1340 Tasting Notes

80

Dammann Frères Advent 2021 – Day 9

As a bit of an oolong fiend, I was super excited to try this when I saw it on the advent calendar list; it does not disappoint! It smells and tastes a little like a lemon meringue, and the tea base is floral and almost buttery (sole complaint is it could be more buttery). The citrus hits all the quadrants – peel, fruit, blossom, etc. It’s such a vibrant flavour. Despite being in tea bag form, the the leaf is a beautiful, healthy shade of green and is in generously sized rolls (in contrast with MF’s bagged oolong samples, which are broken). I didn’t free it from the satchet, but after the first steep the leaf volume managed to punch a hole through anyways (jail break!).

It may not be the most complex of flavoured concepts but it does the one thing exceptionally well. If this were available at afternoon teas I’d go with it to compliment my clotted cream and jam scone 9/10 (I’m usually hardcore camp EG for high teas).

Steep Count: 3 – Limoncello vibes.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lime, Pastries, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Oooh, I am delighted that this one is coming up.

CrowKettle

Hope you enjoy it too!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. I’ll keep you posted.

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68

Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 8

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?

I don’t know because this tea, as named on its satchet, does not exist on MF’s website! Is Rainbow Rhapsody just White Rhapsody rebranded? Cue existential questions.

This is another fruity white-green-oolong spectrum tea by MF (the 2nd white tea of the advent). Some hay, citrus, and melon notes from the base are difficult to differentiate from the light fruit flavouring. Citrus is a kind of pomelo (gentle grapefruit) flavour, or even a cherry-ish blood orange. The subtle melon comes out cantaloupe. It’s a tricky muddled fruit salad tea, where all the juices have mixed. The broth hue is pinkish red (from fruit pieces; I opened the satchet to check!).

Steep Count: 2 – I found cherry to be a consistent flavour. Unfortunately, it’s not my favourite fruit in tea. Still, not bad.. just not exciting either.

Flavors: Berries, Blood Orange, Cantaloupe, Cherry, Citrus Fruits, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hay, Melon

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Michelle

Ok, now I’ve got this song singing in my head…

CrowKettle

It’s such an earworm (sorry)! It got stuck in my head too as soon as I saw the tea name :)

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73

Dammann Frères Advent 2021 – Day 8

This tastes like a super orange tea when had straight up, but when I add milk.. well, it still tastes like a lot of orange. However, the spices now come through, with strength, to create a bona fide dessert blend (it’s a total orange spice cookie). There’s ginger, but not as much ginger as I’ve seen in other DF blends; it’s sharing the heat agreeably with other spices, like clove and cinnamon. They’re a barky bunch but tasty; together, the citrus and spices give me a sense of “pine”, especially as an aftertaste.

I expect to see a few more similar"Chirstmas Orange" teas by the end of the advent, but I’d never pass up a cup during the winter months. This profile is festive and fleeting.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Cookie, Ginger, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Zest, Pine, Spices, Spicy, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, Christmas Orange to my mind entails hibiscus. It is nice to see one that is not that. (And I am not anti-hibiscus by any stretch, but often those teas have mega-sour ingredients on top of the hibiscus. I have some that I seem to be ignoring.)

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88
drank Miss Dammann by Dammann Frères
1340 tasting notes

Dammann Frères Advent 2021 – Day 7

DF is nailing it with the passion fruit flavouring. It’s a nice mix of honey-like citrus and tropical fruit notes, with an increasingly zesty, warm ginger as the tea cools. As a huge fan of lime, ginger, and tropical fruits I approve. I’d love to pick up more of this to try as a cold brew. Or just drink it like this.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Passion Fruit, Spicy, Sweet, Tropical, Wood

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Courtney

Passion fruit for the win!

Cameron B.

Love this one! The ginger and lime are so nice with the passion fruit.

CrowKettle

This and the Carcadet Passion Framboise are just wow on the passion fruit front. Didn’t know what I was missing!

Evol Ving Ness

Wait till you discover Noel a Pekin!

CrowKettle

….

I don’t think that’s part of this years advent… Brb.

Evol Ving Ness

No, I don’t think it is, but passionfruit.

CrowKettle

Yeah, I’ve composed a DF passion fruit shopping cart that I know is not going to be explored during the advent. Whoops.

