The Dammann Freres shop was like an island of serenity on an otherwise bustling Paris Saturday in the spring. With less imports to the US, Dammann isn’t as well known as Mariage Freres, so their tea shop doesn’t seem to draw quite as many American tourists. The shop was very open, with a lot of gift packages, tins of tea, and other tea parapheniela carefully arranged. There’s not a tea room in this shop, it’s soley a place to buy tea. There was a big square table in the shop with two rows of little wooden cubbies with lids set into it where you could smell most of the flavored teas they offer. The table was probably waist height, so it involved bending down to stick your nose in the cubby, which was a little awkward but not too bad. Then there’s the big counter with shelves of big cannisters of tea.
When I approached they were very happy to help me discover some of their teas, but I had a list of must-haves that I had found on their website (and confirmed by smell on the tea-table), so I knew what I wanted. They ostensibly had a 100g minimum on each tea, but the employee that helped me said that if I was ordering a bunch of teas they could do 50g on some of them (there was probably a bit lost in translation; I don’t really speak French, and he spoke only a little English). I ended up getting 50g on 3 out of the 5 teas I ordered, and it seemed like a woman was getting hers while I was there got 50g on all of the 20-something teas she ordered. In any case, it was nice to have some flexibility and it let me get more teas than if it was a flat 100g minimum on all of them. Even if you order your tea by weight, they’re happy to sell you some gift packaging for it, as someone else did while I was there.
Overall a fantastic tea experience and I can’t wait to go back. If you go to Paris and only to Mariage Freres, skipping this one, I think you’re really missing out.
Having not been into tea the last time I was in Paris, and very intrigued about all of Mariage Freres’ flavors, I knew this had to be a stop on my trip. Despite wanting to take home some of just about every tea, I managed to limit myself. As Adham said, at the flagship store in the Marais there are actually two shops across the street from each other. I went on a Saturday, and the shop with the pre-packaged tea was nearly empty while the main shop with the by-weight tea was jam packed. I found it nice to sniff all the teas in the pre-packaged shop (they have stoppered jars out), rather than in the main shop, which also has sniff-samples out, but there were way more people in front of the shelves. The pre-packaged shop had a smaller variety of teas out for smelling, and neither place had all of them of course.
There was an army of employees behind the counter and an organized line for ordering your tea by weight. It was fairly hectic, and I got the feeling that the guy I was helped by would have been happy to help me if I didn’t know what I wanted, but on a busy day like that they weren’t going to let any one linger too long. I had a list of teas, though, so I just ordered the ones I wanted (100g minimum on each tea) and in a stunning display of efficiency was out the door after my order rather quickly.
Not an experience to be missed if you are a fan of French teas and in Paris, but if you want time for tea discovery, consider going on a week day!
Finally made it by the Soho location and I’m glad I did! It was a horrible, cold rainy day yesterday, so some tea was a nice respite for a bit. I didn’t really have time to go to the cafe (although I did mean to go back and pick up some tea-flavored macarons and forgot), but I stopped at the tasting bar, which was great.
When you visit the tasting bar, you get one free tasting of any tea you’d like, plus you can taste any tea from the tasting flight of the day for free. The day I was there it was a flight of a Japanese green, an Oolong, and Golden Snails. Because I dragged my non-tea drinking boyfriend with me to the counter, I actually got to choose two teas to sample (I got his sample, basically). I ended up trying the Oolong and the Golden Snails from the flight, and the Keemun Mao Feng and the Dragon Jasmine Pearls (which are slightly larger cups of tea than the samples from the flight). The guy helping me was, well, super helpful and knowledgable, and brought down several teas for me to look at.
I picked up a few ounces of the Dragon Pearls and restocked on Florence; I love that at the counter you can buy the teas in pouches by the ounce (the by-weight price is that of the pounds of tea on the website), so I got 4 ounces of Florence for a bit cheaper than buying a tin.
Overall a very nice experience, and I am excited to go back!