319 Tasting Notes

89

Chinese blacks are not usually my favorites, but I find this one surprisingly delightful. It’s very smooth, more so than the Indian black teas I usually go for, and sweet and malty. It has a hint of that characteristic cocoa flavor that usually gets me (in a bad way), but it’s very mild. It actually reminds me quite a bit of an Assam, which is a good thing in my book.

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88

This is a really nice basic Assam. There are no surprises here—it’s malty and sweet and strong, and that’s about it—but sometimes that’s just what’s needed. Like today, when I’m gearing up for my first day at a new job and it’s 15F outside. Not sure of the tea situation at the new office, so I’m bringing myself a huge thermos of this in hopes that it helps me stay awake—so not an early riser. This came in my 2016 Happy Bag, and while there are plenty of other comparable Assams out there it’s certainly something I might consider restocking in a future Lupicia order.

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35
drank Soleil Levant by Lupicia
319 tasting notes

Nasty grape medicine flavor plus grassy sencha? No thanks. I’ve never had a grape tea I didn’t find truly disgusting (including some from Lupicia), so I didn’t have high hopes for this one when I found out it would be included in Lupicia’s 2016 Happy Bags. Still, I figured I might as well give it a try. But nope, it’s just as gross as I thought. Free to a good home!

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84

I am obsessed with all things poppyseed, so naturally I had to get my hands on some of this—to my knowledge, the only tea out there to incorporate these little specks of goodness. Unfortunately, of the many promised flavor notes, poppy is the only one I’m not getting. There’s that sweet undertone DF passes off as biscuit—while that’s not quite how I’d characterize it, it’s certainly very pleasant—and a little bit of marzipan. It’s a very sweet blend, and as much as I’ve complained about the ever-present DF Ceylon base, I have to admit it works pretty decently here. I’m enjoying my cup, but it’s not what I expected—while I was hoping for something super unique, it’s actually quite similar to some of the other DF black blends I’ve tried, like Charlotte aux Fruits minus the fruits, maybe. I’ll just have to keep hoping that someday someone comes up with an actual poppyseed-flavored tea.

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82

This is a solid Chinese green. It’s vegetal and buttery, as you’d expect. It’s also a little more floral than I like, with some notes that remind me of all the things I can’t stand about green oolongs, and for that reason it’s not a total hit with me. But that’s really down to personal preference. Thanks for the sample, Teavivre, and apologies for the belated review!

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78

This is one of the teas I was most looking forward to from the DF group order, but instead it’s turning out to be one of the bigger disappointments. I’m mostly just tasting the sencha base, with a hint of candy strawberry and no pistachio to speak of. I think strawberry and pistachio make for a fabulous flavor combination, in general, and I was hoping for a tea that captured both components in all their glory.

I did steep it for 4 minutes, of a suggested 3-4, so I’ll try it at 3 next time in hopes that the strawberry and/or pistachio come through more strongly. I’m starting to wonder if DF’s greens just don’t work for me—and my feeling that what this company does best is old school European flavors is definitely getting stronger.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
tea-sipper

I’m sipping this one now… I think you should definitely try it at a lower temp and for a three minute steep time (maybe even two minutes?) I’m tasting both strawberry and a LITTLE bit of pistachio with mine. (I steeped after cooling the water for around 27 minutes and steeping for three minutes.)

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80

This is basically a murkier version of DF’s black Pecan Pie. The flavoring that so clearly came across as marzipan with the tea base is definitely here, but rather than pure almond paste it’s just faintly nutty and very sweet. The pistachio note I picked up on with the black base is absent here, as is any hint of pecan or pie. The rooibos is rooibos, woodsy but not too medicinal. It’s just okay, but definitely not something I’ll buy again.

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85
drank Pecan Pie by Dammann Freres
319 tasting notes

This tea is totally misnamed. Pecan pie is a lie; it’s all almond. Actually, there is a hit of pistachio in the aftertaste, but it’s mostly almond. It’s quite sweet, but in a marzipan way—there’s no caramel or pastry going on here. I was hoping for something a little closer to my beloved Butiki Maple Pecan Oolong (despite this not being an oolong), but this is decidedly something else. There’s that same thin Ceylon base DF seems to use for just about all of their flavored blacks, and, as with a bunch of others, I feel like Pecan Pie could’ve benefitted from something a little more robust. All that said, this is a very pleasant tea. It probably won’t be a restock for me, but I’m glad to have the chance to try it—yay group order!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nattie

Butiki’s Maple Pecan Oolong is my favourite tea of all teas! Forever searching for a replacement ):

greenteafairy

I know! I’ve heard good things about A Quarter to Tea’s version; someday when my tea stash is more under control I may try to go in on a reblend.

Nattie

Yep! Me too. A reblend of that is my only decent hope right now.

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88

After the disappointment that was The des Marquises, I’m happy to say this is a return to form for DF. It’s quite fruity, in a jammy sort of way, not unlike DF’s 4 Fruits Rouge. I don’t know that I would’ve pegged it as strawberry, necessarily; I’m getting more of a mixed red fruits vibe. I can’t say I’m tasting biscuit, exactly, but there’s a sweetness—and richness—that I suppose might be vaguely reminiscent of a delicate little tea cookie.

I still haven’t tried a ton of DF blends yet, but so far I’m getting the sense they do better with more Old World-y kinds of flavor profiles and less well with… I don’t know, modern ones? Tropical? I realize Charlotte aux Fruits does contain papaya, as did Noël à Venise—why does DF add papaya to everything, anyway?—but since I can’t detect it in the taste I’m still counting this one as an old school French sort of flavor.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

This is a strange one—even by DF standards, there’s a lot going on in the description. And that’s really what drew me to it in the group order. And while quite a few of the crazy complex DF blends I’ve tried so far have underdelivered, in that only maybe half of the flavor notes promised are detectable, this one really packs it all in. Unfortunately, the result is more faintly chemical muddle than delicious melange. I’m definitely getting the kola, which is a strange but not unwelcome note to encounter in a tea, and blackberry, and clementine, and a sort of candy blueberry, plus a powerful bouquet of florals.

I can’t really say whether these flavors play nicely together or not, though, since the blend is dominated by a strong bitter and chemical-tasting note. I steeped this for 3:30 at 195F, but I’m wondering if a shorter steep and/or a lower temperature may be in order. I’ll play around with this one a bit before giving up on it, but I’m thinking it may end up in my swap pile.

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Bio

Likes: greens, dark oolongs, genmaicha, fruity greens and oolongs, chai, matcha, jasmine, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling

Dislikes: spearmint, chamomile, stevia, marshmallows, unflavored white teas, green oolongs

I’m always open to swaps; let me know if you’re interested!

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New York, NY

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