Over the past few months, Julia, our tea buyer, has been working hard to refine and focus our tea selection. Among the companies she works with is Dammann Frères, an impressive, third-generation French company that specializes in blending fine, loose leaf teas.
We just received in a shipment from Dammann Frères and asked Julia to share her top five picks with us. A lot of difficult decision-making was involved but, ultimately, she narrowed down her picks to the below – a selection of teas that encompass a variety of styles, flavor profiles and countries of origin.
High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong (Taiwan) – This rare oolong is from tea leaves sourced in the Guantou Mountains and harvested from plantations surrounded by primeval forest. This tea is sourced from a tea plant called Jin Xuan or “Golden Lily.” The natural aroma is floral and milky with a delicate flavor of chestnuts.
Japon Genmaicha (Kagoshima, Japan) – This tea is a mixture of Bancha (a late harvest Sencha) green tea, roasted rice and popped corn kernels. It has a slightly sweet and grassy liquor. A perfect tea with sushi.
Yunnan Celeste TGFOP (Yunnan, China) – These shoots – tawny, twisted and downy – give a rich liquor without bitterness. With lingering aromas of wood, spices, malt and honey, it is ideal in the afternoon or with a dessert.
China Imperial d’Or (China) – This tea is a blend of orange pekoes and Souchongs of China which are delicately smoked. Blended with silver tips and jasmine petals. It has a lightly smoked and floral finish. An excellent tea for the afternoon.
Pu-erh Cang Yuan (Yunnan, China) – Native to the Cang Yuan region in the southwest area of the Yunnan province, this dark tea with compact leaves gives a dark, intense liquor with punctuating high notes. The infusion is well-rounded revealing woody, earthy nuances.
As a general rule, Dammann Frères advises using one teaspoon of tea per cup. And, if you are brewing a pot, follow the same ratio but add one extra spoonful for the pot.
Recommended steeping times for teas vary but generally range somewhere between 2 to 5 minutes. Ultimately, however, the decision comes down to personal taste – if you like a strong brew, try steeping a little longer each time you make a cup until you find your optimal strength and flavor profile.
The team at Dammann Frères advise against giving your teapot a thorough scrubbing as repeated use will allow the pot to season (much like a cast iron pan), enhancing the flavor of your brew. Instead, simply rinse your teapot with fresh water.
More About Tea
Did you know that all teas come from the same plant? Brewed drinks from other roots, shrubs or plants are called tisanes. Here are a few tea-related links:
– Tea terminology –
– