Dammann Freres

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67
drank Thé des Poètes by Dammann Freres
50 tasting notes

This is my first Dammann Freres tea! Oh what a treat it was! Thank you so much CelebriTEA for all the effort you put into getting this for Day #3 of the 12 Days of Christmas Tea Swap 2013. It smelled heavenly, tasted just the same, and was an all around delight to experience. I added sugar, but not milk. The flavors really seem to blend well together, when after reading them, I honestly wondered if they would. Thanks so much again.

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85

bit of a guilty review here… sortof sleep-steeped this one today as a black… oops!

however, lovely anyway. christmas in peking (at least when steeped as black) is orange… not a typical orange though. i taste tangerine. well, tangerine when hot…. tangerine/apricot as it cools. honestly, while it was an accident to steep it so strictly, i would do it again =0)

thank you for the treat yyz!

very nice… back to study.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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85

Whaaat an herbal tea at work?? Well I brought a sachet of this tea (#37) in because I really wanted to have it in sequence, and now’s the time. I’m not that tired this afternoon anyway. :) I couldn’t remember anything about this tea, and I couldn’t really figure it out from the flavor, so I cheated and looked. Yes, it does still taste like black currant and mallow. I think the other fruits make it hard to really pin down, though. It’s a decent herbal but not amazing.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85

I ordered some of this from Cadeau Deco Vendome because I have wanted to try it for a while now. I am always on the lookout for non-hibiscus, non-rooibos tisanes to have in the evening, and this fits the bill. Not to mention: bergamot, orange, lemongrass, rose, and black currant? It’s like it was made for my tastes.

Before steeping the sachet smelled really fruity in an indistinct way, but after steeping the main scents are a bright citrus with a mellowing creaminess that must be from the mallow blossoms. The main flavor is definitely black currant, with a light rosiness primarily on the aftertaste. The mallow gives a hint of creaminess. I am pleased! This will be really nice to have around in the evenings.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Rooibos de Noël by Dammann Freres
791 tasting notes

Smells like orange and bubblegum, but mostly bubblegum! How strange. Wow, it tastes like bubblegum! Like woodsy bubblegum that leaves your mouth kinda dry. I’m not getting any of the flavors that are described. This is really weird and I don’t know what to make of it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Tourbillon by Dammann Freres
301 tasting notes

The dry leaf scent is definitely FLORAL and I am not a floral person. As soon as the hot water hits the dry leaf, the aroma becomes more appealing to me – a little fruity and nutty along with the dominant floral. The sip is OK. I can drink this and it is rather pleasant – a little nut; a little caramel; a bit of floral. The tea is fairly well balanced now. I’ll pull this one out every now and then; probably serve to a guest or two; don’t think I’ll put it on the reorder list.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

This is very different from what I’ve had before. Delicious black tea base merges with very subtle caramel and apple flavors. It is very unlike other flavored blacks that I know, VERY unlike those. The flavoring mostly just emphasizes the base, tweaks it slightly so that you notice more things about it… I guess it would mean this flavoring to tea is like poetry to reality – in very indirect ways it shows you what you normally wouldn’t be able to see.

Thank you, MissB, for letting me try this one. I don’t know when I would get around to these famous French teas myself as they can be pricey and the sample sizes are not really offered anywhere. Now I have an idea of how wonderful they can be!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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86

Fruity caramel – very nice! This one surprised me since I was not really liking the dry leaf smell. Boiling water for 4 min produced a lovely sweet aroma and the first sip was very good. An enjoyable tea to add to my tea cupboard!

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85
drank Figue Fraîche by Dammann Freres
1455 tasting notes

Like Ysurella, I smell figs when I opened the bag. Ripe, juicy figs. It smells a bit less so after steeping, and I’m getting astringency from the brew after sipping, however in a good way? I find it pleasant and fitting the tea, oddly. I’ll have to play with this one a bit more on the steeping parameters however; I think I can get it more… fleshy. Juicy. Better.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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76

Smooth and mellow flavor which maintains a bit of the classic briskness of the Assam. Unlike the other assams I drink on a regular basis, this one has a light and flowery flavor which is what I’ll note as the French accent in this particular tea. Not my favorite assam but one worth keeping in the tea cabinet.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
863 tasting notes

A sample received from the awesome Sil, who came to my rescue when I said I’d never tasted French teas. :)

It’s always hard for me to get an accurate picture of what the dry leaf smells like when a bunch of samples (especially a bunch of fruity DF samples) have been in close proximity to each other. This one just smells like generic fruitiness, but nothing readily identifiable.

