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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog, had this one this morning with free hot water from the coffee shop. It was not as flavorful as usual, but I don’t know if it was the water or if there was just too much water for this sachet. I think the Dammann sachets tend to be smaller and only for a smaller cup, so they’re not quite big enough for my travel mug, which I believe is 16oz.
This time at the airport in Detroit a coffee shop sold me a cup of hot water that I then poured into my travel mug. They actually sold me a cup of hot water, not tea, for 50 cents (the tea was almost $3!). Well it worked out. And this tea is fantastic, of course. Possibly there was too much water for the one sachet in my mug so it was a touch weak, but it was still delicious.
Discovered today that Asha Tea House is on my way from my hotel to the museum, so I will pass it every morning… unfortunately it doesn’t open until noon! None of the tea houses open early here, so I am forced to be without good tea in the morning (hotel room coffee maker hot water is not something I would subject myself to).
Maaaaaaaaan I am tired. I had an all-day job interview today and last night I woke up at least once an hour all night. This morning I was exhausted and extremely nervous, so it was all I could do to force down half a piece of toast and some yogurt for breakfast (knowing I wouldn’t be getting lunch until 1pm). I made a cup of this with some hot water from the hotel continental breakfast in a styrofoam cup, and against all the odds it was still delicious.
There is something very comforting about traveling with sachets of your favorite teas. You can be super sleep deprived, worn down, in horrible conditions, and you can always rely on the ease of the sachet and the fact that it will be familiar and delicious. Glad I had this one this morning.
I’ve been traveling recently, which is why I’ve been so quiet again. This is another short trip, though, so I’ll be back in action relatively soon.
My parents don’t have a tea kettle so I have to boil water in a pan on the stovetop, which isn’t so bad with a small pan. I’ve been tea deprived for several days now, so it’s nice to settle down after violent thunderstorms with a hot cup of Dammann tea (in an air conditioned house, of course… it was over 90°F before the storms!). I love having these tea bags around for traveling.
Another day, another Dammann. It’s the last couple of days of my collections visit, which means an all out sprint to finish up all the research I need to before I go home Saturday. I barely had time to gulp down a couple of mugs of this tea today, but I also really needed the pick-me-up! This is such a great anytime tea, and the base is so well done… I can see restocking this one once I use up my sachets.
Backlog from yesterday. I had a very nice cup of this tea in the morning, and then I resteeped the sachet in the afternoon. Having access to a hot water pot (and the ability to take my tea into the collections) is awesome, but it means I want to drink tea nonstop like I usually do at work. But I do kind of need to conserve my sachets, and I knew that this one would be up to a resteep. I did something I never do: I left the sachet in the cup for the entire time I was drinking it during the resteep. But it was still totally awesome! Definitely getting more sachets from Dammann for traveling; I love the individually wrapped ones because they are so easy to throw in a purse and such.
Hallelujah, the staff lounge at the museum I’m visiting has a hot water kettle, and I actually have easy access to it (i.e., it’s not behind a locked door). The only problem was I didn’t have a mug and there aren’t any communal dishes in the staff lounge, but once again I was saved because the collections manager loaned me a mug. A cup of this, brewed properly, made me so happy this afternoon.
Well, I’ve been reduced to boiling water in the microwave. With a Dammann sachet, which is crazy. Man can you tell the difference. Years ago, before I was actually “into” tea, I used to boil water in the microwave at work and steep my teabags in them. These days I’ve always wondered how I was able to stand such bitter, yucky tea, but now I realize that microwaved water totally neutralizes any tea you put in it. I brought a bunch of Dammann sachets with me but it’s totally not worth using them in this, because while there are still hints of how good they are, it’s basically a waste. Oh well, if only North American hotels all had electric kettles like Asian hotels!
Man, this tea is tasty. I’m realizing that I should have just bought this box initially when I bought tea… not that the Impra Tea was bad, but it wasn’t great either. I didn’t have room in my luggage for the leftover sachets so I donated them to my hostel. I did, of course, have room in my luggage for this!
Unfortunately I kind of have to rush this cup because my taxi for the airport is coming! Yes I am departing Ulaanbaatar this morning. I have an afternoon/evening layover in Beijing, and then it’s home! I’m very excited!
