Dammann Freres

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Recent Tasting Notes

drank Osmanthe D'Or by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

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!

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I keep trying this tea, but I have come to the conclusion that it will never be a favorite even though it is very high quality. Chocolate tea used to be anathema to me, but I have found a few that are tasty.
I think it is likely that even the dessert for which this tea is named would not be a favorite for me. I read that the dessert has coffee in it, and I really don’t care for coffee.

Made by the usual parameters for black tea, this is too rough edged for me. There is a strong Keemun smoke, which I often like, paired with the rough scrape of unsweetened cocoa, another note I have sometimes enjoyed, particularly with sweets, but somehow it isn’t working for me in this tea. Cutting the steep time and slightly lowering the temperature, I get a cup of tea that I can drink and whose quality I can recognize, but it just isn’t something I really love. I plan to use the rest of this to make generous pots of tea my coffee loving friends, who I think will love it, and I will have my daughter’s fiancé try it as he loves chocolate teas and coffee, so the edginess may be right up his alley.

This was served at Wednesday’s tea party with oven-baked brown sugar and cinnamon peaches with homemade ice cream, and my guest liked it quite a bit, so I know that it is just me!

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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!

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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.

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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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Camiah

This sounds amazing. I’m envious now :)

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

Still have a little packet of this, though it’s easily a couple years past its prime—but it aged well. (Old tea never dies, it just … ) Lower temp and just over two minutes coaxed some gentle caramel sweetness out of its old bones. Fresh, this has got to be enchanting.

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

My packet of this silky and elegant oolong with caramel overtones has lasted forever, simply because I refuse to drink it when I am busy, rushed, or distracted. I am perpetually busy, rushed, or distracted—mostly the latter!

Took a “snow day” vacation at home to work on overdue writing assignment and soon-to-be-due writing self-employment bookkeeping (blech). This, plus lemon jelly sandwich cookies, is sweetening an otherwise unpleasant task.

Ysaurella

I love this tea, you make me think about purchase a bag of Oolong Châtaigne

gmathis

It is very gently sweet and thick on the tongue—one that needs to be enjoyed slowly instead of guzzled on the run!

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

I pulled this one out of … not retirement, uh, well, the bottom of the basket and I’m glad I did. Primed with a fistful of candy corn (this is the time to eat Brach’s candy corn, while it’s soft and fresh from the store, not in October after it’s gone chewy and waxy), it has a lovely, sweet, juicy, not-unlike-caramel personality. Kept steep time at around 3 minutes to prevent bitterness, based on past experience.

Fall is coming. Just hold on to that cool and lovely thought.

Helena

mmm…candy corn.. dang it now I want some candy corn…

gmathis

Sorry! ;) How ’bout those buttercream pumpkins made out of the same stuff? More sugary goodness in every bite!

Helena

I’m not looking anymore ;D

Nicole

Candy corn & peanuts. Mmm… It is about time for Halloween candy to show up. After all, it’s almost Labor Day. :)

That’s one of the things I like about tea. Just like wine, pairing it with different foods lets you notice different flavors in the tea.

Helena

honey roasted peanuts? still not looking lol

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

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!

TeaBrat

lol. I need a thermometer too

SimpliciTEA

In the green tea category, Gunpowder tends to be pretty forgiving on steeping temperature—I think in part because it is processed into those little pellets. I believe some of the really high grade green teas can also be more hassle free (Anji Baicha?). I have brewed the Yellow tea I had today (H&S Yunnan Yellow Sprout) previously at fairly high temps (I think I went to 190F, which is high for Greens/Yellows) and did not scorch it.

For my green/yellow teas I always use a thermometer, and a timer, because I am also very distract-able.

LiberTEAS

That is why I love my Breville One-touch. Don’t need to babysit the kettle or use a thermometer, nor do I need to worry about the timer anymore (except there are still quite a few teas that I brew using my gaiwan, and then I need the timer) The Breville is easily the most used appliance in the kitchen second only to the refrigerator and I don’t know how I lived without it.

gmathis

Hmmm…may have to start dropping birthday hints….

TeaBrat

I have heard the Breville is a bit difficult to clean though

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

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.

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drank Oolong Châtaigne by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

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!