Steeped I smell strawberries and cream. It reminds me alot of Marco Polo by Mariage Freres, actually. This is good, because I like that tea a lot.

The taste is virtually all strawberry, with rhubarb present only in the small irritation at the back of my throat. There is a slight tartness alongside the strawberry, but nothing I’d be able to identify as rhubarb. I will say that though it is a tart tea, it still manages to pull of the smoothness that only DF can.

Eh. Its a good tea, I can taste the quality and it stands on its own without additives. Nothing too memorable though. It’s another one I can cross off my list at getting to try, though, so that’s always a good thing!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Sil

yay for crossing things off the list!

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Felt like going beyond my normal routine so I went to find my box of French teas; picked one out at random; poets tea won out. Nice to revisit this one. Yields a nice blend of flavors – apple, cinnamon, caramel and lemon. Not too sweet but pleasantly enjoyable for its flavor blend. I appreciated the diversion from my usual straight blacks and puerhs.

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Fruity, floral, creamy all rolled into one sip – a light cinnamon-caramel flavor with a tart apple-lemon accent. Nicely balanced. Not my usual type of early morning tea but an interesting cup nonetheless.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
IntegriTEA

Wow! This sounds yummy! I’m curious, do you add milk to these Dammann teas?

DigniTea

Yes, in this case, I did. I think the milk worked to make the different flavors bolder.

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60
drank Nosy Bey by Dammann Freres
303 tasting notes

This tea would have fared better if it hadn’t been the last stop on my Dammann Frères journey. It’s a bit unfair, I know – I will try my best to keep an open mind. It’s just that both the dry tea and the steeped tea are saturated with this – as I have now come to know it – unmistakable DF perfume.

I can’t really explain it, but it’s this opulent, contrived richness that just seems inescapable. It’s the tea equivalent of orientalizing, exoticizing 19th-century art, pretending to be something it’s not, glorifying something that shouldn’t be glorified.

I guess the evident response would be, ’It’s just tea,’ but I don’t think we should make it too easy on ourselves.

Either way, this is a beautifully scented fruity black. In the cup there’s a light peach-apricot presence, some floral notes, and a smooth vanilla to round it off. Again – and this is turning into a bit of a broken record, I know – DF’s vanilla isn’t really my favourite. It’s a little too much, a little cloying, and has the slightest aftertaste of alcohol.

For someone who’s into elegant fruity blacks, though, this would be a perfect choice.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

:( I have my answer for black teas.
I loved this one, very refined and elegant but I liked the DF Vanilla and it is a very present vanilla in Nosy Bey

Anna

I would have rated it higher if I’d tried it last week, I think. There was another black, or maybe two, that got a higher rating earlier. Now they all just sort of taste the same to me. Why do they have so many similar teas? It’s the most frustrating thing for me, I think.

Ysaurella

they more than often use the same base (china and ceyton mix). Lazyness is a nasty sin…
but sometimes the flavours make them so different, it’s rare but it happens.
Never really tried their greens because I think now I am not a green lover (except for Oolongs)

Anna

I think it’s definitely more obvious in their greens – so many similar ones there. You don’t like MF’s greens either?

Ysaurella

let’s say I can drink them more than I like them.
Except Sakura 2000 I really love

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60

Haha, oh, wow. Flashback to childhood, white milky liquid penicillin. At the hospital they always said, ‘Oh, no small child can swallow pills this big,’ but I very happily did, seeing as the option was that terrifying milky-thick, fruit-flavoured stuff. I’ve sort of gotten over artificial banana to some degree, but artificial cherry? Never. One sip of Dr. Pepper and I start to cry, begging for mercy.

