111 Tasting Notes

drank L'Oriental by Dammann Freres
111 tasting notes

I drank this at a friend’s place. I chose it by default, as he offered me mainly Christmas spice-laden teas, totally right for the season but usually not so to my taste. I must confess I was not overly enthusiastic at first, at the idea of drinking a flavored green, as I often am wary of the green teas bitterness.
The smell was delightful, very tart and fruity. I had a cold so could not really recognize the different fruits among the flavors.
I would definitely drink it again, though I’m still unsure whether I’m ready to buy a flavored green and whether this one would be it.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Yesterday morning I woke up at quarter to three, courtesy of jetlag. I decided then to indulge in a nice teapot, while reading, before getting ready for the office, to make up for that way too early awakening. I picked up Jardin Bleu’s sample that Ysaurella had sent me, which kept calling my name but which I wanted to keep for a special day. Here it is.
The tea looks quite nice with little yellow and blue petals mixed with the tea leaves and also smells good dry.
Once brewed, the color is golden honey; the smell very pleasant.
The taste is very mellow, almost tart at first, very fruity, and at the same time there’s a bit of tanginess, a little something that makes it not overly sweet. The strawberry flavor is quite noticeable, but is however not domineering. I honestly did not recognize rhubarb, but I haven’t eaten any over the last 2 years and that probably makes it more difficult.
Overall it’s a very delicate brew, very easy to drink, and which I did not tire of. I could have brewed a second tea-pot right away, had I still been thirsty. While drinking it, I really had the feeling, blue was the perfect color to embody this tea: neither navy, nor baby blue, but sapphire blue, which is IMO neither cold nor warm, and very relaxing.
I’ve seen description of this tea as a morning tea. IMO, it’s much more an afternoon one.
I really look forward to my second and last brew of the sample and will most probably buy it sometime soon (after having emptied a bit my overfilled cupboard though).

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

a cousin of this one is IMO Thé du Hammam Black leaf from Palais des thés, but smoother, on a keemun basis

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Let me start with a digression, which might be useful for you to understand my disappointment.
I’ve always thought that exotic/tropical fruit juices were usually not great and not as good as plain orange juice; as if the blending did not really work and faded the nice and all the specific flavors to something bland and undefinable. Exactly the same thing as for whisky when you compare nice single malts with blends that are just too bland and uninteresting, even though some of them boost of containing “a little bit of all the best whiskies” as I heard it once.
However, I really enjoy eating passion fruits (or having them in cocktails…), as their flavor is much more particular than the fake exotic blend. Hence my high expectations for this single-flavor tea;

