Dammann FreresEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is one of the teas I was most looking forward to from the DF group order, but instead it’s turning out to be one of the bigger disappointments. I’m mostly just tasting the sencha base, with a hint of candy strawberry and no pistachio to speak of. I think strawberry and pistachio make for a fabulous flavor combination, in general, and I was hoping for a tea that captured both components in all their glory.
I did steep it for 4 minutes, of a suggested 3-4, so I’ll try it at 3 next time in hopes that the strawberry and/or pistachio come through more strongly. I’m starting to wonder if DF’s greens just don’t work for me—and my feeling that what this company does best is old school European flavors is definitely getting stronger.
Advent Calendar Day Nineteen
So, I’ve had a really, really long and awful day. Without getting too much into detail now because I’m insanely tired/exhausted, I haven’t gotten more than a hours worth of sleep in what’s coming up on two straight days now I spent the majority of the day in the emergency room and then, following that, the dentist’s office. I’ll probably write about it in greater detail tomorrow or in a few more days when I’m feeling better; but rest assured that I’m fine now. Just a little shaken and worn out…
One of the very few and far between moments of pleasantness during the day was in the few hours in between being discharged from the hospital and heading to the dentist’s office. I was on some pretty good painkillers; and finally managed to get around to drinking some tea. So, everything was on track to pick up.
It was good tea too! I’m sure the pain meds didn’t help in regard to mental clarity/focus when it comes to picking up on tea flavours/specific tasting notes – but honestly at this point in the day I could have cared less about that. I just know the tea was smooth and sweet, and tasted like honey, apricot, and good chocolate and that was more than exceeded the expectations I had for the day or the tea. Really, anything hot would have been comforting enough to suffice.
So yeah – this tea was a life saver today, at least in regard to my mental health.
This is basically a murkier version of DF’s black Pecan Pie. The flavoring that so clearly came across as marzipan with the tea base is definitely here, but rather than pure almond paste it’s just faintly nutty and very sweet. The pistachio note I picked up on with the black base is absent here, as is any hint of pecan or pie. The rooibos is rooibos, woodsy but not too medicinal. It’s just okay, but definitely not something I’ll buy again.
This tea is totally misnamed. Pecan pie is a lie; it’s all almond. Actually, there is a hit of pistachio in the aftertaste, but it’s mostly almond. It’s quite sweet, but in a marzipan way—there’s no caramel or pastry going on here. I was hoping for something a little closer to my beloved Butiki Maple Pecan Oolong (despite this not being an oolong), but this is decidedly something else. There’s that same thin Ceylon base DF seems to use for just about all of their flavored blacks, and, as with a bunch of others, I feel like Pecan Pie could’ve benefitted from something a little more robust. All that said, this is a very pleasant tea. It probably won’t be a restock for me, but I’m glad to have the chance to try it—yay group order!
received a sample bag of this with an order. was a bit apprehensive, since flavoured blacks don’t usually do it for me…
i was so wrong! this one smells so so good, and the liquid actually followed through. delicious, and the base didn’t get rough-and-tumble over the ~4-5min steep i gave it. just lovely fruity flavours, just like the smell. maybe i’m wrong about flavoured teas, and i’ve just had a lot of bad ones. ;)
this is the red-fruit flavoured tea i’ve always wanted but been unable to find in reality.
btw shoutouts to @roswellstrange for pointing me at dammann freres! :)
Advent Calendar Day Seventeen
Yes, Fig and Strawberry! A pairing I know very well.
So, there are two fig/strawberry things that I buy grocery wise that I absolutely NEED in my life because I will consume them on just about everything. The first is a Fig/Strawberry balsamic reduction which is my go to sauce/dressing and the other is a fig/strawberry balsamic chevre. So obviously I like fig and strawberry things; though it’ll be interesting to see how this fairs given it’s missing the balsamic component which is present in both my fig/strawberry foods…
Actually, the fig in this one is really familiar but unlike the frustrating Apple Ale white tea I had earlier today from Q2T I actually know why this is familiar. It’s familiar because it tastes exactly like the fig notes in Dammann Freres’ Fig Fraiche blend. So no surprises here: it’s smooth and well defined, as it should be.
Strawberry? Also check!