This is just me and my freaky hangups, though – I gave a collection of DF’s Christmas teas to my friend when she came to visit me right before the holidays, and she allegedly loved this one.

Anyway, this isn’t necessarily artificial – it’s pretty much what candied cherries, or cherry preserves taste like – there’s sweetness and that hint of bitter almond. Both in the nose and in the cup, the cherry/almond combination is what comes through most noticeably. It’s a nice flavour idea for Christmas, and the dry tea is really gorgeous.

Just not for me.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Dexter

LOL – based on what you’ve said – I’m going to LOVE this. LOVE Dr. Pepper and have have many an experience with the chalky cherry liquid penicillin. Yep this should work for me.
Sorry it wasn’t for you. :((

Anna

Meh, I just love trying different kinds of teas – it would be really annoying if I loved ALL of them. I mean, my tea cupboard would look like… yours!

(And if you really end up loving it, there’s a whole bag of it for sale in the forum.)

Dexter

But buying every tea I like caused my cupboard to end up looking like that…. I have some, will try it soon – see if anyone else buys it – if I love it and if it’s still there in a few days…. well who knows. :))

Anna

Dex, my friend, seeing as I wrote the review I wrote, I’m pretty sure it’ll be around forever.

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60
drank Nuit à Versailles by Dammann Freres
303 tasting notes

This is one of the most popular Dammann Frères blends, it seems – both in terms of ratings and sales. It makes sense – if DF’s overall concept appealed to me, I’d be really excited about this tea, too. Smelling the dry leaf is interesting – at first, it’s a rich, dreamy bouquet with all the different scent strands weaving into each other. After a while, though, it’s possible to identify individual fruits and florals. There’s peach, and violet, some orange… and even what smells like DF’s passion fruit to me.

Steeped, it retains much of the same complexity – the beginning of the sip and the aftertaste leave very different impressions. But it’s just very, very delicate. Too delicate for me, and with a dominant presence of that perfumey note DF are so fond of. It’s a little bit like drinking someone’s grandmother – don’t get me wrong, it’s a grandmother of the Parisian variety, all old Chanel and pearls and dignity, but still. Too perfumey.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

Granny decked out & taking a stroll on a balmy evening :)

Ysaurella

and the DF black teas ? do you like them better ?

Anna

Terri: Haha… and in Versailles, no less!

Ysaurella: Yes, the black teas are definitely better, but I prefer MF any day.

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95
drank Noël en Alsace by Dammann Freres
2189 tasting notes

Another one of my faaaaavorites (#39). Why was this only rated 90? It deserves higher, in my estimation, so I bumped it up. I love the flavor combos here, even if they are a bit hard to pull apart. They work for me. Even though I don’t find any of these flavors (fruits, honey) particularly Christmasy, I do associate this yarn with the holidays since it was at that time that I first had it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Veronica

I love that you called it yarn instead of tea. :)

Dinosara

LOLOL what a hilarious slip! These days it’s all yarn on the brain. :D

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95
drank Noël en Alsace by Dammann Freres
2189 tasting notes

Another tea I drank yesterday. I think I was in some kind of haze because I don’t really remember my session with this tea yesterday. I mean, I remember that I found it very delicious, as expected. Fruity and delicious.

I will say that I kind of love that Dammann has so many different Noël teas based on so many different places. And I love drinking them totally not at Christmas season.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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95
drank Noël en Alsace by Dammann Freres
2189 tasting notes

I ordered this tea because yyz pointed out elsewhere that the description of it is identical to Flocon d’épices. That tea is only sold in an expensive tin, but this one is sold in bulk like their regular teas.

I of course wanted to try it when it came in to make sure it was the same! It’s been a little bit since I had Flocon, but I think it is. I smelled citrus and spices immediately in the pouch, and then that rich, syrupy, figgy flavor in the brewed tea. This cup almost makes me think there is a hint of caramel flavoring in this as well, it’s so creamy. Loving this one, and glad I have 100g of it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
yyz

I’m glad that it seems to be the same! I really liked that one too.

