829 Tasting Notes

77

Another tea from my expedition to the Blue Turtle tea shop yesterday.

I have been a sucker for lemon teas since Noel A Venise (which is, incidentally, making it to my apartment as we speak). I’ve also become quite the snob and I’m VERY finicky about smells, apparently. They had a Monk’s blend I’ve been wanting to try (grenadine + vanilla) but the chemical smell made me quickly put it back.

I’ve also become quite picky with what type of tea I’ll drink. Rooibos and honeybush are no longer something I have in my cupboard, the only herbals are lemongrass and mint, for when I’m sick. White teas are growing on me but I still don’t drink them with enough regularity to really justify a purchase.

But I had to pick a tea there (I was with the boyfriend’s mother, and she wanted to get me something). The smell of this was such a creamy lemon that I was willing to get 1/2 an oz. to try it with the white base. I was hoping it would be as yummy as Fauchon’s L’hiver, and the dry leaf smell was promising.

Steep notes: no additives, 1.5 tsp. leaf, 8 oz. water, below parameters.

The leaves turned such a pretty bright green when they were steeping! It also smelled like fresh lemons, though the creamy/vanilla smell was gone. Initial taste when it was hot was mostly just the white tea flavor – very delicate, to the point where I was worried I’d underleafed.

As the tea cooled the lemon came out – no vanilla/cream, just a lemongrass type lemon taste. I was kind of hoping for a little less herby and a little more citrus…as it stands I would pick the Fauchon blend over this hands down. I only have half an ounce though, so that’s what – 4 more cups? Enough to play around with it and see if I can get it more to my liking.

We’ll see, I guess!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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83

Got this from a place in Columbus, OH where I’m staying for the holidays.

This really reminded me alot of Yogic Chai’s masala chai in looks, smell, and taste. But I misjudged the Breville and overleafed so it was SUPER strong. Milk and sugar levelled it out but it still gave quite the kick. The boyfriends brother likes strong tea so he drank most of it, but everyone else liked it okay too. I’m kicking myself for not bringing the Yogic Chai blend to compare for sure – I just need a tea TARDIS or something so I can have my stash wherever I go.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

Mmm. Frissy. My most noted, Old Faithful tea. You can never do any wrong in my eyes.
Which is a good thing because you are all I’ve got for the next 4 days…

Preparation
212 °F / 100 °C 3 min, 0 sec
El Monstro

I just ordered a sample of this.

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67

Advent calendar day 24. Backlog from this morning.

Cherry almond, yep. That’s the scent I get from the dry leaf. I wish I could pick up on the ginger, though – I am guessing that I won’t get it in the flavor if I don’t get it in the scent.

Steep notes: no additives, below parameters.

Sure enough, cherry and almond are at the forefront in the taste. It’s a pretty flavorful blend, too. I feel like I’ve had some iteration of this before in some of their other blends, though. No ginger to speak of, and I went the longest I could while steeping.

Eh. It was good to have (especially because the only other tea I have is my beloved Frissy and I’m traveling until Dec. 31st) but it’s not the Noel a Venise that I was so hoping I’d get for Christmas. (Sigh – guess I’ll just have to order some!)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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74

Day 24, but I had it this morning.

Merry Christmas everyone! I am sitting at the airport trying to reconstruct the memory of this tea that I bolted down before heading out the door.

The smell of this dry was familiar from all the other DF teas in the advent calendar. I think it was the caramel flavoring, but it doesn’t actually smell like caramel- it’s more an indistinct sweetness.

One steeped I get orange (another signature DF flavoring). I drank this without looking at the ingredients and interestingly tasted cranberry orange. I guess that was how I interpreted the maraschino cherry. Oh well- cranberry orange is more festive.

I wasn’t too careful with the steeping on this so it did come off a bit astringent. I can’t say I’m overly in love with it but as always it’s nice to try something new.

I have one or two teas from previous days that I need to drink and log but otherwise I’m done with the advent calendar….it was super fun and I got an awesome introduction to French teas, so a win all around!

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59

Advent Calendar, day 21.

This smelled of apple cinnamon – so, heavenly – when dry. Unfortunately even with the steeping parameters I’ve used with all the other DF teas, this just tasted weak and thin. Even as it cooled nothing really changed. Maybe a nutty undertone to the tea if I REALLY concentrate on it, but still just too watery for my tastes.

