drank Figue Fraîche by Dammann Freres
612 tasting notes

This was a ZOMG diamond prize in the awesome swap box Dexter3657 sent me—I’ve been DYING to try it; it’s the tea from Dammann that was the main motivation every time I’d go through the hoops of online shopping basket calculations and fretting about customs—huge THANK YOU! Every time I nearly pulled the trigger on an overseas or through-some-mysterious-North-American-vendor-and-still-expensive order, I teetered on that ledge and walked off just in time by reminding myself until I know for sure I love this or other similar gorgeous sounding blends from them it’s silly really.

So to be honest, I’ve been secretly hoping to be let down a little so I can breathe a sigh of relief and forget about all the hassle/cost. Well. Turns out not quite. There are not angels blowing trumpets in my mouth or anything, but this is quite good. It’s hard to find many fig teas at all, harder still to find any that really taste of fig, and then nearly impossible to find ones that taste of fig AND are tasty as tea. While not the rapturous perfection I was fantasizing about in my head (a perfect fresh fig is, for me, one of the most transcendent and dizzingly sexy gastronomic experiences one can have), this is good and grows on me the more I linger on it. I can see why the smell could be offputting to some—it’s a very ripe bordering on spoiled fig, or maybe like a jammy, cooked down or dried one. You know that aromatic element of extremely soft, sweet-to-bursting, floral-rot funk fruit gets, kind of wine skin-ish? It’s like that. What’s interesting is flavor-wise it does not taste overly sweet at all. It’s a bit woody-drying thanks to the Ceylon I think, and it fits well because it captures the seed-filled sticky quality of a real fig. There’s a subtle tartness too that works well with that texture. And I like that you can taste the tea, and it contributes naturally to the impression of figginess.

So. I rather like this. I’m not blown away though, so I’m thinking it’s a good thing I didn’t go crazy ordering DF for myself in full-size amounts just yet. Thank you so much Dexter3657 for helping me figure this all out. Super useful opportunity.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
NofarS

There is a huge fig tree near where I work, and we often pass it on our way to lunch. The smell of the figs in season is dizzingly uplifting. I love figs!

Dexter

Sorry that you weren’t blown away, but really happy to have helped you in the learning/exploration of this tea. Try before you buy is always a good thing – maybe you’ll find something else you like better that is easier to get a hold of. :))

ifjuly

Man Dex, I’ve been trying to no avail to leave comments on your notes all week but whenever I hit post they disappear into the ether and suddenly the page says I’m not following you. Ack! Anyway, I’ve been so happy to see you dig some of the stuff I sent—I haven’t tried the wine pu erh yet myself but now I’m even more excited to (let’s not go into what that even says about the sorry crazy state of affairs re: my out of control stash, heh).

Anyway, yes! I’ve really been enjoying the teas you sent me—had a bunch of the fancypants straight blacks last week and need to log them soon, and my husband and I have been enjoying the S&Vs for afternoon tea—and this was definitely the one I knew would be the most useful/game-changing for me, where it’d either convince me to part with a bunch of money and start stressing about DF ordering, or I’d be relieved, ha. I’m so glad I have a better grip on their tea now. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve tried of theirs but not “spend a fortune to buy 100g” in love, which is perfect really. Thank you so much!

ifjuly

NofarS, as a fig fiend that is my idea of heaven! (:

Dexter

Not to worry – Steepster has been misbehaving for me this week too. Happy that you have been enjoying the package I sent you. :))
I don’t want to talk about the sorry state of my cupboard – I haven’t tried ANY not one of my BF teas – including this one. I haven’t tried any of the Fauchon I sent you…. out of control stash. I need to take a couple of days and drink some of MY teas.:))

__Morgana__

I remember finding this tea somewhat discombobulating when I first tasted it because I’d never had fig in tea before, but once I got past that I became a big fan.

MissB

Heh, you two and me as well with the out-of-control stashes! :) I have a huge fig tree in my front yard.. I should see about mailing them off when they’re ripe again, because literally pounds of them went to waste last year. I posted on Craigslist for people to come and get them, even.

ifjuly

Sooooo jealous! I would gorge on them ‘til I got sick if I could in the summertime, nothing makes me feel quite as languid and summery voluptuous as biting into a fresh fig, yum. A few friends here have had trees in the past at the apartments/houses they rented, but they’ve since moved on. I can’t grow anything that survives past a year to save my life alas, so I am fruitless.

I also always think of that cheesy-funny scene in the movie adaptation of House of Mirth with Gillian Anderson where the guy comes on to her by offering her figs and mentioning their, ehrm, evocative qualities. Haha.

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Comments

NofarS

There is a huge fig tree near where I work, and we often pass it on our way to lunch. The smell of the figs in season is dizzingly uplifting. I love figs!

