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Recent Tasting Notes
Day 21 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. An herbal, yay! I’m getting plenty of sweet, juicy, tart hibiscus and berry, but not any of the titular mint. Which is fine, it’s still tasty. And it’s good hot and cold. I added seltzer to the last bit of it and it made for a nice tea soda, so bonus points there.
Day 20 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar and it’s more bergamot! If you like bergamot, oh boy, is the Dammann Freres catalogue for you. I, alas, generally do not. I was happy to see another green tea, but the hopefulness that struck in me was significantly dampened by the strong aroma of bergamot as soon as I opened the packet. The bergamot definitely translates to the flavor, but thankfully there are also some other, pleasant notes: peach or apricot, and maybe a hint of cream or vanilla. But really that bergamot is overwhelming.
Wrote this up a couple of months ago but never posted it!
Day 19 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. One nice thing about finishing this advent calendar so late is that I feel like a lot of these fruity teas are better suited for hot weather. This one, for example, begs to be tried iced, but I wouldn’t have done that in December. The dry leaf smells like fruit salad! Kiwi, apricot (or possibly the combo of mango and bergamot if experience with DF’s Bella Blanca is any guide), and something else I can’t place. Looking at the ingredients list, it’s kiwi, orange blossom, violet, bergamot, and peach. So my sense of smell clearly still isn’t 100% where it was before this latest bout of covid, and/or has trouble distinguishing between their yellow/orange stone fruit flavorings. Nonetheless, onwards to the tasting!
Mostly I taste kiwi, stone fruit, and bergamot. As it cools, the bergamot gets even stronger, which… why?! Either the bergamot is too heavy-handed or I’m really sensitive to it. I keep thinking the base tea is chun mee, but I don’t really know that or have any specific basis for believing it, just some little signal in my brain that keeps wanting to label it that – even though I haven’t had chun mee in years!
Day 18 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. I was excited to see a white tea in here! This brews up a nice amber color. The dry leaf smells clearly of apricot, bergamot, and almond. The apricot and bergamot flavors are both pretty strong and balance each other nicely, though the overall impression is a touch more tart than I’d like. I think I’d be ok with it if it wasn’t also so drying; tart plus drying doesn’t leave the most delightful after-sensation. No idea where that almond went to!
I’m looking at the ingredients list now and it shows mango, not apricot. I had apricots for breakfast this morning (several hours ago), so that flavor is very fresh in my mind, and this still reads closer to apricot than mango for me. If I had to guess, I’d guess that my brain is reading the combination of the sweetness of the mango flavoring and the tartness of the bergamot flavoring as a tarter stone fruit.
I iced the second steep and had it a couple of days later. When I came back to this tasting note to add details from that steep before posting, I was surprised to see how consistent the experience was. That iced steep also had a tart stone fruit flavor. Not overly sweet, but definitely fruity. What did come through in the second steep that I didn’t find much in the first was a slight floral note.
Disappointingly, I didn’t get much from the base tea here, besides that drying sensation and light-to-medium body. To the blend’s credit, the base doesn’t clash with the flavorings, and perhaps is supporting them so seamlessly that I just can’t tell. But after so so many black tea blends, I was hoping for a white tea that would really wow me. This is tasty enough but I’m not floored, you know?
Day 17 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar and it’s yet. another. bergamot blend on the same. black. base. Even though I am generally not a fan of Earl Grey and was dreading this one, I actually found it pretty enjoyable today. THIS bergamot with THIS base, today, is working for me. Possibly because it also isn’t muddled with a bunch of other flavors, so I don’t feel resentful that the bergamot is stealing the show. Here, I can appreciate the balance between the bergamot and the base, and that the bergamot doesn’t have that weird chemical-y taste that it sometimes can.
ETA: Since it was late in the day, I had to stick half this mug in the fridge for the next day. Surprisingly, this is really good cold!
