flurries on & off throughout the day, & some kind of allergen in the air already. This tea offered the cup of soothing that I needed.