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I can no longer say “I do not like green tea” after trying these French ones. Me-ow this is good! Subtle and delightful. No bitterness. I’d be hard pressed to name a single flavor – I would not say “jasmine!” or “mango!” or “almond!” but I would say “sweet!” and “nutty!” The only sencha I’ve ever liked comes in these French teas – I wonder what it is about them?! I’m so curious to try more!

Many many MANY thanks for Dinosara for showing me a new facet of my tea personality!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

Yay! I’m glad this one won you over! I was wondering how you would like it since it’s a green. It is one of my favorites, and I’m definitely going to be ordering the Violet Cassis Macaron green from them!

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drank La Belle Helene by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

This tea must be discontinued, because I can not find it on the Dammann Freres or Summit websites. I wanted to see if there was a more detailed description of the tea.

The aroma is really nice, with sweet fruitiness that reminds me of a great Lady Grey. It says this is pear and caramel, but it made us think of spiced pears with a little cinnamon. It is a smooth, nicely flavored tea that needs no additions.

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drank La Belle Helene by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

I tried this one with great trepidation today. After the last Dammann Freres tea from summit tea being so horrible I had to pour it out, I wasn’t going to serve this one at tea time unless I knew it was good. I tried a little sip prior to our guest arriving.

Oh joy! This was delicious! My guest thought so too, and even liked it more than Keemun Mao Feng, which is really apples to oranges bit tells you that this was pretty good tea!

As delicious as it was, and I had two or three cups of it, when it started to get cold it became astringent and it really wasn’t very good, but while moderately hot is was excellent.

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I had a St*rb*cks *c*d C*ff** this morning (that’s Starbucks Iced Coffee, shhhh!), so I thought something with green tea in it would be lovely for the afternoon. I’ve started perusing the Dammann Freres website for the Future Order of October, so I thought what better tea to drink with that than a French one!?!? :)

Mmmm. I’m definitely getting jasmine and tropical fruit. I can’t really say which one, but maybe mango or passion fruit? The black tea is giving it a nice base, and the green a fresh taste. I don’t much care for green tea, but when it’s used in a blend I love the little oomph it gives – that little bit of grassy freshness is very nice, almost like another flavor in the blend!

Another bonus for a work afternoon is this reminds me in no way of anything Holiday-ish or growing up-ish :) In fact, I don’t think I had a mango until I was in college and living on my own!

Thank you Dinosara! This is so, so good! It makes me wonder how it would taste iced, too. I bet refreshing.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

This one is even a holiday tea, acutally! But I guess it would only be nostalgic if you grew up in asia. :D

JacquelineM

That is what made me chuckle!!! :) :) :) I was so relieved!!

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Ohhhhhhh this is good. Nutty. Pastry. Good tea, present but swirling in with the other flavors. Some sips, I think I taste chocolate, others I don’t. Some sips I taste rose or some other sweet floral flavor! But, nutty, creamy pastry predominates (I added milk and sugar because I was in need of comfort, and it’s delightfully desserty this way).

I would like to try this plain some afternoon. The tea base is part Chinese so I bet it would be a great treat.

Many thanks to ashmanra for this tea!

(Why needing comfort? My 22 year old cat died recently, then the stray cat we’ve been feeding hobbled in with what turned out to be an abscessed bite on his leg. Vet and antibiotics later, it looks like we’re going to keep him in the house now, try and get him healed up, neutered, and on the way to being a spoiled indoor prince. Wish us luck!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Hesper June

I am glad you found some yummy comfort.
I am so sorry you lost your furry friend:(
So happy you are helping a Stray Kitty.

TeaEqualsBliss

So sorry to hear about your cat! Mine was with us for 21 years…like a sister to me! I can’t believe she’s been gone since 2003

ashmanra

Oh no! I am sorry your kitty died, and so soon after your pup! Maybe the little kitty has come to you for his leg and your heart to heal. Blessings. I wish I could have a cuppa with you.

Alphakitty

So sorry to hear about your kitty. :( Losing a furry loved one is so difficult.