Evol Ving Ness

It’s only three, right? Very reasonable.

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drank Paris In Love by Mariage Frères
1340 tasting notes

Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 7

Another “blue” oolong! The flavouring is a lovey berries & rose cream – subtly tart, floral, and juicy. The base is pretty light – coming out more as the tea cools down for +10min; I’d say indistinct floral, grassy, and mineral notes, with maybe a hint of cream. It’s silky smooth and has an aroma that makes me crave pastries and jam. I think I like this one.

Steep Count: 3 – there’s something here that’s grape-like. Almost an acidic wine note. I think I’d like a different oolong type as a base (a red oolong would be perfect but then the gimmicky “blue pea flower” may need to be sacrificed MF), with more of a grounding note – although I still got a lot out of this one.

Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Butter, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Grass, Jam, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Powdered Sugar, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Rose, Strawberry, Tart

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

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87

I see my advents are another green and oolong today, so I dived into my stash for some morning black tea. Because it is winter and I want black tea (ok, it’s still technically fall). It tastes a little like a root beer float and it doesn’t even need milk or ice cream!

Zzzz… winter torpor. Here’s a video of a hummingbird snoring (BBC):

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3vpfHfxskGv4Dv0j2r4Svvg/hummingbirds

Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream, Malt, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
52Teas

That hummingbird snore was way too cute.

Mastress Alita

My cat has a snore like the world’s tiniest trumpet, which I’ve always found quite cute. But that hummingbird was another level of the cuteness.

CrowKettle

Cats are undeniably adorable too, even when they don’t intend to be :)

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Dammann Frères Advent 2021 – Day 6

Decent almond chocolate tea. The aroma is in silky praline/mousse territory. “Chickpea Nutella” dessert comes to mind (so good, like all chickpea things). However, like all liquid almond things, I find this a bit thin. Almond may be my least favourite nut. I look at Mon Petit Praliné sitting over there, and its glorious hazelnut profile, and wish I had that instead, so..

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Nutty, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

I think Mon Petit Praline is coming up.

CrowKettle

(Flips over to the back of advent) Yay!

Are our advent teas lining up Evol, or are we still a little out of sync?

Evol Ving Ness

I’ve been kind of ignoring mine, but just checked and Mon Petit Chocolate is coming for Day 10. Not that it matters because rebel child.

Evol Ving Ness

Oops, today was Carrot Cake Rooibos for me.

CrowKettle

Ah, we are totally in parallel dimensions. Neat.

The first time (also, second and third time) I got a tea advent calendar someone gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Drinking them in order and on their days is overrated! :P

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent Christmas gift. Essentially a sampler. I like it. Next year, I hope to be a bit more ambitious with the calendars, not that I will follow them day by day. Probably.

Evol Ving Ness

Are you happy with the MF advent?

CrowKettle

So far, yes! Most of my nitpicking comes from the tea satchet form and being a snob (oolong.in.teabags.).. Otherwise, MF is doing what I hoped they’d do: surprise me with their elusive (dare I say, pretentious) approach to tea ingredients and catalogue selection. Although I jest (and wonder) about the lack of black teas so far – it helps that I generally love floral, fruity profiles as well as white, green, and oolong teas (3/7 days of flavoured green oolong is a “me” advent). :P

Also, this DF one is a really complimentary advent pairing – giving me the holiday-themed blends and dessert profiles that I’m so far not getting (and didn’t really want) from MF.

CrowKettle

I’ve actually been doing these calendars with my mother (waiting to try today’s until I see her later on sigh). She’s loved all of the MF teas she’s tried so far; Apollon, which I gave a 65 on here and others said lacked distinctive flavour, she gave a “10”. Mileage varies :)

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks. Seems like a good balance. I am not all that familiar with MF teas. I also have issues with teabags. For me, it is more a matter of control. I tend to overleaf with the DT’s perfect spoon, steep fast for several steeps. It’s a habit now which works for me.

A tea bag requires a whole different level of tea planning. It gives maybe two good cups (maybe maybe a third weak one).

Evol Ving Ness

Doing it with someone can be fun.

it’s lovely that you can share this with your mom, regardless of her tea preferences.