Day 16 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. I’m afraid my notes on this one are a little sparse, unfortunately. Hot, the most prominent notes were cherry and cranberry. I couldn’t taste the lemon so much as feel an acidic citrus juiciness at the end of the sip. I quickly decided that this would be better iced and let it cool/stuck it in the fridge. But then I drank it during a busy workday and forgot to take notes! I remember enjoying it. I definitely thought it was better iced than hot. But nothing sticks out in my memory as to particular tasting notes, or thinking “wow this is really good,” or even “wow this is really bad.” It did the trick, it was kinda different than what I normally drink which made it fun, but it ultimately just wasn’t super memorable.
Yay, Steepster is back!
Day 15 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar, and one of my favorites so far! Not because I can make out all of the ingredients in the brew, but because the overall effect is pitch-perfect. It’s got a strong cocoa flavor, like a robust cacao tea. The cinnamon here is dialed in at just the right ratio: definitely present and noticeable, thereby making the brew more robust, but still playing a supporting role and not overwhelming the whole thing. I got two good steeps out of this blend. This is one of the few days in this advent I’ve really wished for more of the blend.
Day 14 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. This is… fine? It’s an Earl Grey with a lime twist. I’m not a big fan of Earl Grey generally, which means I don’t have a great sense for what differentiates a mediocre Earl Grey from an exceptional one. The bergamot and lime citrus are assertive but don’t totally overwhelm the brisk base. There’s nothing in here that tastes off or alcoholic to me. The bergamot hits first, followed by the lime, but the lime is definitely present and works well with the other flavors. I just fundamentally don’t enjoy the bergamot + black tea combo inherent to most Earl Grey blends, so it’s hard to enjoy this one.
I’m already a bit behind on Sipdown September, but going to do my best to catch up. My goal for the month includes finishing off everything I have left from last year’s advent calendars! I definitely ordered way too many and won’t make that mistake again this year.
This is Day 13 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar. For some reason I thought this was their regular chamomile tea, which I quite enjoy. Looking at it in my steeper, it’s actually a blend, which I would have realized if I had paid attention to the whole name and not just the first word. The chamomile in this is beautiful: big, plump, bright yellow flowers to make you think of spring and happiness. The dry leaf smells of sweet chamomile and an earthy note. In the brew, that translates to a floral chamomile, a hint of sharpness, and an earthy herbal note. It’s interesting to me that apple pieces are literally an ingredient here, but I’m still finding this to be a more floral than apple-y chamomile. Overall, one of my favorites from this advent calendar so far.
ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge – “A tea with orange flavor”
A new month brings a new set of sipdown challenges! Going to try to use these prompts to steep up some teas that I either haven’t tried, haven’t written about, or just haven’t sipped in a long time.Okay, technically this tea has clementine flavor, but I’m calling that close enough. :P This one is a bit disappointing to me, if I’m honest. It’s from my last Dammann order, which was in the fall of last year sometime, mostly made to get their advent calendar, but of course several teas tagged along. I wanted to try one of their flavored yerba matés (and by “try”, I mean order 100 grams because that’s the only option with Dammann), so I waffled between this one and Citron Cerise, and ended up deciding on this tea. Of course, I ended up trying and loving Citron Cerise in the advent…
Anyway, it’s not that this is a bad tea. It has a very prominent green yerba maté flavor to it, herbaceous and woody and slightly smoky. And I like yerba maté, so I do enjoy it. I just feel like the clementine takes such a backseat that it ends up being in more of a supporting role, rather than the star flavor. It does add a nice sweet, citrusy brightness to the blend, I’m just left wanting more of it.
Maybe next time I’ll try a shorter steep, or even try this cold steeped to see if it brings out more clementine zing.
P.S. – Dammann’s new website is gorgeous! And love the changes like displaying a short description of each tea’s flavors in the grid, and showing the ingredients on the product pages.
