1851 Tasting Notes
This was a sample that I got for free from Dammann with my advent calendar. I love sweetened hibiscus tea, and I decided to follow Stephanies proceedure for making tea soda with this sachet. I brewed it triple strength (so, only 3oz of water), then added a good amount of sugar (2.5TBSP), let it cool, then mixed with soda water. YUM! The strawberry-rhubarb of this really came out and it was delicious. I kind of want to keep a hibiscus blend around just for making fruity tea sodas, especially for the summer. Yay tea soda!
Hmmm, looks like I’m going to be the lone dissenter on this one so far. So I’ve never actually had the base Yu Lu Yan Cha, and I believe that is wholly the reason for my lack of enthusiasm about this blend.
I brewed as instructed, knowing that I would probably want to add milk and honey, but I took a sip first. People say the base tea shines in this one, and I would have to concur. The spices were mild but nicely balanced, with no one spice coming over the top. I could smell the fennel (bleh) in the dry blend but it doesn’t stick out in the brewed tea.
However, the main flavor in this was the black tea. I did taste the chocolate notes, but there was a bitter harsh note that was almost like smoke but not quite. I thought maybe I was losing my mind (based on descriptions by others) until I read Terri’s note about how she gets a burnt note from it when western brewed, which is obviously how this blend was prepared. Yeah, that’s it… like something that has been burnt, but not the smoke itself. Which is definitely a major turn-off for me. Perhaps I should only brew Yu Lu Yan Cha gongfu, as Terri does.
So anyway I added milk and honey. At first I was still unsure whether I wanted to drink it but the milk smoothed over the burnt note and the honey brought out the chocolate. I will likely be able to drik the rest of this one, although it may go into a swap box for someone who loves it more.
Dammann advent calendar, day 7. Christmas tea, on the day we went to get our Christmas tree! Perfect!
When I opened the sachet of this one it smelled like orange candy and spices. Brewed up the spices come out much more, with the orange blending well with them. It really reminds me of the holidays, that orangey spicienss. As usual, I find this one quite tasty. It’s a bit simpler than some of their other blends, but nice and well-balanced. Neither the orange nor the spices really overwhelms the other. The vanilla is subtle and basically provides a nice smoothness. I could take or leave the green tea base, as it isn’t as interesting (to me) as their black base, but it’s pretty nice and not astringent or grassy. A tasty blend for this evening but not something I would restock.
I was thinking about this the other day and wondering how it would come out as a cold brew. I’m not fond of darjeelings hot but maybe I would like them ok cold?
The first word I would use to describe this one is powerful. Extremely floral, almost perfumy, with a fruity and almondy undercurrent. I accidentally let this one go longer than I planned, which could be factoring into this, but I also think I will use half the leaf I usually do in the future. I diluted it a great deal and it became more pleasant. I still don’t totally love this one, but I do like the darjeeling much more as a cold brew than I do hot (although I still have to try it at a cooler steep temp). It’s also one of those cold brews that grew on me and I liked it a lot more as I drank more of it.
Dammann advent calendar, day 6. This is another tea that I already have in my collection, so once again I used my loose leaf and reserved the sachet for another time. The first time I had this tea, I had bought a box of wrapped sachets in a grocery store in Ulaanbaatar. Those were fantastic sachets to travel with, and I have always thought about buying more of this tea or another. I do love my wrapped sachets for traveling.
This tea is still lovely. I love the blend of the citrus fruits, and the yummy black tea base. I should really pull this tea out more often!
Hmmm. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, in part because I had probably an ounce of it and I didn’t think I could make a dent in it during my recent sipdown-a-thon. Turns out I should have at least pulled it out because I think this one is going to get tossed now. I got in the scent but definitely in the taste… The coconut has spoiled. A common problem with coconut teas! Oh well, I’m not all that broken up about it, because this really wasn’t that great (to my tastes) in the first place.
Dammann advent calendar, day 5. Another new-to-me blend. This one I never went for because of the strawberry and cherry, neither of which I am usually that much of a fan of in tea. Of course, I should know better than to think that I would actually dislike this tea, haha.
A lovely blend. The cherry and strawberry remind me of their typical deployment in “red fruits” blends, where I do like them, with nice citrusy blood orange notes and sweet peach. It’s a very fruity blend, but very well balanced. I definitely drank this one up with pleasure. It would probably make an amazing iced tea.
Thanks so much to MissB for acquiring this tin of tea for me and sending it along. I believe this tea appeared in their collection just after I left Paris earlier this year, and I was kicking myself the whole time. SO glad that I got some of it from the Great Fauchon Invasion of North America 2013, because this tea is outstanding.
First off, it smells like heaven. So much almond, with a hint of rose. This is a little like Teavana’s Amandine Rose, if that tea were more amazingly awesome. Sweet, almondy in an almond cookie/cake way. There is enough almond flavor to really say almond pastry of some kind, but it’s not quite marzipan-y. The rose isn’t strong (for me) and just adds a faint air of rosewater, or perhaps turkish delight. There are Greek almond cookies that are made with orange blossom water and so have a light floral note to them, and this is like those cookies if they were made with rosewater instead (which sounds amazing to me but my boyfriend would hate it, haha).
The base is smooth and fairly rich, and absolutely not bitter or astringent despite me steeping it at boiling instead of 95°C. So glad I have a whole 100g of this because I am in love!
Dammann advent calendar, day 4. I’m glad this one was included because it always intrigued me, but I was unsure about the keemun base, different from Dammann’s usual (which I love). Sometimes I love 100% keemun bases, and sometimes I don’t at all. I remember why I often don’t when I smelled the sachet of this one, because that keemun smokiness is strong in this one.
After steeping, my fears are not allayed. Definite smoke, and yes some chocolatey, nutty sweetness on top. I think if I liked smoky keemuns, I would like this tea. But as it is right now, it’s definitely not for me. Well, it’s always good to have some teas to cross off the list, and I’m glad I finally got to try this one.
Finally got around to cold brewing this one to have with lunch, and boy was it delicious! Lots of juicy grapefruit, no bitterness or astringency from the green tea. Super happy to have this one to drink with lunches since I have made a sizeable dent in my supply of teas to cold brew.
I can never tell how a green tea will come out when cold steeped… maybe it has more to do with the quality of the base leaf, unlike black tea where a poor base can be masked by a cold steep. Sometimes greens are bitter and overdone, but not this one. Yum!