1979 Tasting Notes

84
drank Dune d'épices by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 10. Another one I haven’t tried! I honestly thought I might run into a lot of them that I had tried before given the fact that I recently acquired a lot of Dammann teas, but this is great because it’s a lot of teas I wasn’t sure about enough to order 50-100g of, but now I get to try them anyway.

I didn’t really know what was in this one but I think I thought it was some kind of green chai. Then I looked it up on Dammann’s site and saw that it is supposed to be gingerbread and orange?? Yum. The scent of the dry sachet was super orangey and sweet, and made my mouth water! It smelled really good. I think the gingerbread came out more in the scent of the steeped tea, although its not exactly gingerbread right off. Maybe it’s just the interaction with the orange. I quite enjoy the flavor, although this is another tea that I would be happier to have on a black base. I guess I’m just not that into flavored greens unless they are pure fruit or floral. I just think the gingerbread flavor would be more prominent with a black base. It is sweet, very orangey, and lightly spiced. There is also a nice creaminess to this one that grows as I sip it.

Haha this is one of those teas that I start out ambivalent about but then really grow to really enjoy it by the end.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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78

It seems like everyone has a peppermint bark tea this season, right? Although peppermint bark isn’t my favorite confection, I am happy to try Verdant’s offer. The dry leaf smells minty and very cinnamony… So much so that it made me sneeze!

My first cup is at Verdant’s steeping parameters, but I left the basket in the tea pot for the second cup to steep for however long. The first cup is mostly minty, and I don’t get a lot of the other flavors, especially at first. More of the chocolate comes out as it cools, but the one minute steep seems undeveloped. The longer steep, unsurprisingly, has more of everything… More mint, more chocolate, more cinnamon, although I would hesitate to call it truly chocolatey. I added some sugar to make it even more dessert-like, which was pretty tasty.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

My thoughts exactly on all three were “hey Verdant, what’s with the 1 minute steep time?”
For all three longer was better. Hello!
And sweetening…definitely. I tested sugar and honey. Honey (clover honey) doesn’t ruin any of the tea’s. (You can’t always say that)
OK, to get the chocolate flavor add a pinch of Laoshan Black or Zhu Rong. (I keep cocoa hulls on hand too). It resteeps well like you expect from these blends.

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88

I got this tea as a free sample in my Black Friday order from Verdant. I am doubly pleased with this because I believe that my appreciation for traditional tieguanyins is currently on an upswing, and also because it is the base to Master Zhang’s Genmaicha, which I still haven’t tried, but it would be nice to try the base first. And now I get the opportunity! I am also using this tea to christen my new wide bird gaiwan, also acquired on Black Friday. At 5oz, this gaiwan is slightly smaller than my ru kiln teapot (6oz), but larger than my other two gaiwans (3oz), so it sits nicely in my collection. At first I thought I would have difficulty pouring the new gaiwan because it is much wider than my others, but I figured it out pretty quickly and it’s almost easier because I think the lips have a larger flare, keeping my fingers a bit cooler. The only problem is that my strainer that goes over my cha hai (pitcher) is not quite big enough to hold all the liquid when straining (the teapot pours slower), so I get a bit of overflow.

Yup, my love of traditional tieguanyins is definitely growing. I am quite enjoying this tea. I don’t think I am at the point of restocking one but I could see it happening in the future. This one has the light sweetness and breadiness that I have come to really enjoy. I usually say challa, but I could see cinnamon buns (perhaps without the icing? haha). I prefer the first 4-5 steeps… instead of getting more bready, for me this gets more vegetal as the steeps progress, which is less interesting to me. Still this was a fun one to have today, and I look forward to trying its blend as well.

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89

Yayyy! This came in the mail today and I had to immediately try it. Holiday Earl Grey! With Laoshan Black (and Zhu Rong) base! I always love Verdant’s Earl variants, and I’m glad they finally had one for the blends club. The dry leaf smells really good, like a super Christmas-y Earl. Lots of bergamot, lots of cinnamon and clove.

The steeped tea smells amazing too, this time helped by the awesome chocolate of Laoshan Black. Mmmmm. The bergamot is less prominent but the spices scream Christmas in a cup. Yup, this one is a winner in my book. The chocolatey Laoshan Black, the sweet festive spices, the bright citrusy bergamot and orange. As with Verdant’s Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black the bergamot is not strong here, and as with that one that doesn’t bother me here. I’m not looking for a straight Earl, but there is enough bergamot flirting through the flavor to remind me that I am drinking a nontraditional Earl.

I’d love to use the tea cash I earned on Black Friday to buy more of this one (nudgenudge)!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
ifjuly

sounds lovely!

Stephanie

Sounds very nice :)

Bonnie

I thought it would be more ‘Earl’ also.

caile

It does sound nice!

Lily Duckler

Haha! Duly noted, Dinosara.. we’ll see if I can’t pass that along to David ;) We’ll probably never due a huge-ly bergamot-y Earl, so it was fun this month to play with something a little more traditional.