JacquelineM

Thanks guys :)

Hesper June – Marty was our first cat so it was so hard to lose him. At least he was a good old age and was mobile in his golden years :) This new little peanut took us by surprise. We named him Woody – our town is called Collingswood, and he appeared on our deck out of nowhere. I was convinced he was a kitten because he’s so small (not even 8 lbs.), but the doctor said he was at least a year by his teeth!

ashmanra – it was like we had a cup together since you sent me this tea :) I was thinking of you! It’s been so hard losing them both so close in time like this. Woody is a comfort and I’m so glad to help this little sweetie. Even the doctor commented on what a great personality he had.

gmathis

Scritch him behind the ears for me. I am having midlife housecat withdrawal. Unfortunately, midlife husband with allergies trumps need for something cuddly and portable :)

LadyLondonderry

I’m so sorry to hear of Marty’s passing, Jacqueline. My first cat lived to be almost 22, so I know well how such a cat becomes a fixture in one’s life. I’m glad you have a new furry friend (I didn’t wait very long, either). Woody sounds adorable. Wishing you good luck and much happiness with him!

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I had a cup of Emperor’s Red this morning, but was left wanting something fruity…nutty…something else, something more. I decided to put a scant teaspoon of Coquelicot Gourmand in my brewing basket to add a little je ne sais quoi to my second steep.

The tea itself is beautiful. I’m a goner for blue cornflowers in tea, and then the pink peony – oh!

Mmmmmmmmmm. Marzipan. Cake. That soft subtle indescribable French fruity flowery vanilla-ish flavor. This is so good. Thank you once again Dinosara for an incredibly delicious French tea experience!

I finally figured out that the addition of milk and sugar to these French teas is the thing that unlocks the nostalgia button, so being a glutton for punishment I am going to take the rest of these leaves home for a good sulk in Nostalgialand this weekend! Oh my.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

This is a truly amazing tea, isn’t it? I think I am going to have to order some from Paris!

JacquelineM

It really is. I’m looking forward to sobbing and drinking this weekend, but will save you a pot’s worth and send it in my next package to you!!!

ashmanra

No, no! You must keep it and enjoy it!

SimplyJenW

If you two ever want to do a Dammann Freres group buy, let me know!

Dinosara

Heck, let me know! There are tons of teas I wish I had bought there while I was in Paris, now even more than when I was there because I love the teas I got so much.

SimplyJenW

I had a cart going there until I figured out that my shipping would be about $18 US. Then I thought about sharing postage…….. Does anyone know if and at what value we would get hit with possible import tax?

JacquelineM

I’m not sure, but Doulton arranged a group buy awhile ago and it was extremely reasonable, so I’m thinking there was not an import tax. With all of us splitting the shipping it was so inexpensive! If you search on discussions you should find the thread. I would be very interested in doing this in October, after I recover from buying textbooks!

ashmanra

I’m in!

JacquelineM

I found the thread!

http://steepster.com/discuss/460-dammann-brothers-teas-any-usa-drinkers-interested?page=1

and on page 3 it talks about VAT and customs taxes (there were none).

It only took 6 days to arrive from France!

Dinosara

October would work for me, especially since I’ll be out-of-country again for all of September

mpierce87

I might have to join in come October!

JacquelineM

Plus if we order in October it will not be too early to think about all the swoony winter holiday blends they have! Right now my brain can’t process them – it’s too hot!

SimplyJenW

October works for me.

JacquelineM

Here is the site for everyone who wants to start pining ;)

http://www.boutique-dammann.fr/en/

mpierce87

I should NOT have looked at that site already!!! I must put this out of my mind until closer until October or I will go crazy…

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drank Temple d'Angkor by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

Forgot I had this. Needed a light after-dinner treat. The fruity mix in this one reminds me so much of cotton candy; still sticky and strong on the tongue after you swallow.

The only downside is that it’s a little temperamental, temperature-wise; I think there’s a two degree sweet spot, and if you miss it, the tea base turns a little bitter. Plunked in some sugar and that took the edge off.

A decidedly mellow drink to wind down with, but hubby’s got me watching a Johnny Cash tribute concert on PBS (Sheryl Crow’s boogeying to “Cry, Cry, Cry”) and I may have to make a fresh cup of something I can tap my toes to…

gmathis

Kris Kristofferson! (Off to check schedule for the rebroadcast…)

Azzrian

Really!?!? He made an album with Rita Cooledge once I think – barely remember it from my youth but I know there was one song I really loved!

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drank Temple d'Angkor by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

This one has the potential to be phenomenal, but like last time, I didn’t watch the temp closely (did water in the Hot Shot and let it cool, but obviously not long enough) and messed up the green tea base.