This one is bright and fruity, and it tastes a lot like the kind of strawberries you’d eat out of your grandmother’s garden – which is to say there’s an unrefined quality, and a bit of extra tartness/zippyness to them.
The pairing is, of course, delicious. As I expected it to be. But wait, there’s more folks…
Creamed Honey!? Extra check!
So, I definitely knew this flavour was supposed to be in the blend – but I was so caught up on the strawberry and fig that I really wasn’t looking for it. As well, honey is a flavour in tea which often merges with fruit notes/the other ingredients and then just comes off as extra sweetness. However, this is REALLY pronounced and well defined. It tastes like honey, and a lot of it at that. To me that doesn’t mean it’s cloying or over the top; it’s just super clearly there. More than the fig, if I’m being honest.
I REALLY loved and enjoyed this one! Definitely one I’d pick up for myself in future orders.
Advent Calendar Day Sixteen
Hooray! My (first) White2Tea order showed up today which meant I finally had all the pieces to send off my Secret Santa package for the Tea Chat/Slack exchange! I was beginning to get really worried it wouldn’t arrive by Christmas – and at this point it may not make it there FOR Christmas, but should at least get there for New Years…
I drank this one on the commute in the work today; and like yesterday’s advent tea it was one I drank blindly/without ingredients. It was also one I was sort of disappointed to see because I had a late night yesterday at DAVIDsTEA and only had like four hours of sleep going into the day today – so I was really hoping for something caffeinated from the calendar this morning.
Nonetheless, it was REALLY tasty. I almost immediately was able to identify this as a spiced orange blend, or at the very least spiced citrus. My money was on orange though; especially to tie into the festivity of it all. I for sure picked up on the peppercorn in the finish of the sip; that light tickle is very familiar to me at this point in my tea drinking journey. Maybe a bit of ginger? And I got the sweetness of the clove, but couldn’t completely nail down that flavour on my own without the ingredients list.
The orange was very bright though, and it had an extra supporting sweetness to it that I just couldn’t quite place my finger on. Turns out I had in completely wrong; I think I was picking up on the cherry in the blend although I 100% interpreted it as more of a honey or even caramel note. So, definitely WAY off. But honestly the additional fruit note just merged with the orange so well that all I was getting was extra sweetness. Very nice overall though. Spiced Orange is sort of a played out flavour combo, but with how it’s done here it didn’t feel nearly so overdone. Which is a testament to the quality of the tea.
Though it would be interesting to revisit this one given I now know what the ingredients actually are supposed to be…
Another Noel tea from DF! Giving it a sniff I already knew it would taste like cherry. At least this one is SUPPOSED to be cherry, unlike the Noel St Petersbourg I had the other day that was supposed to be everything but cherry and was only cherry and almond. I also taste some almond/marzipan that should be here but no ginger or gingerbread that should also be here. So this one gets a higher rating from me for actually being what it should be, even if I’m not in love with the cherry flavor. BUT the Noel St Petersbourg and Noel a Paris is almost like having the same tea twice, they are so similar (these harvests are anyway.) I love being able to try them though!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 5 minute steep
Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Marzipan
After the disappointment that was The des Marquises, I’m happy to say this is a return to form for DF. It’s quite fruity, in a jammy sort of way, not unlike DF’s 4 Fruits Rouge. I don’t know that I would’ve pegged it as strawberry, necessarily; I’m getting more of a mixed red fruits vibe. I can’t say I’m tasting biscuit, exactly, but there’s a sweetness—and richness—that I suppose might be vaguely reminiscent of a delicate little tea cookie.
I still haven’t tried a ton of DF blends yet, but so far I’m getting the sense they do better with more Old World-y kinds of flavor profiles and less well with… I don’t know, modern ones? Tropical? I realize Charlotte aux Fruits does contain papaya, as did Noël à Venise—why does DF add papaya to everything, anyway?—but since I can’t detect it in the taste I’m still counting this one as an old school French sort of flavor.
