Noël à Vienne from Dammann Frères

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Dammann Frères

Company Description:

A blend of non smoked teas from China and Ceylon with chocolate, apricot and vanilla, fruit bits and orange peels.

Taster’s Review:

Noël à Vienne – translation – Christmas is coming!

Wow!  You know, every time I taste a tea from Dammann Frères – I can’t help but fall in love with it and proclaim it my new favorite from this company.  Their teas are just spectacular, and I’ve yet to find one that I’ve not absolutely loved!

The black tea used in this blend has a brisk, deep flavor to it that reminds me a bit of freshly baked cookies.  It is not a strong “cookie” essence – but when it is combined with the apricot, chocolate and vanilla flavors of this blend, it really seems to come alive and remind me quite a bit of the apricot cookies my grandmother used to bake.

There is no one real strong flavor in this tea for me, they all seem to come together in a harmonious, seamless flavor that tastes and even smells a bit like Christmas.  Not the peppermint candy kind of Christmas, but the gathering of family around a warm hearth and eating fresh baked cookies kind of Christmas.

This is the kind of tea that evokes happy memories.  This is that kind of tea.

Meng Ding Huang Ya from Dammann Frères

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  Dammann Frères

Company Description:

This tea is rare as it can only be plucked at springtime. It comes from the mountain Meng, in Sichuan province, where tea growing started during Han dynasty, more than 2000 years ago. At that time, yellow tea was only served at the imperial court. The 5cm long leaves are green with a pale yellow hue. The interesting colour and flavour of that tea come from a very unique processing technique. The fresh leaves undergo a swift withering and are then rolled in small quantities in “Niu Pi Zhi”, a kind of old yellow paper, in which they are left to dry naturally. This tea shows a pale yellow cup with a mellow character with hints of walnut.

Taster’s Review:

This is much different from the yellow teas that I’m used to, but it is certainly just as enjoyable.

Actually, when I first saw the leaf, I didn’t think it was a yellow tea, because the leaves are quite dark.  They have the appearance of a black tea, or possibly a well-oxidized Oolong.

The flavor is also quite different from other yellow teas – this is stronger in flavor than most yellow teas which are usually a bit more delicate.  This has a strong nutty quality and virtually no grassy or vegetative quality except at the finish, where there is an ever-so-subtle hint of a vegetal note.  Not grassy, just a hint of vegetation.

It is smooth and rich-tasting, with no bitterness, and very little astringency.  It’s really quite sublime!  It has a very pleasing buttery note that is sweet and creamy and complements the nutty note (which is likened to a walnut in the company description of this tea, provided above).  It’s kind of roasty-toasty, but not too much, I think that even those that find they do not care for toasty tasting teas would find this quite enjoyable.

This is truly a lovely tea to experience.  I have said it before (numerous times, even!):  “I have found a new favorite from the brothers Dammann!”  But… this time, I mean it!  This is fantastic!

Figue Fraîche from Dammann Frères

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Dammann Frères

Company Description:

A blend of Ceylon & China teas with oriental fig.

Taster’s Review:

I love figs!  And, this tea is the ULTIMATE fig tea!  Absolutely the best fig tea that I’ve tasted (well, so far!)

The fig flavor in this tea is amazing.  It reminds me of when I was young and living on a farm which had an amazing fig orchard.  One of my fondest childhood memories involves playing in that orchard, and when I would get hungry, I’d pick a plump, ripe fig and eat it right there in the orchard – still warm from the sun!  This tea, served hot, tastes so much like a fresh, warm fig!  Sweet, rich and bursting with fruity flavor!

The black tea base is mild and unassuming, and I really appreciate that in this blend, because for me, this one is all about the fig.  (did I mention that I love figs?)  That is not to say that I can’t taste the black tea – it’s there.  But it is not a strong, assertive black tea flavor.  There is very little astringency and just a hint of a tannic characteristic that hits the palate in the finish.

As I’ve already mentioned, this tea is fabulous served hot – especially if you happen to like warm figs as much as I do!  This tea is also makes an excellent iced tea – smooth, sweet and refreshing; the fig flavor remains strong and true.

This tea stands out as my favorite from Dammann Frères – yes, it’s really that good!

Cérisier de Chine from Dammann Frères

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Dammann Frères

Company Description:

Sencha green tea blended with cherry flavour and ornamented with rose petals. A highly fruity cup.

Taster’s Review:

Based on the description, appearance and fragrance of this tea, my immediate thought is that this is my favorite “springtime” tea – aka cherry flavored Sencha tea.  This is not my favorite cherry Sencha, but it is certainly very good.  Very, very good!

The cherry flavor is very strong in this blend.  It is sweet with just a hint of tartness that lingers on the tongue.  The tartness is just barely there, and cuts the sweet flavor just enough so that this does not become an overly sweet or syrup-like.

The Sencha green tea seems to get a little lost in this cup – the cherry flavor is very strong and seems to overwhelm the flavor.  I can taste the fresh, vegetative flavor of the Sencha tea, but it is quite light, especially in the first few sips.  Once I arrived at mid-cup, the flavors became more balanced.

This tea is very refreshing when served iced – and because of the strong fruit flavor, kids love it!

Noël en Provence from Dammann Frères

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:

Dammann Frères

Company Description:

A blend of non smoked teas from China and Ceylon with fig, strawberry and honey, cornflower and sunflower petals, lavender granulates.

Taster’s Review:

This tea smells amazing.  It possesses a very fruity bouquet:  I can smell both the strawberry and the fig, with the strawberry fragrance being the most prominent.  The aroma also captures the essence of the lavender in this blend, creating a lovely melange of fruit and flower that is simply a delight to experience.

And that’s just the dry leaf!  The aroma of the brewed tea is even more enchanting than the dry leaf.  Some of the notes of the black tea emerge as the tea brews, giving off a warm, biscuit-y scent, and when introduced with the fragrances of fruit and flower, it becomes truly irresistible!

But as I’ve said before, it’s the flavor that really matters most, and this tea delivers on flavor too.  The flavor of the lavender is very pleasantly pronounced.  It is very floral in taste, but somehow, the lavender in this tea tastes quite unlike any other lavender tea (or even just lavender), that I’ve encountered from here in the United States.  The lavender from France is magnificent!

A pleasant sweetness washes over the palate with this tea also courtesy of the honey.  The honey is not super strong, and therefore is not overly sweet, but, it is just enough to help bring out the sweetness of the fruit and flower of this blend.   In contrast, there is a slight sharpness to the tea which I accredit to the sunflower petals.  It makes for a unique experience for the palate.

The strawberry is also well-defined in this blend.  And I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted strawberry and lavender together in a tea before… but, here, in this cup… it’s divine!  The fig is also there, it is somewhat softer than the other flavors, but definitely adds its own flair to the cup.  The black tea base is a very enjoyable, non-aggressive black tea, with a slight “baked bread” kind of quality to it that compliments the other flavors in this tea so well.   Delicious!

This is a tea that would be quite delicious served iced, but, I think I prefer it hot.  Because of the honey present in the blend, no sweetener is necessary with this tea – it has quite a lovely sweetness on its own.  However, I did try it with just a sprinkling (about 1/4 of a teaspoon) of raw sugar, and found that this encouraged some of the softer flavors to reveal themselves – especially that of the fig.

A very bright, flavorful tea that would be enjoyable any time of day – another winner from Dammann Frères!

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