Very strong Passion Fruit smell when opening the tea bag. The tea looks also nice with yellow petals and small pieces of fruit (not sure whether it is passion fruit skin or small apple flavored with passion fruit) among the black tea.
Golden honey color
When dry, the tea smells very strong like exotic fruits; once steeped the smell turns slightly more discrete.
The smells and tastes remind me more of exotic fruit mix, than simply of passion fruit; it feels a bit too sweet, too sugary and not tangy enough to be just passion fruit at the right level of ripeness.
The black tea base is quite nice but not really special.
I was happy to see that the tea did not leave a greasy flake at the bottom of my cup.
To make it short, it’s quite nice to drink, but not as good as I expected. After having drunk about on third of the pack, I already feel like I have had enough of this one, which is just good enough to drink at work but not at home for cozying up and relaxing. I will not buy it again though will probably try out more sophisticated exotic blends.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I like it actually much better when I drink it in the late afternoon at the office, than at home some time in the evening, hence my slightly reviewed quote. I tried to understand the reasons why: I guess that the really strong citrusy taste gives me the feeling that this brew has awakening/exciting benefits, while I usually prefer smoother and more relaxing drinks in the evening.
I also am less concentrated on my tea at the office than at home which might make it the best way to empty my stocks of nice but not preferred teas.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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When I opened the sealed bag, I did not remember what the tea had looked like when I had purchased it a few months ago. I was disappointed to see that the chamomile was finely grounded almost to powder and that there were not any entire flowers. A rooibos is usually always made up of small pieces, but this one is even finer than all the others I’ve had. Even the tiny holes of my new strainer are not small enough to prevent it from spilling into the teapot. And the strainer is quite difficult to clean as some pieces keeps getting stuck in the holes; I do not have this problem with any other rooibos I have which cannot endear this one to me.
Next let’s come to the tasting. The brew is not really clear, as a result from the dust spilling. The smell is quite nice, strong on chamomile with the sweetness brought by the rooibos.
The taste is ok, but keeps disappointing me.
Two months ago, while staying in a nice hotel in Malaysia, I had a chamomile after dinner that was the best I ever had; the following morning I discovered with pleasure Gryphon tea. This chamomile was just plain flowers steeping in hot water, but the taste was fresh, mild with no hint of bitterness or unpleasant aftertaste, well really perfect. I had not asked for the brand of the chamomile then, which I regret.
Since then my expectations have highly risen. And that’s probably the reason why I’m disappointed here. The hashed chamomile has a hint of something slightly bitter in it. And the rooibos base from Le Palais des Thés is too weak to add enough creaminess to compensate for it.
The verbena rooibos was a better blend than this one IMO.
I’ll try it iced though.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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My second tasting from the nice samples provided by Ysaurella…
The weather is hot and sunny; the clouds and rain should only come later in the day. However I felt like having comfort food today to make up for my almost gone cold and for the absence of Hubby.
Pomme d’Amour smelled like the perfect antidote to any gloominess.
I was afraid to have left it steeping a bit too long, as I’m not sure I was not on the wrong side of 5 minutes, and that I had put too much of it, as it had really swelled inside my strainer. The little apple pieces in particular had especially filled out.
The color was a nice caramel honey; the smell very sweet and candy-like.
Then I sipped and was relieved not to find any hint of bitterness. My first surprise was that the caramel taste was lighter than I expected, but fortunately tasted like home-made caramel and not like the fake-caramel flavor which is often used in industrial foods and beverages, especially herbal-dust in bags heavily laden with artificial coloring and flavoring that is sold in most supermarkets.
The tea base seems really nice. Pomme d’Amour tea has the very natural taste of real fruit heavily dipped and cooked in sugar. This is undeniably a very high quality product.
I have to confess that I have only one bit of a toffee apple once in my life, many many years ago. My cousin who had shared a part of her delicacy with me was not very happy when I told her I did not like it very much, as it was too sweet and sugary; and that’s about the only recollection I have of it.
I am not the biggest fan of desserts, especially cakes, and am really quite picky about those; however a good Tarte Tatin is among my favorites. So I tried to find out what differences there were between Pomme d’Amour tea with what I love about apple cakes and Tarte Tatin. I came out with those findings:
- I usually like the apples to be a bit tangy, as the fruit tanginess complements the sugar-butter caramel better;
- I also much prefer when the cake is prepared with salted butter, especially crystal salt. To my opinion, the twist added by the salt make all the flavors stand out.
Of course, this tea did not promise to be “Tarte Tatin” flavored, but Pomme d’Amour and I believe the promise to be perfectly met.
If you have a very sweet-tooth, it should be a bullseye hit.
If you have more of a sweet and sour tooth, it might not be so convincing.

I’ll drink a second batch of this tea with great pleasure (and the first one did not linger long in my pot), however I know that I will not buy it, as I probably would not finish the batch, and that I have to be careful selecting candy-sweet flavored teas.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

this is funny because Pomme D"amour is a tea almost all people I swapped with requested (along with Pleine Lune of MF)
You’re the first to review it and I am happy you appreciate it for a sweet tea. If you don’t like too much pastries and cakes, maybe try some citrus teas, you’ll get the fruity notes without the sugar hint note. From DF Douchka is a very nice one but if you like teas not too strong on caffeine maybe Earl Grey French Blue from MF would please you.
Aïda as well from MF but stronger on the tea base


I’m sure some people would love it à la folie…


Guilty of requesting it of ysaurella – :) have not tried it yet though hoping for a properly functioning nose soon!