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Hay, Herbaceous, Mandarin, Mineral, Raisins, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Tangerine, Woody
Dammann Freres advent calendar day 12. After the terrible experience I had with Christmas Tea Vert, I was filled with dread about this one. Opening it up, though, I was encouraged to find that the dry leaf didn’t smell like bubblegum. Instead, it smells like sweet cherry, marzipan, and a hint of ginger. So, ok, maybe the brew won’t taste horrible!
It’s better than the vert, for sure, but I can’t say that I really like it. It doesn’t taste like bubblegum, which is a massive point in its favor. But it has a very strong maraschino cherry flavor, with a hint of marzipan in the background and a gentle whisper of ginger coming in on the back end. Somehow the mix of the cherry and marzipan also makes me think there’s orange in here, even though the ingredients say there isn’t. Somehow, I just don’t like this. I can’t quite place my finger on why, even – I don’t like cherries but I do like maraschino cherries and Shirley Temples. This just super isn’t working for me as a hot drink. I’m letting it cool to see if it’s more enjoyable cold.
I let this cool and topped it off with seltzer for a tea soda, which definitely made it more palatable for me – enjoyable, even. The sweetness of this particular cherry flavoring makes for a good soda flavoring, and works well for a cool refresher. Very much the opposite of a northern hemisphere Christmas vibe, but c’est la vie. I’m going to cold brew the second steep of this for another tea soda.
Dammann Freres advent calendar day 11. Day 10 has gone missing! I have searched high and low to no avail. I don’t know whether I drank it and forgot to take notes, moved the teabag for some reason, or the bag has gotten lost inside the calendar. It definitely makes the part of my brain that needs to do things in order feel itchy, but I’m trying to just accept that I might never find it and move on.
As soon as I opened the packet for this blend, Day 11, there was a strong whiff of almond-y alcohol. The teabag itself smelled nicely of almond and soft vanilla, so I still had high hopes for this when I brewed it up in a spacious mug. It does taste like almond, with a nice lingering vanilla note. However, there’s a jarring alcohol aspect with that almond that just throws the whole thing off for me. Which is a bummer. because these are flavors I really enjoy otherwise.
Another old note I haven’t posted, for Day 9 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar that I’m taking a very long time to finish. Yet another black tea from this advent. The dry leaf smells delectably like juicy mango, vanilla, and cream. It’s been a long time since I’ve had lassi so I can’t speak to how accurate the flavor is to its namesake. The beginning of the sip features the dry, woody, almost cinnamony base. A gently juicy mango flavor comes in mid-sip. Unfortunately, I can’t detect any vanilla or cream notes. I hoped that would change as the tea cooled, but it didn’t. The base stayed prominent, the mango got a little juicier, and I suppose if I thoroughly stretched the imagination I could find a creamy note, but not really. I had high hopes for this one based off the scent of the dry leaf, but it just didn’t carry over into the cup.
This tasting note for Dammann Freres’ advent calendar day 8 has been sitting in my drafts for months but I never posted it. This blend is delicious! It tastes like wild strawberry jam, or a high quality strawberry gummy. I am getting tired of the Dammann Freres advent having so many black teas, but it’s a good base here since it seems to have a caramel or brown sugar aspect to it. I made the first steep hot and the second as an overnight cold steep. Both were fantastic.
No. Just no. This is day 7 of the Dammann Freres advent calendar (I’m suuuuper behind but hoping to finish it off in the next month or so). I just really didn’t like this one. It smells and tastes like Bazooka Joe bubble gum, which is not a profile that I ever expected, wanted, or, as it turns out, enjoyed in a tea. One of the rare teas I couldn’t even bring myself to finish.
This tea smells delightful. I have mainly had it at breakfast but I drank it all by its lonesome once. The black base is a little brisk, so really good with food. It has that nice raspiness I fond in a lot of Keemun tea.
This does not smell like pecan pie however. At least, not like a Southern pecan pie. Maybe in Europe they make an entirely different type but I have never had one with almond extract in it and that is what this tea is redolent of. It is nutty and delicious and I agree with those noted that it tastes a lot like marzipan. And I don’t even know if I have ever tasted marzipan…but I am sure this is what it would taste like. Now I need to go buy some marzipan.
