850 Tasting Notes


I’m home with all my teas! I’ll be honest, that was the first thing I looked at when I walked out the door. I’m not ashamed.

Also, my Breville turned 3 yesterday! I do love my little tea machine. To honor it, I went ahead and steeped a tea I hadn’t had before while watching the Downton Abbey Christmas special. I’d been dreaming about this one for the past few days so I it was the one I went for.

The dry leaf is so pretty! I love the green and the blue. It also has a nice creamy vanilla smell – almost caramel. I steeped it at the below parameters as recommended, with no additives.

I do get the distinct scent of Bailey’s in the steeped tea…Bailey’s in combination with the smell of Taiwanese Assam, so it’s pretty amazing and comforting on a cold night. The first taste was initially kind of disappointing – it was strong and a touch astringent. I think it would have benefitted from milk, if we’d had any, or sugar, if it hadn’t been all the way across the room from me, haha.

But as it cools it actually seems to get a bit smoother. I pick up more on the irish cream though not so much on the cheesecake. It hasn’t stopped me from powering through the cup, and I suspect when I do add some sugar to future cups I will love it that much more.

Ah, so good to be home, just in time for the New Year. Maybe I’ll have time for one last cup in 2013…

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I love that Steepster always makes me feel less loony about bringing half a suitcase’s worth of tea to Rome. And after my travels, I am always so excited to be back with my adjustable temp kettle, haha. Happy new year!


Oh yes, a stovetop kettle was killer during my week and a half trip.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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El Monstro

I just ordered a sample of this.

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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!)

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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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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.

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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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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.

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Bleh, rooibos ;)

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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…

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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. "


Atlanta, GA

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