Even so, this is the most unique set of fruit flavors I’ve ever had in a green tea. Bitter or not, I shall drink the whole cup and endeavor to get it right next try. Hmm. That’s not a bad life philosophy, eh?

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drank 7 Parfums by Dammann Freres
1112 tasting notes

This tea was a breath of fresh air today! I love my daily drinkers, but sometimes you want something different, you know?

This gem perfectly spans the seasons. Good black tea, with fruit and fig! I put in a little half teaspoon of sugar and was delighted with the results. An almost jammy or marmalade-y burst of sweetness, then good tea, and the undertones of the fig. Glorious!

This is all the sweeter for being a sample from Dinosara. It was almost better to have this little amount to savor. I’m sad that it’s now gone, but I enjoyed every tea leaf. Thank you Dinosara!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank 7 Parfums by Dammann Freres
1112 tasting notes

It is so humid out – I was craving something light and fruity after I waded through the swamp, I mean walked to work from the train :) The French teas that Dinosara sent were calling to me from my tea drawer with their intoxicating fruity and flowery fragrances! I picked this one because I thought the ingredients included in the blend mixed with the Ceylon and China teas would really hit the spot. I took it with a half teaspoon of sugar – I seem to like these French teas with un peu! ;)

I’m getting good tea, then the sweet, slightly pithy, slightly powdered sugary citrus hits, and then I taste a sweet and delightful fig flavor. I was so afraid that this would be another tea that sent me on a reverie of nostalgia – figs are another flavor I associate with being a child. We always had dried figs for the Winter Holidays, and our neighbor directly in back had a fig tree that reached into our yard. Summers were for fresh milky delicate figs. Thankfully, with this tea, the citrus mitigates the figgy flavor enough so that I am smiling and remembering, and not shot through the heart!

Dinosara, thank you! This is a sultry summer day in a cup. I love it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I never would eat figs. My mom loved them, and I even made fig preserves for her from my mother-in-law’s figs. Then I had fig in French tea and ooo la la! I am planning to scoop up all of Mima’s figs as soon as they are ready since she doesn’t eat them at all.

JacquelineM

Oooooh how lucky! My mouth is watering!!

Dinosara

I LOVE figs in all their forms. You wouldn’t believe how many teas with fig in them I had on my list for Dammann Freres before I narrowed it down to this one!

Brittany

I’ve never had French tea before, but all your tasting notes are getting me curious. And I agree about the nostalgia. I hate it when certain things (especially food I find) force me into a state of the past. Nostalgia is at first comforting and then rattling and troubling- reminding you of what once was and what now isn’t.

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drank Temple d'Angkor by Dammann Freres
1835 tasting notes

First whiff of this was—-wow! cotton candy! Fruity and sweet with the emphasis on sweet.

I should, however, not fuss with delicate teas first thing in the morning on a workday while two family members are talking to me simultaneously. Water was too hot and I didn’t time it, so the green tea base bittered out on me.

Even so, this is exceptionally good. It really does have that fruity, sticky, creamy carnival treat feel, and I could have sworn I detected a little banana. I am confident that when I actually pay attention, this one is going to be toe-curlingly good.

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Paris has come to New Jersey! Dinosara was the kindest, most generous world traveler ever, and sent me some of her Paris teas from Mariage Freres and Dammann Freres! I didn’t know where to start! I bet she thought I was kidding when I said I was going to do eenie meenie miney moe to decide, but that is what I really did! (but I said "catch a Frenchman by the toe! instead of a monkey. Monkeys are for Chinese teas!)!

So, the Frenchman chose this one!

Divine Decadence! I taste a nutty, chocolatey tea taste, and then PING the orange on the end of the sip. It’s really delightful, round, and yes, decadent. It’s amazing how sweetly satisfying it is sans additions!

I did my first steep at 3 minutes, and there was a little thinness. For my second steep, I put in a little more leaf, took it to four minutes, and yes. There it is. French Perfection! No bitterness, no astringency, great flavor. I love it.

I must say, though, it certainly makes me not want to work! It’s making me dreamy! I want to sit on a park bench and read and watch the world go by when I sip something so lovely. Ah!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Quick! Have a cup of Queen Catherine! She will set you straight and you can have some of your French tea this weekend. :)

Dinosara

Now you know what I felt like when I got home and had to choose the first tea to try! :D There is something about the French teas that put you in a whole ’nother mindset!

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