Dexter

Sorry that you weren’t blown away, but really happy to have helped you in the learning/exploration of this tea. Try before you buy is always a good thing – maybe you’ll find something else you like better that is easier to get a hold of. :))

ifjuly

Man Dex, I’ve been trying to no avail to leave comments on your notes all week but whenever I hit post they disappear into the ether and suddenly the page says I’m not following you. Ack! Anyway, I’ve been so happy to see you dig some of the stuff I sent—I haven’t tried the wine pu erh yet myself but now I’m even more excited to (let’s not go into what that even says about the sorry crazy state of affairs re: my out of control stash, heh).

Anyway, yes! I’ve really been enjoying the teas you sent me—had a bunch of the fancypants straight blacks last week and need to log them soon, and my husband and I have been enjoying the S&Vs for afternoon tea—and this was definitely the one I knew would be the most useful/game-changing for me, where it’d either convince me to part with a bunch of money and start stressing about DF ordering, or I’d be relieved, ha. I’m so glad I have a better grip on their tea now. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve tried of theirs but not “spend a fortune to buy 100g” in love, which is perfect really. Thank you so much!

ifjuly

NofarS, as a fig fiend that is my idea of heaven! (:

Dexter

Not to worry – Steepster has been misbehaving for me this week too. Happy that you have been enjoying the package I sent you. :))
I don’t want to talk about the sorry state of my cupboard – I haven’t tried ANY not one of my BF teas – including this one. I haven’t tried any of the Fauchon I sent you…. out of control stash. I need to take a couple of days and drink some of MY teas.:))

__Morgana__

I remember finding this tea somewhat discombobulating when I first tasted it because I’d never had fig in tea before, but once I got past that I became a big fan.

MissB

Heh, you two and me as well with the out-of-control stashes! :) I have a huge fig tree in my front yard.. I should see about mailing them off when they’re ripe again, because literally pounds of them went to waste last year. I posted on Craigslist for people to come and get them, even.

ifjuly

Sooooo jealous! I would gorge on them ‘til I got sick if I could in the summertime, nothing makes me feel quite as languid and summery voluptuous as biting into a fresh fig, yum. A few friends here have had trees in the past at the apartments/houses they rented, but they’ve since moved on. I can’t grow anything that survives past a year to save my life alas, so I am fruitless.

I also always think of that cheesy-funny scene in the movie adaptation of House of Mirth with Gillian Anderson where the guy comes on to her by offering her figs and mentioning their, ehrm, evocative qualities. Haha.

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Bio

“…you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
-Julia Child on food and cooking, and I think it applies to tea as well!

note: i am currently taking a break from swapping/mail of any kind as money is rather tight. i apologize! i do love to swap but i can’t afford to right now. hopefully in a month things will change.

my cupboard includes any tea i’ve ever owned, including things i’ve sipped down, in order to facilitate swaps with people and keep a record—this way i don’t get redundant samples/order duplicates to try. if you are interested in swapping, i have a separate ever-updated list of teas i actually have on hand i can PM.

i like strong, rich blacks (including some choice old skool CTCs); juicy-fruity flavored green blends; buttery chinese greens; light floral oolongs; flavored oolongs (how sacrilegious!); earl greys; smoky blends; second flush muscatel darjeelings; verdant’s straight oolongs steeped in a gaiwan (mind altering!); anything from laoshan village it seems.

favorite notes include lavender, bergamot, violet, fennel, cardamom, melon, honey, sandalwood, smoke, nuts, roasty/toasty stuff, malt, wood, leather, creamy lemon, steamed rice, artichoke, garden-sweet snap veggies, earth/soil, forest and wet bark, and mushroom.

notes i generally can’t stand (at least in tea) include jasmine, rose (ok in small doses but i often find it overpowering and then everything just smells like musty old lady perfume), astringent apple (and general fruitiness really unless it’s with green tea), and chamomile (unless i’m congested or tired).

my current favorite tea vendors are butiki and harney and sons. i’ve also found some delicious teas and/or had good customer service experiences with the following companies: capital tea ltd., the devotea, verdant, mandala, golden moon, teavivre, lupicia, taiwan tea crafts, yezi tea, den’s tea, the tea merchant, norbu, fauchon paris, tao tea leaf, zen tea, fortnum and mason, townshend’s tea, joy’s teaspoon, new mexico tea company, persimmon tree, teajo teas, whispering pines, della terra, upton imports, mariage freres, samovar, justea, teabox, american tea room, steven smith, steap shoppe, utopia tea, and andrews and dunham damn fine tea. when i’m at the grocery store my “you could do worse” brands include stash, bigelow, tazo, taylors of harrogate, whittard of chelsea, and pg tips. and it’s a fact: you can’t make classic southern sweet tea without luzianne.

