This is my first tasting note and it’s making me strangely nervous. I am still working out what kinds of tea I like (but then – isn’t everyone?) AND how to prepare them properly/to my liking, so I don’t feel quite ‘qualified’ to be assessing a tea, but here we go!
I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and raided Mariage Freres. I only found out about them because of Steepster, so – thank you Steepster. Then I had to wait for 3 days before I could try any of the teas, since I couldn’t boil water at the hotel. Now that was a mild form of torture. Oh, by the way – does anyone know why tea is so expensive in Parisian cafes? It tends to be around 5-6 (or more) euros per cup.
I absolutely loved MF’s De-stress tea (green & flowery/herby) and Confucius (smokey oolong! the joy!), but while I was decently happy with both Marco Polo and Pleine Lune, I wasn’t over the moon about them. [sorry, couldn’t resist.] I’d always been drawn to flavoured black tea, but with the exception of a whole lot of variations of chais and Earl Greys/citruses, I hadn’t had much luck.
Then I read someone’s comment here about how Dammann does flavoured blacks better than MF, and went ‘Sh&&&&&&&t! And I just got back from Paris!’. Well, turns out there was no cause for alarm, since Dammann ships to all of Europe for free for orders of 40 euros or more, so I notified a couple of tea-lovers-in-training and we ordered ourselves a package.
The package arrived 4 days later, i.e. 20 minutes ago. First thought – getting a package full of tea is BRILLIANT. Second thought – Charlotte au Chocolat!!
THIS BE WHERE THE ACTUAL TEA REVIEW STARTS
This tea smells amazing. Clearly chocolatey, but somehow ‘deeper’. After steeping it smelled even more chocolatey, and still completely lovely. As for the taste, that’s what’s got me here and typing. First of all – it’s delicious. I tried Tesco’s chocolate tea as a first attempt at chocolate teas, and it was actually quite tasty. But this one is nothing like it. It’s much less obvious and much more complex. There was a slightly bitter note, but not in an unpleasant way. There was chocolate – really yummy chocolate – but not in a hot chocolate kind of way. More in a hot cocoa with no milk way, but better. [I actually love no-milk hot cocoa. With tons of sugar, naturally]. And then there was – FIG. Lots of fig.
I couldn’t remember anyone mentioning anything figgy about this tea, just almonds and sunflowers. So I double-checked, and sure enough, no fig mentions. No fig in the ingredients. I even for a second thought I might have accidentally received one of Dammann’s fig teas, but then I remember the strong chocolateness of the smell [and taste] so that wasn’t possible. A tea mystery. But, seeing as I absolutely love fig, all of this just ended up making me very very happy. Especially since the fig flavour is pretty much exactly how I would have hoped a fig tea would end up tasting. A successful flavoured black tea experiment with a fig bonus! Joy.
I first tried the tea plain, then got the craving for something a bit sweeter and creamier and not-at-all bitter, so I added first sugar and then also a bit of milk. Tastes marvelous in all incarnation. Must try this tea again. But before that – I hear Everglad (green tea with pink grapefruit) calling ;)