This one is just a ‘meh’ for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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56

Sample sipdown – unfortunately :(.

So I tried this on Wednesday with the intention of coming back to do resteeps later that night. Yeah, Wednesday ended up being my stupid 12 hour day due to jury duty. That didn’t happen.

I did keep the leaves though, and with the knowledge that the tea was good but could have used a little more leaf, I just went all in on the sample and intend to suck the life out of them through resteeps today.

Steep one: 2 minutes, 10 oz. water. The smell of this is what kills me. If you were to take a cinnamon roll and unroll it, and stick your nose right next to the filling and breathe in, that’s what this tea smells like. There are even light notes of bread in the smell. The liquor is very very dark opaque brown (because I went heavy on the leaf) but the taste isn’t bitter or astringent. It has a great mouthfeel and the bready notes are present, but I went ahead and added milk and sugar because I felt like it needed some help bringing out the sweetness.

Once you do that its like you took a cinnamon roll and liquefied it. This cup was finished pretty fast on account of CINNAMON ROLL. IN A CUP.

Steep two: 3 minutes, milk and sugar again added. This tastes much the same as the first cup, though I did try a sip plain and it was a touch weaker (this is not a bad thing, that first cup was STRONG). Still tastes like a cinnamon roll in my cup. I honestly am impressed. This actually takes the urge to eat a cinnamon roll away completely because the flavor is so right on.

Okay, I will be back once I spend some time with the other steeps just to keep a record of this….but as it stands right now this is a definite buy for my sugar cravings. :)

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39

Advent calendar day 18.

Rooibos. We meet again.

I have learned that I’m just not much of a fan of herbals. I’ll try them, sure, but I don’t go out of my way to buy them anymore. They just taste off to me now.

This is no exception. The dry leaf smells mostly of orange and clove but it also doesn’t definitively smell of tea. It has a medicinal smell that gets stronger when brewed (I’m thinking this may be due to the cherry.)

The taste (served with no additives) is okay – mostly orange. The mouthfeel is fine. I just really don’t like that medicinal note – I have to breathe through my mouth in order to take a sip.

Yeah, not wowed, but then I didn’t expect to be, really.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

Bleh, rooibos ;)

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82

Advent calendar, day 19 (though I’m having it today because I got mixed up.)

Another Christmas tea! These are so fun. I like imagining the different cities and why they picked the flavors they did. I’m assuming this was based on the Sachertorte (chocolate cake) and Marillenkuchen (apricot cake) that are traditional Austrian desserts.

Steep notes: no additives, below parameters.

Dry leaf smelled mostly like chocolate and caramel (I’m pretty sure the vanilla is responsible for this). I don’t mind chocolate in tea but it feels like they put it in every blend, practically. Luckily they do it well. Once steeped the aroma has transformed into a sweet milk chocolate. This, again, is pretty standard Dammann…I imagine the apricot is waiting for me in the taste.

Mmm…it was! I get the fruity apricot followed by creamy vanilla and a muted chocolate. As the liquor has cooled the apricot is more evident in the scent as well. I like this! It’s probably my second favorite after the Venice Christmas one. I’ll keep this on the reorder list for sure…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67

Advent Calendar, Day 20 (EEP: I had this on yesterday accidentally! Sorry to spoil the surprise). Getting close to the end now – I can’t even believe it’s Christmas next Wednesday.

When I first smelled this I got red fruit/berries, specifically strawberry, and even kind of a caramelly scent. Reading the description turned the berry note into apple+peach. Don’t know where I got caramel unless it was the pear (I think it can sometimes have a sugary sweet scent like that).

Steeped at the below parameters, with no additives.

Apple and plum both have that astringence with their skin that I am wary of in tea form. I like eating them both but I’ve had apple teas before and they tend to carry that astringence over. This is the case here – between the plum and the apple it is very astringent and tart, albeit fruity. This is only the second of the Dammann teas I’ve tried so far (the other being their Earl Grey) that I think would benefit from some sugar.

I was so close to the end of the cup before determining this that I didn’t bother with the sugar – and as it was only the one teabag, I doubt I will order it again to try this out. So far I still think that Noël a Venise is my favorite Christmas tea of theirs.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

Location

Atlanta, GA

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