Dammann FreresEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Another sachet I picked up from a breakfast buffet on my trip. I had this with unsweetened soy milk, so I didn’t pick up on all of the minor notes, however I did enjoy the creamy mouthfeel.
There is a light sweetness here, similar to dried fruit. I get notes of cherry, dried fig, cranberry, and raspberry.
Flavors: Berry, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Fig, Malt, Raspberry, Sweet
Hardly been reviewing, I am trying to drink through my stash, so nothing new interesting to talk about.(just been followed a lot by spammers on steepster. Steepster and spammers of all things). But this is a rare new purchase and worth writing down my opinion.
It smells fantastic (which was what sold me), like boozey chocolate mousse. It is priced extremely surprising (17.50 euros for 100 grams!), but I was in a Thé du Loup craving mood and I risked buying 50 grams. And it is nice but can’t help feeling how “thin” the Dammann teas taste, how the scent is not there and can end up a bit like drinking scented tannin water…
This is not bad, just a bit disappointing. Particularly for the price!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate
The last tea of the long weekend.
I have consumed much more caffeine over the course of the past three days than I typically do, so pysched was I to taste and write notes on a number of new teas, and sip down a few as well. I almost didn’t have that much today because it’s been affecting my sleep. Or rather, it’s been affecting my muscles’ ability to relax. I’ve awakened feeling quite clenched up the past couple of mornings.
But I decided to power through because I don’t often get this kind of time to devote to writing of any kind, including note writing, these days. In fact, I actually fell a bit short. I had hoped to try another matcha and some pu-erh. I briefly considered resurrecting project chai sipdown this weekend just because I found an American Tea Room masala chai sample.
But instead, I stuck to whites and oolongs, with a black tea in the mix.
I have a new project, not that it’s of interest to anyone but me. I want to make tasting everything in my Steepster cupboard at least once and writing a note on it a priority. I feel like I have all these things I don’t even remember I have, and this is one way to remind myself. But I’m so close to 100 sipdowns for the year, I don’t want to fall off the pace on those either.
As I was going through my cupboard, I discovered I had never tried this. And since I drink green/yellow tea during the week when I have less note-writing time, I also try to make it a priority to do my initial tastings of these on a weekend.
I steeped this like a green tea for my initial try. I also had some crackers to cleanse my palate after the Todd & Holland Citrus Sanctuary.
In the tin, it smells a bit grassy for a Chinese tea with a sort of a dark oolong-like sharp note.
I know I’ve been describing a lot of liquors as pale yellow and clear lately. But if the shoe fits…
I am having a very hard time describing the taste and smell of this tea. I cheated and looked at the previous notes. It’s funny, I never would have thought of cigars — but now that I see it mentioned, I can understand that. Though I have to say, it’s not the first thing I thought when I smelled or tasted this tea. Pine nuts? Not really that either. Nutty at all? Not my first impression.
What I get from this is more like pine needles, though very faint. I used to chew pine needles as a kid, and this reminds me a little of that.
As the tea cools, I get more of the nuttiness. For me, it’s a sort of cashew-like smell and taste.
Different, and interesting. It gets props for that.
Flavors: Nuts, Pine
Very likely the last tea of the morning. I was hoping to get a pu-erh in, but given the time, I don’t think that’ll be happening. There’s always tomorrow (holiday! more tea notes!).
Like the Dammann Freres of yesterday, I can find nothing about this tea on the web. There are many 8 Immortals teas, but I find the information about them somewhat confusing. Most of them are referred to as Dan Cong, and most of those as Ba Xian Dan Cong. I know that Dan Cong means single bush, and I glean from the interwebs that Ba Xian is 8 Immortals in Chinese. But this doesn’t help me much as it appears that this type of tea can come from different places in China. The Yunnan Sourcing web site says that they all come from several different villages around Wu Dong. I’ve also seen this type of tea referred to as a rock Oolong that comes from Wu Yi.
Bottom line, this tea seems destined to be forever a bit of a mystery.
What I can say is that it’s a dark oolong. The leaves are long, twisty, and a dark chocolate color. Dry, they smell like rocks. (Maybe it’s a rock oolong after all?)
Steeped in the gaiwan after a rinse starting at 15 seconds and adding 5, at 195F.
In the first steep, the aroma has an interesting floral quality that’s somewhat unexpected given the darkness of the leaves. I expected more roastiness than I’m getting, though there is some. The liquor is medium amber-gold. The flavor is not floral, however. It’s more a stone fruit, mineral flavor.