Advent Calendar Day Fifteen
Didn’t check the ingredients prior to brewing this; I was relatively rushed on my way out of the house this morning. However, at least I managed to find time to brew this for my commute rather than leaving it for the evening ‘cause I ended up working an unplanned shift at DAVIDsTEA so I wouldn’t have had time to drink it in the evening…
Anyway; it was obvious as soon as I started sipping at this one (and really even as the water first hit the tea leaf) that it was a lychee tea! Damn, that lychee comes through REALLY clearly! However, I also tasted a lot of citrus – I would have said either a semi bitter lemon OR grapefruit, but I suppose the correct note is grapefruit. As for the jasmine? Well, I thought the lychee was definitely a bit more floral than it usually tends to come off in blends, but I’m guessing part of what I was tasting was the jasmine just blending well with the natural floral notes of the fruit.
Didn’t taste any peach…
This was nice! I enjoyed that it was tropical, sweet, fruity and floral and had very strong flavour notes that were still able to retain an air of delicacy to them.
Advent Calendar Day Fourteen
I’ve yet to miss a day/post a tea on a day other than when I’ve drank it for this advent calendar so I figured I best post the review for today’s tea before I drift off to sleep. I’ve been so tired all day…
Basically I think this is pretty much just the same as Noel a Paris but with a white tea base, right? The ingredients look identical with that one exception, and drinking it this morning that’s exactly what it tasted like. I will say, the cherry comes through stronger with the white base, but I don’t either it nor the ginger compliment a white base as well as they do the black one. So, I liked the black better overall – which is probably for the best given I’ve got like 90g left of Noel a Paris.
Definitely worth checking out though if you like the flavours in Noel a Paris but aren’t big on black teas, though.
This is a strange one—even by DF standards, there’s a lot going on in the description. And that’s really what drew me to it in the group order. And while quite a few of the crazy complex DF blends I’ve tried so far have underdelivered, in that only maybe half of the flavor notes promised are detectable, this one really packs it all in. Unfortunately, the result is more faintly chemical muddle than delicious melange. I’m definitely getting the kola, which is a strange but not unwelcome note to encounter in a tea, and blackberry, and clementine, and a sort of candy blueberry, plus a powerful bouquet of florals.
I can’t really say whether these flavors play nicely together or not, though, since the blend is dominated by a strong bitter and chemical-tasting note. I steeped this for 3:30 at 195F, but I’m wondering if a shorter steep and/or a lower temperature may be in order. I’ll play around with this one a bit before giving up on it, but I’m thinking it may end up in my swap pile.
Advent Calendar Day Thirteen
Drank this one on the commute to work and honestly, based on the ingredients list, I was skeptical that I like it but I was REALLY enjoyable.
Very fruity overall; definitely has a major tropical vibe going on from the mango/pineapple duo that dominate the cup and then the supporting passionfruit undertones. The jasmine is also pretty potent; it took me a long time to figure out it was in the blend though despite it being really obvious because for whatever stupid reason my brain likes to both process jasmine as grape flavoured and then also associate jasmine with grapes. I’m one of the only tea drinkers I know who’s brain/tastebuds do though; but yeah, for most of the cup I thought I was just getting strange grape notes but then I had the epiphany I was tasting the jasmine and my head was just doing that thing it does.
Overall it makes for a very smooth, upbeat cup with a great balance of floral and fruity notes and really lively, bright and rich flavours. Plus, as always with DF, all those flavours are just super well defined. Sure, it felt rather out of place ’cause it was so tropical and the weather today was such shit – but it tasted wonderful.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Grass, Jasmine, Mango, Passion Fruits, Pineapple, Rose, Tropical
Another new tea from the DF group order. This one is really good! It reminds me a lot of Della Terra’s lemon chiffon rooibos (one of the nicest rooibos blends I’ve had by far), but nicer because everything is better with a base of actual tea. Both the lemon and the toffee come through nicely. There’s a creamy meringue note in there as well. I’m not sure I can detect the papaya, or what it’s even meant to be doing here—maybe for sweetness? It is a decidedly sweet blend, rather than a tart one. This isn’t quite as unique or complex as some of the other DF blends, but the fact that they don’t overpromise to meld ten impossible flavors here means there’s none of the letdown you get with some of those crazy blends that can’t possibly live up to their descriptions either. I feel like the base is a little thin—I had the same complaint about Noël à Prague—but that’s my only real complaint. I would definitely be interested in acquiring more of this one at some point.
Advent Calendar Day Twelve
Wow, half way through already!? That seems kind of crazy.
I like this one a lot though; it very light and refreshing with soft flavour notes although it doesn’t lack in flavour. Primarily, I’d say this mostly takes like lime/passionfruit and has a borderline tropical like quality. However, it’s also got a really soft ginger finish which greatly compliments the lime. Other flavours which crop up throughout sips are freshly cut grass, from the base, and linden leaf.
One thing I’ve noticed throughout this calendar is that DF seems to really enjoy incorporating ginger into their blends. However, I don’t seem to mind that overall. They generally do it well.
Advent Calendar Day Eleven
I feel like DF including this blend in their advent is a lot like DT including Forever Nuts; when I think of the big/popular blends from DF this is one of the ones I automatically think of. I’ve seen it reviewed here on Steepster – though actually this is my first time trying it.
It’s strawberry and rhubarb, so that was really exciting for me! I love rhubarb teas so much, and while I’d prefer it without the strawberry pairing it’ll do so long as the rhubarb is still distinct. Drinking this one on the bus ride before starting work, I was really impressed with how smooth the flavours were and I very strongly enjoyed that it stayed away from the trap that strawberry/rhubarb teas often fall into where they’re quite tart/sour. This with soft and sweet, with sort of a borderline baking/pasty like undertone? It wasn’t buttery enough to make me think of a danish or strudel or anything like that but it did have a powdered sugar/icing sugar sort of vibe? And the black tea itself had bread-y notes, which combined with the powdered sugar I guess enhanced the idea of a strawberry/rhubarb flavoured baking type thing.
And yes, the rhubarb is distinct and separate from the strawberry although the two notes do come together in a wonderful way.
Another one I greatly enjoyed from the calendar.
This one resulted in exactly what I was hoping, at least! Full of sweet creamy lemon flavor! Just like lemon meringue. All on a light black tea base. Both steeps the same deliciousness. The flowers are a nice touch. I’m not sure how the papaya influenced the flavor, but including them is unique anyway. I think it’s a Ceylon base again, but sometimes a great flavor will make the Ceylon disappear or at least tolerable. I would definitely buy this again when my 25grams is out. DF sometimes over promises what a tea will be like, but this one is spot on.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Advent Calendar Day Ten
Hmm; don’t know that I like this one a whole lot. I’m drinking it currently, after having now gotten home from my DAVIDsTEA shift; I didn’t bring anything from home in with me today because I knew it would be really busy this weekend and it would just be easier to drink my own teas at home…
A lot of aspects of this blend aren’t working for me though, to be honest. The biggest is just that it’s quite bitter though – even with 80 degree water and a short three minute infusion. I mean, that’s pretty safe parameters for greens typically and just, no. However, aside from that I just don’t enjoy the sencha base and for whatever reason the orange tastes rather artificial/perfumey which is especially odd given that I’ve never had an issue with any of DF’s other orange teas.
The aspect that does work is the gingerbread though; it’s sweet while still having a bit of that spicy kick in the finish, and there are these nice well rounded molasses and brown sugar notes wrapped up in the overall gingerbread flavour. So that part does come out nicely. It’s just a shame I don’t love it as a whole.
Advent Calendar Day Nine
Drinking this one in the evening at my mother’s house – I’m crashing here tonight so I can spend some extra time with my siblings. ‘Cause family, and all that; also it’s the first evening I’ve had to myself (between the two jobs) in over a week so I wanted to do something with it.
I was a little bummed to see today’s tea was another EG variant; though I do like the idea of today’s form better than the one earlier in the month that was Bergamot & Orange. Brewed up, I think that I like the flavour roughly the same amount though even if this one sounded better to me. However, that said, that doesn’t mean I’m tasting the same thing either. I mean, obviously the bergamot is something that’s in common – but I think this is something nice, smooth and maybe a little bit softer too because of the Yin Zhen? Like an “Earl Grey Light”? Though, it doesn’t lose nuance because there’s still gentle layers of floral flavour, hay, and citrus. It’s just not “slap you in the face” bold, either.
So, another one which was a nice surprise and pretty solid overall.
Advent Calendar Day Eight
I don’t think I’d ever heard of this one prior to seeing it in the calendar today, and I’m sort of bummed about that because it sounds really interesting/like a great flavour pairing. The dry leaf smelled great too; very fresh and fruity! Lots of red currant aroma.
The flavour is so lovely; I was definitely expecting to taste more red currant just based on the aroma but I think it’s more strongly raspberry than anything else with some lighter red fruit supporting notes, such as red currant, strawberry, and just a trickle of cherry. The caramel in the blend is kind of interesting and weird; it just makes the cup a little sweeter overall and sort of exaggerates this borderline jammy like quality to the raspberry. However, that said, in the finish of the sip the caramel becomes more than just a sweetener and is more recognizable as its own distinct taste.
I like this one, and it’s one that I’d absolutely be intrigued enough by to get more of the play around with/experiment with. I can see it working so many different ways: iced, latte, syrup, in sugar cookies…
This one is a bit of a disappointment, even though it was one I wanted to try more than most others from DF. Apricot, fig, plum, strawberry and vanilla!!! That sounds like my perfect tea! Some of my favorite flavors should be here! I love the idea of all of these flavors here, but the result of the brew isn’t much flavor at all. I can definitely taste SOME sort of fruit flavor, but it’s tough to pick out what they specifically are. I’d guess cherry if I had to. No vanilla. Simply fruit flavor on a black tea base that seems like Ceylon. I hope all DF black teas aren’t Ceylon bases.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Finally getting around to this one from the Advent calendar. This must be one of their newer tisanes because I don’t remember seeing it on the site. I don’t visit the tisane page super frequently, but I sometimes do, and I’ve enjoyed the tisanes I’ve had from there in the past. But I would have been interested in this one, because all of the flavors (rhubarb, rose, raspberry, date, orange blossom) are things I am a fan of.
This one is very tasty. The rhubarb is the most prominent note, as they say. Mmm rhubarb. I definitely get hints of raspberry, floral rose and orange blossom, and a hint of dark, sugary date. It took me a bit to place the date (until I looked at the description again) because it is almost candy-like. As it cools, it is getting stronger and sweeter. I’m also getting more berry on the aftertaste, lingering my tongue in a juicy way. Yum yum! I may need to order this one in the future in one of my biennial DF orders.
Flavors: Dates, Orange Blossom, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rose, Strawberry
Advent Calendar Day Seven
Slept in a little bit this morning and didn’t get to make my advent tea for the ride to work, so instead I drank it at work today. Second job, that is – at DAVIDsTEA.
I had started steeping it when I got pulled away from my tea to help a customer so instead of the three minute long steep like I’d intended it got closer to thirteen minutes. Amazingly, and completely to my surprise, it didn’t taste even a little bitter! In fact, it was super silky smooth with really nice rich vanilla and almond/marzipan notes that comprised the body. The top note was a bit fruitier; sort of apple-y? And then the finish had hints of cinnamon and green tea. It was a really, really solid tea! And I’m especially surprised by how well it held up to that long infusion overall.
When I make teas at work, I always share them with my coworkers on shift as well because that’s just how I am – if I’m having some, then you can too! The more the merrier; and sharing good tea is a great feeling. So, when my coworker Leah tried this one today I was really, really happy that she proclaimed this was “the best tea I’ve brought yet”, and that includes some straight stuff from What-Cha (black tea, I think), some RLT matcha, and the odd flavoured tea from other companies. So, general consensus between everyone was that this was/is awesome!
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Cream, Cut grass, Vanilla
Advent Calendar Day Six
I think this is the simplest tea in the calendar thus far; it’s essentially a more orange-y Earl Grey… which is already sort of orange flavoured/citrus flavoured?
As weird and basic as this seemed to be to me, it was fascinating though because as much as bergamot is just citrus itself I could actually taste a clear difference between the bergamot oil and the added orange and I didn’t expect to be able to. Definitely a really pleasant cup, and very smooth overall. Not something I’d think about getting in the future because even if I can taste a difference between the citrus notes it’s still quite basic and I’ve got plenty of Earl Grey type blends on hand.
I do like that the tea basically went; “You’re gonna judge me before trying me? Well fuck you, prepare to be surprised!”. It was a nice thing, in this case, to be proven wrong.