725 Tasting Notes
It’s my Steepster birthday! I’ve been hanging around here for a good 3 years now!
I had another hard night at work – our floor is full of such heavy acuity kids right now I feel like I’m running all night long. Luckily I’ve got a night to recuperate before signing on for 2 more. Plus, it is SO COLD outside. Supposed to flurry later tonight/tomorrow morning, even, though it would be better if it didn’t. Georgians simply don’t know what to do with snow or ice.
So I couldn’t just go off to sleep without getting a cup of tea to warm/relax me. I wanted a black tea, no added flavors but strong. This one I got from Stacy’s Black Friday sale, and since I know most of the flavor profiles of these teas separately, I was excited to see what happened when they blended together.
Followed the steep parameters recommended by Stacy, 3 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville.
This brews up a lighter brown color than I usually expect for a breakfast tea. It’s very smooth and doesn’t need any additives, either, which makes it seem even less of a breakfast tea to me.
Interesting…I think this tea has the lighter texture and mouthfeel of the Darjeeling, while maintaining the chocolate/malt/earthiness of the assam and keemun. It’s kind of throwing me for a loop, actually, that it has such a rich flavor without as much of a body to it.
I will say that I went into this very hesitantly knowing the Keemun was in this blend – I was leery of the smoke. This Keemun is really not smoky at all (phew!) and that was the biggest thing I was worried about so this makes me very happy. I do think its more of an afternoon tea than a breakfast tea, and I also think the chocolate/raisin notes come out a LOT more as the tea itself cools.
Pretty good, but not my absolute favorite blend from Butiki. Still, it was great to try it!
A generous sample given to me by Sil! Thank you so much!
Just got in the door from work and it was 25 degrees outside. I wanted to go straight to sleep but first I had to thaw out. With Dammann, of course. Because they are my new favorite thing lately.
Dry leaf smells of the a chemical/fakey caramel and red fruit. I’m sure it will settle out when the water hits it, but this wasn’t something I was too fond of smelling dry.
Steep notes: 2.4 g. leaf, 8 oz, water, no additives, below parameters.
There is still a kind of fake caramel note in the smell. The fruit seems more authentic, though I can’t pick out specifics. Mostly I want to say raspberry, which is unfortunate because I don’t like raspberry all that much.
The taste is a caramel (it does taste a little fake, which surprised me) and then a jammy fruit spread flavor. This has a very thick mouthfeel, it really reminds me a lot of preserves or something. Yep, raspberry jam and caramel in a nutshell.
I do really like how thick and chewy this is…it’s just a darn shame there wasn’t strawberry or cherry in the forefront. For a raspberry tea, though, it’s still pretty drinkable. And it helped warm me up.
Sigh. Now off to bed before going back to work again tonight.
The third of the teas I ordered from Dammann, and a backlog from last night.
(I know that I am the queen of needless verbosity so I’m sorry in advance, but I’m including the backstory to keep it all straight in my head for future reference.)
I am ambivalent about mint teas in general, so this was a tea I mostly ordered for the boyfriend, who goes through Moroccan Mint in 250 g. increments. He really liked the Teavana version (which uses spearmint) but that is needlessly expensive, and then I switched to buying Upton (which uses peppermint) because it was cheaper and we both really dislike the ambiance and price of Teavana.
When I was looking for DF teas to buy I found that this one uses nana mint, a spearmint varietal that is actually what a Moroccan mint tea SHOULD contain. Since we needed a restock anyway this was a no brainer.
Which leads us to last night. The dry leaf didn’t have too much of a smoky note to it, which is good because I prefer less if possible. The mint was also very mild -definitely spearmint, but a little bit shyer.
Steep notes: below parameters, 2 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville, and no additives.
This is a well blended tea in that I taste the mint and the green equally. It doesn’t shout mint and it doesn’t do that cooling trick in your mouth that an overload of mint tends to cause. Nice and muted, and up the boyfriend’s alley. He’s most pleased with it, actually.
As for me, its good. Mint greens aren’t my thing and are pretty interchangeable, but I wasn’t getting it for me in the first place. He will go through it, and that’s all that matters.
This was one of the three teas I got from Dammann recently. I steeped this up for myself while I made the boyfriend Noël à Venise (lucky guy is working from home today, because it was “icy” this morning).
I like figs. I like figs and I like tea and there really aren’t any straight fig black teas that I’ve seen anywhere else, plus my mother LOVES figs and her birthday is coming up. Since Dammann seems to be really good at producing natural flavorings I was willing to bet this would be a good choice to spring for 100 grams of.
The dry leaf is sweet and fruity, yes there is fig but also kind of strawberry-ish notes. No chemical notes, just fruit. Simple and to the point.
Steep notes: 2.4 g (1 heaping teaspoon) leaf to about 8-10 oz. water, no additives, below parameters.
Sometimes with DF the scent changes a lot from dry to steeped tea. That wasn’t the case with this one at all – it was that same lovely fig/strawberry smell, only magnified out of the cup to our entire breakfast nook. YUM.
The steeped tea itself is also very dark and looks a bit more viscous than tea usually does…almost like a prune juice. The taste, though, is perfect: fresh juicy fig, in a smooth, chewy black tea. This is quite a solid, unique offering from Dammann and I’m glad to have sprung for it!
[Boyfriend liked the Noël à Venise, btw. Wants to try it iced, even. DF is a miracle worker, because this guy doesn’t do flavored anything unless its mint or earl grey. I feel like I should move to France to thank them, haha].
Noël à Venise!
I liked the DF advent calendar but I felt that all the other teas were a bit samey after a while. Orange, chocolate, cloves, or caramel. This one technically is toffee but all I get is buttery vanilla and meyer lemon – quite a difference to the other teas in the box. It was the only one from the calendar that I considered a must order. (which just meant I got to order some new to me teas and hope for the best – so, silver linings!)
I’m not sure what it is about this tea, but it feels specifically designed for my palate. I was that girl who sucked on lemon wedges just because and I like vanilla and cream anything over chocolate, any day.
I was nervous about the transition from tea bag to loose leaf, though. Mostly I was worried about the teaspoon/gram amount. I solved this by weighing one of their sachets (2.4 grams) and just weighing out the dry leaf in a strainer. I don’t know why I was so nervous, I think it was because I’d had such a perfect first experience and didn’t know how subsequent ones would measure up.
It’s like I’ve forgotten Tea Lessons 101: loose leaf is always better.
Dry leaf – still sweet/tart lemon with a heavy cream undertone. The boyfriend, who rolled his eyes at me having to go outside the country to support my tea habit, did grudgingly admit it smelled good – a pastry tart, was his description. To me it’s also strongly reminiscent of Earl Grey Cream, but lemon and not bergamot.
The taste is just as perfect as I remember, too – great without additives, warm and comforting but not super heavy since the lemon is such a bright counterpoint. It is just fantastic, and the fact that I was able to replicate the experience is what is nudging it up to the 100.
Welcome home, Noël à Venise. You will always be a staple in my cupboard.
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…
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!
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.
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!)