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87

Dreaming of an evening in France on this snowy morning in Ohio. Sigh.

This is very nice, although I think perhaps I didn’t have enough leaf because it’s a little weaker than I have come to expect from Fauchon. I could smell the rose and fruit in this but I hadn’t looked up what else was in it before drinking it. I definitely got a lot of orangey citrus from this, so that’s good. Nicely rosy, and the bae as a really yummy cookie-ish note. Really it’s just something that I often find in rose and/or bergamot teas that comes across as sugar cookie to me, and I think it’s really the way the flavoring is interacting with the base. Very pleased with this one as well.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

That actually sounds kind of nice!

OMGsrsly

I really like this one. :) Next time I have it I’ll have to see if I can detect sugar cookie.

ifjuly

I dug this one a lot too! But I guess I’ve loved nearly every Fauchon tea I’ve tried so far. :b

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87
drank Earl Grey by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 9. Ahhh, Earl Grey. I have had their Earl Grey avec fleurs, but not their plain Earl, so I am interested to try it.

This tea just makes me happy. It’s been a long time since I had the “avec fleurs” Earl, so I can’t really remember it enough to be able to distinguish them, but I do think that this reminds me of that tea. I love the base blend, it is rich and comforting. The bergamot is not super strong, but it’s present enough to keep me satisfied. It is citrusy and not too floral, and it has that somewhat biscuity flavor that I sometimes get with bergamot and some base teas. Mmmm, so tasty. Kinda wish Dammann made a “double bergamot” Earl just because I would like it a bit stronger, but it is still lovely.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

I also wish they made a double bergamot earl. My mouth is watering now just thinking of it. Ha ha.

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84
drank Paris Mon Amour by Fauchon
1979 tasting notes

It is so frigidly cold in my office that I am wearing my winter coat and my toes are numb in my boots. I wanna go home. Unfortunately I have to teach this afternoon, so I can’t go home until after that. And university facilities refuses to do anything about the lack of heat in the building. ugh.

I picked up this one at the Vente-Privee sale. Initially I was unsure about it because it has a 100% assam base, but I went for it anyway. It is occuring to me now that it is essentially a rose black tea and I already know I love Fauchon’s La Rose, so why would I need this one on a base I might not enjoy? Well we’ll see how it goes haha. This is also technically rose-lotus flavor, so there’s that.

It smells nicely rosey, and it doesn’t have any of that note that I dislike in assams (hard for me to explain what it is, there is just a note I don’t like). The flavor is mostly rose, but perhaps there is some lotus in here as well. Definitely floral overall. It’s a tad bitter for my liking (it’s got “bite”), but that could possibly be fixed with short steep time. Or I could keep it at home to have a nice milky rose tea on the weekends.

Overall I think I need to accept that I am just not a fan of teas from the Indian mainland (Sri Lanka is ok) and stop buying them, even in the form of bases for flavored teas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Dustin

You need a space heater under your desk! That or an electric lap blanket. They have some small ones that run off USB outlets so you can stay warm at your computer! At least you have a nice tea to keep you warm!

Dinosara

Haha yeah, although what I really need is for them to turn the heat on! The entire building (not just my office) is totally freezing. I don’t understand how this hasn’t been fixed already.

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81
drank Atomic Lemon by Dammann Freres
1979 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 7. Dammann needs to work on their definition of tisane. I almost drank this last night, late in the evening when I drink caffeine free things, but thankfully I looked at the ingredients. Although I will grant that maté is technically a tisane, sencha green tea most definitely disqualifies this blend! Also I agree that there does appear to be a hint of hibiscus in this although there is no hibiscus in the ingredients.

Steeped it smells very lemony and gingery. I probably should have let this one steep longer, but I was worried about the green tea at 5 minutes. I guess it’s minimally present. The brew is a little weak but the flavor is pretty good. Lemony, a bit of heat from the ginger, and a light sweetness from some ingredient, but I don’t know what. This probably would be amazing iced!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

I know, I drank this tea last night without looking at the ingredients because it said tisane on the packet. I was so mad last night, I couldn’t sleep and didn’t know why until I looked up this tea on steepster and noticed the opposite of sleep inducing ingredients.

Dinosara

Aw man, that sucks! I guess that’s what makes the lemon “Atomic”

Lala

Ha ha. Agreed!

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81
drank Fragola by Dammann Freres
1979 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!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
JustJames

i know….. people have such tasty ideas on here. a reduction over ice cream is nice too =0P

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62

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.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I love this..and Yu Lu Yan never tastes burnt to me. This blend does have pepper though. Maybe that’s what you taste as burnt. The base is potato cocoa (not sweet potato). I’ve shared it with a dozen tea people at once who all thought it was french fries dipped in a chocolate milk shake flavor. Weird how our taste buds can single out an ingredient and find it to be burned. Interestingly so.

Dinosara

Yes, taste buds are funny things! Although I’m not the only one to taste a smoky-burnt taste in Yu Lu Yan Cha, I definitely can’t rule out one of the spices to be the culprit here.

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Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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