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drank Noël à Paris by Dammann Freres
791 tasting notes

Skipping around the remaining teas from my advent calendar. This one sounded good, cherry, almond and ginger! The dry tea smells promising! Cherry and almond scents are sometimes hard to decipher, but I find the two rather distinct in this tea with the cherry dominating. It is a syrupy cherry smell. When brewed the scent is still present, but faded. I’m finding it difficult to be patient enough to let it cool before sipping. First few sips… I’m finding it has a very flat taste to it, like cherry juice soaked into cardboard. Is that the ginger? Adding sugar makes the cherry stand out more, but I’m also getting a dry mouth feeling from it too. I was really hoping to fall in love with a tea or two from DF, but I think this brand is just not for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Tuscanteal

LOL! Cherry soaked in cardboard!!

Dustin

I feel pretty cruel describing tea that way, but sometimes it is the only way to describe what I’m tasting!

Anna

So I guess there are now TWO people in the world who don’t love DF. We should have a (very small) club.

Tuscanteal

Don’t, that’s what makes it great. Very honest :)

Dinosara

Anna, there are some others (cteresa I think would join your club!). I am however in the other (very small) club of people who don’t love MF. Sometimes I feel like the only one!

Tuscanteal

I’ve never tried DF, but I adore MF… they were my first loose leaf tea company!!! Pricey but delicious!

Anna

Aww. Sara, the last dinosaur!

Dustin

A very small club has that exclusive feel about it. Pretty soon everyone is going to be begging to join our club and we can give them the “I don’t think so” look and not let them in to keep up the hype! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

There is a fine line between honesty and being an a-hole. I try to stay on the honest side, but sometimes I take a quick leap over the line. ;)

I like MF alright so far, but they haven’t wowed me the way other French companies have like La Palais de Thes and Nina’s. Still, I’m finding most French tea to be surprisingly smooth even if the flavor tastes like packing peanuts.

Anna

It’s a product, you paid for it, it’s a huge tea merchant that turns over who knows how much money, and it’s very unlikely that anyone who could have their feelings hurt by your honest impressions of their tea would ever read one of these reviews.

I have to say, I find it really helpful when people write their honest opinions about these teas, even if they’re negative, because then you feel like less of a lunatic when you also find the product underwhelming.

Have you tried Le Palais des Thés’ pear tea? I am so into that.

Dustin

There are some smaller companies here that read the reviews of their teas that might be bummed by someone slamming something they worked hard on, but I think you are right about the big companies.

I haven’t tried their pear tea! There are only 4 or so teas of theirs that I have had so far, but they have all been very lovely.

Anna

Exactly, I agree – it’s important to take into account the huge challenges smaller companies face and what a privilege it is to have so many of them actively participating on Steepster.

The pear is one of those teas I’m sort of hoarding, because I worry I’ll run out. Thankfully, my friend is moving to Oslo soon, and there are two (?!) stores there. Le Palais des Thés have stores in the strangest places.

Dustin

I got to visit a Le Palais store this summer when I was in Dublin for a month. I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but I was thrilled to find it! It looks like the only stores they have in the states are in New York which is pretty far away for me.
That is great that you will have a friend able to send you tea! If I knew of more teas that I liked of theirs I’d start looking into who I knew who lived in New York and could do the same for me!

Anna

I know, Dublin! I mean, who has stores in Dublin, Oslo and Tel Aviv? Either it’s completely random, or a brilliant, strategic marketing move. (Hoping for the latter.) Their unflavoured teas are supposedly not-so-high-quality and very overpriced, but I haven’t tried them myself.

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60
drank Christmas Tea Vert by Dammann Freres
303 tasting notes

Again, one of those Dammann teas that exploded with tasting notes after I added it to the database. It’s been a lot of fun reading reviews of teas I acquired completely blindly.