No probs cteresa, I fully understand as I am myself absolutely tea disabled since 3 days with a kind of big cold :)

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This morning, I still have a cold with a highly stuffed nose and reduced smelling and tasting abilities.
I decided then it was the perfect day to try the Chai I got from Gryphon’s Treasure box, and whose spice laden smell through the plastic bag was never enticing to me, when I had my full capacity.
I know it’s supposed to be drunk with a cloud of milk, but I can’t do that, as just the smell of milk is enough to unsettle my stomach.
The spice taste is really strong, there’s definitely aniseed, cumin, cardamom, something that remind me of Cayenne pepper, a strong aftertaste of clove. It really smells like a spice market in Aceh and that’s quite amazing. However, all those spices tend to overwhelm me, but not in a very good sense.
Under all those perfumes, I cannot identify anything that remind me of tea and I am wondering whether the tea base is strong enough – what I’ve noticed regularly with Gryphon is that they were strong advocates of “less is more”, but sometimes this quest for subtlety goes to far and translates into a tasteless brew.
Chai is also supposed to be drunk with sugar. After my first small cup “nature” to get the most of the flavors, I tried one with honey, thinking it would be interesting to see the flavors’ mixing. My honey is rather strong and that was not a good idea; the honey did not manage to cover the spices just added something else to a pot already overflowing.
I finally decided to make it simple with raw sugar; it’s definitely required. With sugar added in the brew, the spices flavor blend together and seem like subdued in comparison with the plain and too rough brew.
It’s like trying to preparing a dish that requires long slow cooking (like Boeuf Bourguignon or Osso Bucco for instance) in a hurry and eating it before the ingredients have had the time to blend and turn a standard dish into a nice tasty delight.
However to my opinion, even with sugar, this Chai reminds me too much of a dish overflowing with spices, but in which both meats and vegetables would have been too sparsely included. It was my first Chai drinking experiment and may well probably be one my last.
For the record, I did not really appreciate the few “Christmas teas” some friends pushed to me in the past, because of that and the spice overload was definitely not as strong as in this one.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

cumin is a strange addition to a chai – not sure I would have dared. Though sometimes blenders do really know best.

My sympathies about the cold, I am getting out of one as well!


That’s actually your post about your blending your own Homemade Chai which gave me the idea that this would be the perfect “cure”;)
Definitely hope you’re feeling better.


Thank you, yes, I am feeling better, though the craving for chai is probably going to last a bit longer – it makes for a few grungy pots to scrub, but OMG it´s so good, where has that concept been all my life? My one best chai (so far) is Mariage Fréres´Chandernagor (predictably almost. it´s like they got a perfect profile on my nose and brain to figure out what cames out tasting perfect to me) but the homemade chai was fun to make and it is good – though admittedly I had some good spices at hand from Indian grocery stores which i think made a difference.

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In an office in Singapore, the temperature is usually very cool (and way below that of outside air); I’m not that sensitive to the cold and my friends in Europe can attest to that as some complained it was too cold in my home in winter. However I’m quite sensitive to strong temperature differences between places.
This sitting in a cold draft feeling explains why I drink more tea here than I used to, because sometimes I really need the hot cup to keep my fingers from getting blue and to warm my insides – environmental nonsense in a country where a very cool outside temperature stand around 27°C (around 80°F). Drinking tea also helped me compensate for my drastic cut in my daily espresso consumption (from 5 to 6 a day to 1)
At the office, the coffee is excellent, but the available teas are really average tea-bags, that I’ve all tried and drank once but either knew I had to avoid at all cost forever or could drink but did not feel like having again.
I decided then that life was too short to waste on drinking brewed dust, bitter and sometimes even vile-tasting brews which left me almost queasy after one cup.
I wanted something convenient, easy to clean, not fragile, as I can be a bit of a klutz and knew I would have to carry my cup back and forth between the kitchen and my desk. This last criteria definitely ruled out the Bodum Tea for one set, which I was already afraid to break when putting down on the store’s table, and for which the salesguy told me it was great because you could still use the filter (plastic mesh) with another cup, when the double-glass cup got broken by the clumsy customer.