CrowKettle

Yeah, besides the fact that tea bag leaf is usually broken (sometimes this is great for a good, brisk tea) – there’s not as teas as I’d normally use myself for a pot, especially in the case of the oolong. I think that was part of Apollon tea’s problem. I’ve managed to get some pretty good cups and multiple steeps out of them but it’s a lot of tinkering.

When I first started drinking tea, a European pal gifted me 4 tins of MF teas (2 green, 2 black teas). They were initially super tricky to steep up and rate; their “mysterious” perfumed profile is also different from British and North American flavoured profiles. Steepsterites on here gave me countless tips, so by the time I reached the bottom of all four I was sad to see them go. So, I’ve a bit of patience for MF.

CrowKettle

Yep, love doing them with someone and lucky to have my mom close by! The year I split my calendar with a coworker was also fun but we didn’t stick to the dates (weekend teas, for example, we’d drink whenever).

Evol Ving Ness

What a sweet gift!

I may be up for the MF tinkering next year.

I kind of wish I had been around when Steepster was even more popular. But then, I’d likely be even more far behind in drinking up my teas :)

CrowKettle

The only (big) downside with MF is the costs of shipping. Otherwise, I’d love to do it again, especially if they change up their teas up each time.

Evol Ving Ness

Is the shipping more than that of DF?

Life is getting way more expensive.

CrowKettle

Yes, but they also used DHL and I got the brokerage fees. That made a big difference. D:

I don’t know if brokerage fees are always 100% guaranteed. Another parcel I recently shipped to family from UK via DHL didn’t ding me.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm. Potentially troublesome.

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84
drank Thé de Lune by Mariage Frères
1340 tasting notes

I’ve always wanted to try this, so I caved and added it as my sole addition on my Advent Calendar order (now I wish I’d indulged more). It’s lovely yet hard to describe, in typical MF fashion. There’s definite citrus, although exact varieties are hard to pinpoint (tangerine, kumquat, lemon?). Vanilla is also a confident yes.

Then there are the berries and fruits. MF berry/fruit flavouring and lack of ingredient list can drive a person mad and make them doubt their own sanity (how well do I know my palate? Magic 8 Ball says “reply hazy, try again”). It tastes like ALL the berries but also distinctly like specific ones (mostly darker ones, like black currant and blackberry). Is that goji? How about raspberry with a bit of tangerine? I wouldn’t rule out mangosteen, but I’m not super familiar with that fruit since I only had it once or twice. (Ahhhhhh).

There’s also malt from the black tea base. It’s a bright, semi-brisk one that boosts the tart, fruity notes. it goes well with milk and/or sweetener.

Taken with milk today, and loved very much by me for being bright, juicy, tart, and almost floral from vanilla. I’ve been reaching for it a lot lately.

Flavors: Bergamot, Berries, Black Currant, Blackberry, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Peppercorn, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Mm, that sounds tasty and on to the list it goes.

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Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 6

A black tea! And just in time for our first snow (I need to shovel snow).

The sweet orange flavouring here is subtle, allowing the bright, orange-hued base to accentuate the citrusy notes to a point where it feels like a natural component of the tea. “OA” is making a good modified “breakfast tea-like” satchet – with enough robust malt and tannin to dry me out and remind me of my grandmas (both of them were big tea drinkers). Taken with milk and dark chocolate, which really brought it up a notch.

Steep Count: 2 (with milk there’s a bit of a chocolate orange vibe occurring due to malt).

Flavors: Chocolate, Citrus, Fruity, Malt, Orange, Sweet, Tannic

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Evol Ving Ness

I am wondering if black tea has gone out of fashion of what. It does not seem to be making much of an appearance in advent calendars or in tea festival boxes.

CrowKettle

Right? Except for a few obvious companies (ex- F&M) I’m seeing a larger spread than I’d expect of advent herbals and green-ish teas in everyone’s tasting notes!