In the bag, I get a strong, well-balanced cherry-orange. Definitely a nice combination for a Christmas tea, but, as always, the Dammann Frères tea smells like something very-tasty-but-not-for-me. It’s like most Italian pastries. Everyone goes crazy over all these cakes and cannoli and Sicilian anything, but I honestly wouldn’t get out of bed for any ricotta filling. This country is the country of the worst croissants (or, you know, ‘cornetti’) ever. I get better croissants in the Midwest, for crying out loud. No. French pastries, though? I don’t even want to imagine a world without them. (This is my bible, available in English now, too: http://www.amazon.fr/P%C3%A2tisserie-Lultime-r%C3%A9f%C3%A9rence-Christophe-Felder/dp/2732442119/)

So when I go to my favourite bakery here, to get some unassuming, basic almond cookies, and I’m surrounded by all these tourists devouring cannoli and more cannoli, loudly expressing their delight, I feel exactly the same way I do when fellow Swedes get really into soccer, or when friends get together for a Lost marathon, or when I read reviews of these Dammann Frères teas. I’m glad everyone is pleased, but I’ll be over here in my corner, eating my pain aux raisins, wearing my 49ers tee, watching Veronica Mars, and sipping something that isn’t a Dammann Frères tea.

It tastes nice enough – with some cherry and some orange and a little cinnamon, but we just fail to connect, this tea and me.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

Let’s say Italian pastries are often a little dry to my opinion but for me the worst croissant on the word I found it in an hotel in Lisbon !

Anna

Ugh, yes, I remember the Spanish croissant attemps, too – not so good. But in Italy, they’re not just bad, they’re offensive. There’s always this lemony aftertaste, and they put powdered sugar on them.

Ysaurella

des croissants belliqueux…I need to try that !

Anna

Haha, yes! But you don’t try them, you battle them.

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60
drank Bali by Dammann Freres
303 tasting notes

If Bali smells like this, I need to go there (I need to go there, anyway, but still). This is what scented island-life travel ads would smell like – floral, fruity and with a dash of something boozy.

The florals, however, amount mostly to a distinct rose flavour in the cup, drowning out the fruit notes. Rose is not one of my favourite flavours, and DF’s take on it is far too perfumey for my tastes; it’s a very cosmetic rose.

I understand why this is a bestselling tea, and why so many people like it – it’s just another case of DF not being a good match for me.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Noël à Londres by Dammann Freres
437 tasting notes

This tea smells strongly of cinnamon, fruit, and pastry. The fruit is almost more cherry like (perhaps from the almond) than apple, but the apple is present. This is another one where the flavour is more intense when cool. The first sips hot leave an impression of almond liqueur, sweet tea, cinnamon, and a touch of pastry. As it cools a little the cinnamon intensifies, and a bit of apple appears to blend with the cherry touched almond. The aftertaste is of cinnamon pastry and sweet tea,with a hint of vanilla cream. The flavours are well blended together, but none is distinct enough that I could name this as an apple tea if asked. Overall, a nice mild sweet cinnamon tea.

100°C/5 min

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55
drank Soleil Vert by Dammann Freres
303 tasting notes

This smells so very richly citrusy in the bag, it reminds me of this lemon fudge-esque candy I used to love as a kid. These: http://webshop.gottelisa.se/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/M/I/MIX_FOX_Citron_01_5.jpg

It’s a little too much, though, and it comes off as too artificial to me. Citrus is hard to get right, and the scents often land too close to household cleaning products (I never buy lemon, it’s one of the worst things ever) or over-the-top flavoured candy (the rules for candy are different, though).

In the cup, it is – just as I have come to expect from DF – much more subtle and bland, but the artificial note remains. I guess, as in the case of the ginger and the violet, some of DF’s flavourings just aren’t for me.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
caile

lol at candy rules! :-)

Anna

But it’s TRUE!!!

caile

haha yes, yes it is! I love candy but probably mostly have peppermints – the English mints without the candy coating – and keep a jar of them at home and a tin in my purse that I refill..

Anna

Mostly peppermints! Welcome to the dark side – this is the by-the-pound candy section of your average Swedish grocery store: http://girlunmapped.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/img_5607.jpg

Anna

(By the way, top row in the middle – the lemon candies I was talking about!)

caile

Oh my goodness – that’s the average Swedish grocery store aisle!! I may have to give up the peppermints! Yep, those lemon candies look good.. if one can find them nestled amongst the millions of others! ;-)

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