After a while, I came across this set, which was on sale, and available in a nice fuchsia color.
I liked the design, the glass looked sturdy, easy to handle, without any risks thanks to the silicon wide ring. I also liked that the filter was a very fine mesh, through which rooibos could not go through. What I found a bit disappointing was the glass capacity (bigger than the Bodum though), especially as there was a larger glass with the same design available but without the strainer and cover.
It’s very convenient to use, rather easy to rinse, without having to use a sponge or brush to take the tea / rooibos leaves outside of the strainer. I usually manage not to have tea dripping on my desk when taking the filter out of the cup or back into it; the strainer handle fits really well, never gets hot. The filter is really stable once set onto the cover dish. The large silicon ring around the glass allows for a very comfortable walk with the glass full, the grip not feeling slippery at all even with clammy hands, unlike when holding a normal glass.
The glass and strainer get stained by tea (which I do not mind but some others might). However my main concern is that the plastic mesh is already quite crinkled, as if it could not completely stand boiling hot water temperature. I have trouble to believe this filter can be as long-lasting as a stainless steel one. I had not directly compared it with the Bodum, but both had seemed very similar.
As it is, I’m very happy with this set whose advantages are obvious everyday to my clumsy self.
Had I found before the Forlife strainer, I probably would have bought two of these, one for home, one for the office instead of this set.
Time will tell which one of the two (stainless steel vs. plastic mesh) strainers is the more long-lasting one…

205 °F / 96 °C

And do you have a preferance by now for the steel or mesh strainer?


The plastic is still in very good shape, though honey-colored. Not more crinkles than at first.
I like its lightness and the bright color which makes it quite fun for the office.
My only complaint would be that I have the feeling the plastic retains some flavors of the teaas when I pour hot water on top of it before putting new tea leaves, the water soon become slighty orange.
At the same time, I never wash it with detergent, just throw the leaves away, and a quick rinse. Rooibos I often drink late afternoon and I also leave it dry in the mesh as it gets easier to empty on the following morning.

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Not as bad as the same brand fake Oolong tea
The content of the tea bag is once again hashed very fine. I’m not sure whether the jasmine taste comes from real flowers mixed with the tea or from oils, or worse artificial flavoring.
The tea turned very bitter quite quickly; when the tea was growing colder in my cup, the bitterness became stronger and really overwhelming. The tea seemed a bit murky, though with less particles in suspension than the oolong.
All in all, it might be drinkable with a shorter steep time, but to my opinion will at best remain a very generic jasmine tea with no finesse and no interest and most probably a not very pleasant tasting one.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Sold by 100 tea-bags for a dirt-cheap price (or so I hope). I tried it at the office, for the sake of checking that I did good bothering with rinsing my mesh-filter. I had not had my fine-tasting Sun-Moon Lake tea in a while; so much the better, as there were no ground for fair comparison.
The content of the bag is hashed really fine, not making it possible to see if you’re brewing leaves or stems.
The color of the tea is really brown, like maple syrup, while I was expecting a oolong to be something closer to a light yellow. It seems a bit murky, with some almost invisible dust floating within.
The smell is slightly oolong, but I had to almost wet my nose to notice it. The taste is in between a vile cheap black tea and a oolong, but lean more on the vile cheap black tea side. The lingering taste got even worse, after a few sips. And the tea seemed bitterer while it was cooling, even though I had taken the bag out quite quickly.
I’m not sure whether the black tea feeling only came from a stronger oxidation.
Anyway even this one cup was quite difficult to finish and left my stomach a bit queasy. I’ll never pick it up again and can only recommend every one to steer clear of it.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

I finally found the right analogy for this tea : it is to oolong what a Christmas chocolate wrapper would be to a real gold leaf…

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I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.



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