Oh, look at what just fell into my shopping basket while I was at the grocery. I know, I’m bad, but I couldn’t resist. I justified it by saying that I needed some more sachets for traveling, which I will be doing a lot of in the coming months (as if I haven’t been doing enough already). And these are individually wrapped, which is so convienent for travel. And the slight premium of buying the box here in Mongolia is still much less than shipping from France, no? I have a lot of rationalizations for this purchase, lol.
This is supposed to be a special blend of citrus (they don’t say which ones), and the sachet certainly smells citrusy. I can definitely pick out bergamot, and maybe lemon or grapefruit, perhaps a bit of orange but not very much. The steeped tea smells much more like the black tea base, but in a good way (a lot of times, if a flavored black suddenly smells only like the black tea base with a hint of flavoring it’s not a good sign for me. Not so with this one, I like the smell of this base, which is often not the case).
The flavoring on this one is subdued and melds well with the base. It is brightly citrusy, but no one citrus fruit sticks out. It is truly a blend of the flavoring and the base, and both are stars in this show, not just one or the other. It’s also oh-so-smooth. I only went with a 3 minute steep despite the recommendation on the box of 4-5 minutes because that’s what I start all my blacks at, but I feel like this could go 4-5 no problem without developing any bitterness or astringency. The base is a very lovely Chinese black tea blend. I don’t know what the blend is, and apparently it’s very proprietary so I doubt I ever will, but to me it seems like there might be some Fujian blacks in there, or maybe some Dian Hong (or both!), and no doubt some Keemun (or Qimen, as I learned is the proper pinyin way of writing it!). Kind of chocolatey, kind of nutty, kind of caramelly. Definitely delicious. This tea also reminds me of how much my black tea tastes have progressed, because I never would have found all those notes before. A few special Chinese blacks have opened the world of black teas to me.
I feel like perhaps at one time I wouldn’t have been as impressed by this tea because the flavoring is so subtle. But now I really appreciate that Chinese black tea blend base, and I am totally in love with this tea. I’ll have no problem getting through this box, and I’m happy to say that I am very pleased with my purchase. But I do have to say, damn you, Dammann Freres for making such delicious teas… this is just making me want to try more of them! And there are so many!
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.
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!
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.
It is a gift from my friend Véronique. She asked for a tea who was like me. After having described me (I don’t know in which terms exactly), she went out of the tea boutique with Jardin Bleu. I loved it from the first smell opening the box. It is always the same pleasure drinking it, iced or hot. It is a candy, with no need of sugar. Perfect for summertime.
Merci beaucoup to Dinosara for this lovely French tea sample!
The dry aroma smells sweet and fruity, not floral. Somehow, with a name like 7 Parfums, I was expecting something more perfume like, but it certainly isn’t.
Again, I steeped lightly, however, for me, it was somewhat daring. I went with a 2.5 minute steeping time. The fragrance is wonderful, light and fruity. It’s very reminiscent of Marco Polo, as is the taste, but lighter, and fruitier. It’s more complex than Marco Polo, but not as full tasting. I’d say this is more of an afternoon tea with its liveliness. The red berry flavor is what comes to the forefront. It’s followed by a light citrus taste, which is anchored by a smooth black base that isn’t astringent or bitter at all. This has soared to the front as one of my favorites.
Thank you again, Dinosara!
This tea, along with the next, was technically acquired at the same time as Coquelicot Gourmand in Paris, and as such they are all the same age. I just manually added this one to my cupboard after that one.
I also recently restocked this one, but I didn’t mix the old stash with the new. I should probably just use up the old (probably 15g) with some cold brews since I have another 100g of this. There is still a lot of flavor in the older leaf, but it lacks a bit of subtlety. It’s pretty much all bright! passion fruit! pineapple! and none of the jasmine. Still, I drank this one up easily and happily.
Dammann advent calendar, day 13. One of my faves! I still have a (tiny) stash of loose leaf of this one… yeah, it’s three years old, but it’s still delicious!
I didn’t take notes when I drank this one yesterday, so I’ll just say that you can peek at some of my past notes if you want my more detailed thoughts. I still love this tea, though!
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.