In the case of MF, I suspect it’s more an instance of trying to push new and/or less popular teas – many of which happen to be green, white, or oolong blends. We’ve had to add pretty much every one so far to the database on here, and I haven’t seen any of their old “flagship” teas yet, except for a “upgrade” of their Marco Polo Green tea version. To be fair, I would’ve likely never picked these out for myself and I’m enjoying the novelty, if not always loving them to bits… :)

Evol Ving Ness

DF’s seems to be trotting out their new and/or more obscure ones too. I am pleased to discover the more hidden things, I suppose. That said, out of three tea fest boxes, I got only something like 60 grams of black (plus 50 grams of black from DT’s, one of the fest sponsors so I am not counting that).

Evol Ving Ness

I do have enough tisane to take me to the end of my days.

CrowKettle

The good thing about tea bag portions is if you don’t love something it’s not sticking around anyways. Any tisane more than 3 servings usually stays with me for five years :P

gmathis

Elsewhere (librarything.com), a tea enthusiast posted an article that does point that black tea is losing some market share: Unilever offloads black tea business as UK passion for cuppa goes cold (Guardian) As a lover of strong unleaded, this troubles me.

CrowKettle

Oh, no! While white, green, and oolong teas are my personal favourites – black teas are still essential to me. If I’m in a social setting or working, the robust, brisk ones are my go to; I’ve been craving a nice CTC lately even!

Hope the market rediscovers their love for them.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for that, gmathis. Massively troubling information.

I hope the market rediscovers their love for them too.

Another thing is that climate change and this ongoing COVId situation may influence tea supply, maybe not immediately. I suspect we will be feeling this at some point.

Black tea for me, flavoured and straight, is number one, with green and oolong coming up behind. Everything else trails behind.

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Dammann Frères Advent 2021 – Day 5

Yes, both of my advents thought I should be reminded of warmer regions of the world today. Thank you universe.

DF writes “for amateurs, a delicious drink prepared as a latte.” I’m no spring chicken to turmeric but you can bet I “simmered” this tea bag in oat milk before finally adding honey (maple syrup is also an excellent sweetener with this spice combo). It was delicious and warming, even though I over-simmered my oats. I’m also glad that, out of Dammann Frères three turmeric herbals, it’s the gingery one they included.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Ginger, Spices, Spicy, Sweet, Wood

EmmaM

I’m most definitely a newbie when it comes to turmeric Curcuma tea and I chickened out on this one. My daughter opened hers, wrinkled her nose and handed it to me in total disgust, lol. I kindly (read cowardly) passed it on to my husband (sans wrinkled nose mind you) since he’ll eat and drink anything and I haven’t heard yet what he thought of it. But you make it sound good! I will look up “simmering” in oat milk and try to follow in your footsteps on this one.

CrowKettle

Check out turmeric latte recipes! This is a teabag version of one of those – just add your milk choice and sweetener and you’re good to go (maple and honey are best, to your tastes). If you like or don’t mind masala chai (especially ginger-forward ones) this will fit right in, despite the fact that turmeric looks and smells like a lot. It’s profile is vaguely earthy spice; it is part of the same family as ginger.

Just fair warning though – turmeric loves to stain things.

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourites are teas like Milk Oolong, Silver Needle,and Japanese Sencha/Gyokuro, or fruity and floral flavoured ones. However, I generally enjoy ALL the teas, including a good old cup of Earl Grey or Breakfast blend.

FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS/NOTES:

DESSERT FLAVOURS
Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

FRUIT & BERRIES
Citrus Fruits, Passionfruit, Banana, Pineapple, Melons, Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Elderberry, Persimmon, Rhubarb..

SPICES
Ginger, Turmeric, Clove-forward chai, Cardamom

AROMATIC & HERBACEOUS NOTES
Sandalwood, Frankincense, Juniper, Eucalyptus, Mints

FLORALS
Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Violet, etc.

VEGGIE/GRAIN NOTES
Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:
Stevia, Apple, Cocoa Nib, Almond, Licorice, Cinnamon-forward blends, Chinese Sencha

Subjective Rating System:
I don’t give a lot of low ratings out, since a) I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me, and b) I don’t have a lot of strong dislikes.

90-100: Favourites. The Desert Island Teas.
80-89: Loved teas. Possibly staple-worthy.
70-79: Good teas, but I’m less likely to repurchase. Minor quibbles.
60-69: Ok teas. Likely a few preference and/or quality issues.
50-59: Cup of meh. Will do in a pinch.
11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea.
1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, an unholy abomination. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.

Location

BC, Canada

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