Anyway, this is a sipdown. A good tea, I wouldn’t turn it down, but don’t know if it would be critical to repurchase. It would be a very pleasant visitor to the tea shelf now and then, even if not a shelf staple.
It was a hot day but all evening I have felt chilly in the air conditioning. I don’t want to change the setting since Ashman was working outside a great deal and no doubt was roasting. So I will have hot tea and put on thick socks instead!
It is late so I have to drink something without caffeine and I remembered I had this little sample. I don’t like hibiscus except with loooooooots of sugar, but I gave this a go without additions. I was eating a Milka Kuhflecken candy bar so that took a little of the tart edge off.
This smells pretty good, and the hibiscus is not the tartest I have ever had. The other ingredients must be reining it in a little. Although this is not something I would seek out for a hot tea, I bet it makes a really good sweet iced tea. And it did the job tonight because I am no longer shivering in my socks.
There is a bit of a tropical vibe here, and I like what I can summon of the apple flavor.
To further complicate the description of this tea….mine says something different in the ingredients. Mine says “fruit and subtle flowers combine with bergamot and a hint of rose on a black tea base that has notes of wood and cocoa.”
The aroma is more lime than bergamot to me. Is finger lime (in someone else’s description) the same as bergamot?
Edited to add: One package was reported as having finger lime listed as an ingredient. I just looked that up and it is also called a caviar lime. I wondered why on earth they added the word caviar in the name. No wonder we perceived lime flavor as prevalent.
This is mostly citrusy with the barest hint of rose if I close my eyes and look for it and pretend I found it. The black tea base is very woody indeed. If it has chocolate notes, I must be honest that the lime/bergamot aftertaste is covering that up for me. It is not terribly strong bergamot, though. And I really do get more of a lime vibe from this. This packet is new so this should be the current recipe. It was purchased at the Dammann Freres shop in Paris just a few weeks ago.
I am icing some now to see if I like it sweet and cold. It is good, but not one I need to repurchase.
I have been having reflux issues big time lately so no night snacking for a while for me. I knew the reflux was going to make me hoarse, and sure enough Alexa asked me to confirm who I was this morning when I added something to the shopping list.
I don’t really like red rooibos but I decided to try this since I have had a couple of flavored ones that were okay. (I love flavored green rooibos.) surely Dammann would do a good job.
I think they did, too. I would not go out and buy this, but if I didn’t have anything else caffeine free to drink, I wouldn’t be crushed. The cherry cough syrup, woody red rooibos flavor is there, but the type of citrus flavors they put with it slide in there and make them more palatable. It is fresh and bright and would probably be pretty good iced.
I am glad I tried it, even if I wouldn’t seek it out!
I was given a single sachet sample of this, but I would definitely buy it one day if I were placing a Dammann Freres order. I really get burned out on chamomile in the evening pretty easily, so the discovery of green rooibos base teas was a thrill. And now here is a tea with mostly lemongrass base that smells so good in the pouch that you want to eat it like candy. This is sweet a d citrusy with a hont of vanilla and a little licorice scent.
I can’t see any star anise in my sachet but I definitely smell it. I wouldn’t mind the anise being stronger, but this is still so good. I had it with a Fortnum and Mason Raspberry and Rose Florentine because I had a bad case of snackies tonight. I am well satisfied.
Derk tucked a couple of packets of this in her last care package, and while my addled brain can forget why I walked into a room, I actually remembered having a taste of the same tea in the past. I waited to enjoy the encore cup before reading my previous review so as not to skew the results this time around. And with both cups, oolong + salted caramel = banana. Good banana, but not an equation one would expect!
This elegant little sample came from ashmanra and I saved it for a Sunday afternooner. The caramel made its presence known mostly through the scent, a little more gently throughout the top half of the cup and after it cooled … banana? Bananas foster? (That’s caramel-compatible, isn’t it?) A little unexpected twist there, but altogether, very tasty!