top picks, fall 2013

black:
verdant zhu rong yunnan black
verdant laoshan black
thepuriTea hong jing luo (no longer available :( )
thepuriTea red dragon pearl (no longer available :( )
mandala morning sun
golden moon honey orchid
verdant golden fleece
taiwan tea crafts red jade
yezi tea zheng shan xiao zhong “scotch” tea
capital tea borsapori estate assam tgfop1 (spl)
butiki khongea golden tippy assam
butiki giddahapar darjeeling extra special
upton imports fikkal estate
golden moon sinharaja
harney and sons new vithanakande
persimmon tree vintage black
teajo teas black manas
justea kenyan black
harney and sons kangaita op

morning blends:
butiki the black lotus
harney and sons queen catherine
harney and sons eight at the fort
harney and sons big red sun
harney and sons scottish morn
golden moon irish breakfast
harney and sons irish breakfast
utopia tea english breakfast
fortnum and mason breakfast blend (needs milk!)
andrews and dunham double knit blend
steven smith no. 25 morning light
butiki irish cream cheesecake

earl greys and scented afternoon blends:
teajo teas silky earl grey
harney and sons viennese earl grey
upton imports lavender earl grey
american tea room victoria
lupicia earl grey grand classic
harney and sons tower of london
tao tea leaf cream earl grey
zen tea earl grey cream
della terra earl grey creme
upton imports season’s pick earl grey creme vanilla
upton imports baker street afternoon blend
harney and sons russian country
della terra professor grey
verdant earl of anxi

flavored black:
herbal infusions moose tracks
american tea room brioche
steap shoppe cinnamon swirl bread
della terra oatmeal raisin cookie
butiki nutmeg cream
kusmi caramel
david’s tea brazillionaire
lupicia banane chocolat
butiki hello sweetie
fauchon paris raspberry macaron
butiki blueberry purple tea
herbal infusions marshmallow snowflake earl grey
herbal infusions creme brulee chai

pu erh:
mandala loose and luscious lincang 2007 shu/ripe pu erh
mandala special dark 2006 shu/ripe pu erh

oolong:
verdant shui jin gui wuyi oolong
verdant hand-picked early spring tieguanyin
butiki 2003 reserve four season oolong
harney and sons formosa oolong
tea merchant silk dragon
golden moon coconut pouchong
zen tea coconut oolong
american tea room coconut oolong
teavivre taiwan jin xuan milk oolong
butiki flowery pineapple oolong
butiki lychee oolong
lupicia momo oolong supergrade
butiki strawberry oolong
butiki pumpkin milkshake darjeeling oolong
52teas tiramisu oolong

green:
verdant laoshan bilochun green
verdant autumn harvest laoshan green
tao tea leaf hou kui
harney and sons tencha
harney and sons gyokuro
new mexico casablanca
butiki with open eyes
american tea room nirvana
joy’s teaspoon mahalo
den’s tea pineapple sencha
harney and sons tokyo
butiki potato pancakes and applesauce
butiki holiday eggnog and pralines
den’s tea organic genmaicha with matcha
golden moon hojicha

white:
butiki cantaloupe and cream
butiki champagne and rose cream

no caf:
harney and sons soba buckwheat
butiki birthday cake
della terra lemon chiffon
52teas strawberry pie honeybush
butiki mango lassi
joy’s teaspoon italian dream
butiki coconut cream pie rooibos
butiki peppermint patty
persimmon tree mint chocolate chip rooibos
art of tea velvet tea
fusion teas chocolate cake honeybush
american tea room choco-late
steven smith no. 40 bon bon
townshend’s tea dark forest chai
utopia tea decaffeinated earl grey cream

sleep aid/medicinal/therapeutic:
new mexico extra sleepy bear
stash white christmas
verdant ginger sage winter spa blend
samovar turmeric spice
butiki the killer’s vanilla guayusa

coldsteeped wonders:
whispering pines manistee moonrise
harney and sons fruits d’alsace
utopia tea berkshire apple and fig
culinary teas peaches and cream
butiki peach hoppiTea
butiki ruby pie
whispering pines gingerade

besides tea

born in seoul, raised in new england and upstate new york, went to college in pittsburgh, currently in memphis with an eye toward philadelphia, portland, or asheville eventually.

i like cats, most beverages really (i also like good freshly roasted coffee, craft beer, wine, whiskey and gin-based cocktails, and soda/soft drinks like agua fresca), art (mainly writing but also visual and music) and critical theory, feminism/genderqueer politics, historiography, statistics, children’s literature and librarianship, travel, and food/cooking. also have recently gotten into weightlifting (mark rippetoe and stumptuous!) and sprint training (HIIT, plyometrics) and i love it.

Location

Memphis, TN

Website

http://facebook.com/ifjuly

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