Steep the second is more stone fruit, apricot maybe, with something that reminds me a little of coffee. Less mineral than the first steep. The aroma maintains the nice floral note. I got a bit of astringency, a grab in the back of the throat with this steep.
Third steep. The leaves have pretty much unfurled. I expected more volume at this point. I think I may not have used enough tea. I usually fill the gaiwan to just under halfway. This time I did a little less because I thought I’d get more volume. This steep is more wet rocks than stonefruits. I’m still getting the unexpected coffee-like note.
Fourth steep. (This one went a bit longer than planned because I had to stop for a bio break while steeping.) It’s starting to lose something — the taste is flattening, with no distinct elements.
I enjoyed this, though I have no other 8 Immortals to compare it to. I’m still tasting a sort of espresso note in the aftertaste. The tea leaves a pleasant freshness in the mouth, like a really, really weak menthol.
I have so many oolongs and I’ve tasted them over so many years, I have reason to doubt the consistency of my ratings over time. So I’ll just muddle through here with what seems right for now.
Flavors: Espresso, Floral, Mineral, Roasted, Stonefruits, Wet Rocks
Ending my tea tasting day with another oolong.
I’ve had this for a long time. Such is the case with many of my teas, but it’s unfortunate in the case of this one because I can find no information about it anywhere. I don’t see it on the Dammann Freres web site, and I can’t find anything about a Dammann version anywhere.
However, there does appear to be another company that sold this once upon a time (Herman teas), and there is information about the Handunugoda estate on the internet.
If I’m distilling this all correctly, this is a Sri Lankan oolong. That’s not a first for me (the LeafSpa comes to mind), but it is a rarity.
The dry leaves on this one are brown and twiggy. Dark oolong leaves. They have an interesting smell. I wouldn’t call it roasty, like a dark oolong, but it is a darker smell as opposed to a floral, green oolong smell. It’s more like a barky, woody smell.
After rinsing, I steeped in the gaiwan for my first tasting, starting at 15 seconds and adding increments of 5 seconds in 195F water.
The liquor on the first steep is a pretty gorgeous, coppery amber. The aroma has a strong brown sugar/honey note and something I couldn’t identify until I happened across someone else’s blog about this tea: sweet potato. Yep, that’s there as well. The flavor has those notes but it also has a bitterness that is sort of espresso-like. In the past I wouldn’t have enjoyed that, but after my trip to Italy last summer I’ve developed a taste for espresso. So it’s all good.
The next steep has less of the bitterness except in the finish and aftertaste but still an espresso cast, and I definitely taste the sweet potato more. There’s an Assam-like throat grab at the end. After the tea is gone, the cup has a very lovely floral (!) aroma.
The third and subsequent steeps were similar to the second, but became progressively less “dark” tasting. As they lightened up, the flavors morphed into really interesting variations on themselves. I didn’t really taste anything new or different, just variations on the general theme.
It’s a really nice tea. I won’t try it in a yixing because I don’t have any dedicated to Sri Lankan oolongs, but I will enjoy trying it other ways while it lasts.
Flavors: Bark, Brown Sugar, Espresso, Honey, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
This is a sample I brought back from France. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to any tea shops in Paris, but I found this at a breakfast buffet and smuggled a few pouches to try at home.
The flower petals do a good job of accenting the floral green base (I actually thought it was a jade oolong until I read the product description). There are some definite lemon, orange, and rose notes that linger as an aftertaste. It tastes tropical (mango and lychee), but also a bit perfume-y because the rose is so intense. I find the jasmine is more in the smell of the dry leaf and the brew, but somewhat hidden once the rose makes itself known. The orange might be mixed with grapefruit, or it might be blood orange I’m tasting. Either way, it made a nice iced tea.
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Floral, Jasmine, Lemon, Orange, Orange Blossom, Rose
Another one I’ve owned for quite some time and haven’t had in a while. I remember the first time I had a cup of it though, I liked it a lot. Wasn’t big into tea at that time though. It was pleasing to drink but I had nothing to compare it with.
The loose leaves smell a bit like an old confiserie, because of the bergamote. The brewed tea has a beautiful bright orange colour, and a smooth and subtle taste, while still tasting somewhat like your classic Earl Grey. This might not satisfy everyone, as it leads to the tea having less complexity and depth than other, more full-bodied teas.
It also has a very floral side, a bit like the smell you first get when you enter a flower shop. The bergamot is perfectly balanced and brings out the tea very well. You taste the black tea, but you don’t feel it in the texture. Again, I love it, but it might not please everyone.
This tea also opens up as it gets cooler, and that’s something I love in my tea.
Definitely a favorite!
Flavors: Candy, Floral
This is a delicious Darjeeling with smooth honey notes and no bitterness or sourness.
I drank this with some unsweetened soy milk and 1/2 tsp of bumble bloom (a vegan honey alternative made from apple juice). The touch of sweetness and a dash of milk makes this a rich and delicious morning cup.
Flavors: Smooth, Sweet, Tannin
My hotel has individual sachets of teas in the breakfast room, so I had a lovely high-quality cup this morning (thank goodness, nobody deserves Lipton).
This is malty, lightly purfumed (fragrant and lightly floral like a very fresh Darjeeling). The leaf was intact small tippy leaves. Light sweetness (honey) and a thick mouthfeel. Really, this is just a delicious tea for breakfast and it does stand up as a straight black tea (also does well with milk).
As a plain tea, this was very typical french tea to me, more base than anything and red fruit flavors that maybe leaned to cherry.
As a chocolate milk latte, this was a huge miss. Too dark, bitter, and just heavy.
Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2018/08/14/cerise-noire-from-dammann-freres/
I bought this one a while ago, so I guess I’ve tried it enough to write a note. I guess I love fig so I’m always a little disappointed with how this one turns out. I’m surprised by the 85 Steepster rating. It just tastes like an uneventful black tea with mild sweet fruity notes, indistinguishable from fig. It’s fine, though the base is probably Ceylon, so not the tastiest. It’s not a matter of aging, because this tea always tasted the same to me. Hmm. I thought I’d love this one. I guess the name and the Steepster rating set me up for disappointment.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
The 8-year-old kid next door had a birthday this week. Hence, the adults surrounding the kid had to get wasted and party through the night.
And now there is more joy. They’ve set up some sort of video game with various repeated pings, dings, and doorbell sounds alongside my living and dining space, so just yay! And then, there are the considerate joy cries of the whole family when the kid scores a goal or hit or whatever the aim is. Hurray for considerate neighbours. Gee, thanks.
Tomorrrow is Family Day here, so I expect more of the same. And then after that, for quite some time. What are the chances that this kid is going to be enjoying this quietly while wearing headphones? I am doubtful.
This tea is a comfort though. The scent while steeping was black currant with hints of caramel. I really hoped that these scents would translate into flavours in my cup. And they did. Black currant and various red fruit and jam flavours, such as red currant, perhaps a bit of strawberry tartness.
Thank you, VariaTEA, for the sample. It is making my day far more pleasant.
Flavors: Black Currant, Caramel, Red Fruits
Got this at one of those “OMG! Home Goods has Dammann Freres teas!” situations that I read about here on Steepster, but never experirenced IRL. That particular run was so fruitful I was positively glowing after checkout, carrying all that tea loot back home. Never thought I’d get lucky enough to actually find them in the wild, so to speak.
Although not a huge fan of Darjeelings – always found them to be a bit subtle for my tastes – I took this as an opportunity to try one. Tasty enough, good for when I want something straightforward and simple. There was some sweetness to it, very smooth and gentle, but more flavor than I’ve detected when drinking Darjeelings in the past. Could be that previously the water was too hot, or the steep time not long enough. Anyway, I really like it, and am happy I gave it a shot!
Flavors: Fruity, Honey
I picked this up years ago during Anna’s stash sale but somehow haven’t drunk it much over the years. I do like it, though. Today I paired it with some galette des rois to complement the frangipane (https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd3oUrhla5d/). It was a good match! The floral violet flavor works really well with flaky almond pastry. I couldn’t taste the macaron note but it might have just been drowned out by the actual almond in the cake or have faded with age. In the second steep, the blackcurrant note comes to dominate the cup.
Another good way to enjoy this blend is to make a tea soda with it! Brew with double leaf, add a little sugar, allow to cool and/or add ice, top with seltzer. This brings out the floral and fruit notes and results in a vibrant, refreshing beverage.
There are still quite a few teas from the awesome DF group order that I have not yet written tasting notes for. The keemun base is perfect here, perfect with these flavors: chocolate! almond! The chocolate flavor blends seamlessly with the chocolate notes of the base tea and I can’t tell where each begins or ends. It’s a lovely cocoa, dark chocolate flavor. The toasty almond flavor makes it even more delicious. Definitely a winner from DF and a tea I’d definitely order again. I’d love to try more chocolate flavored Keemun and I’m surprised I don’t find more of them out there in the tea world.
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate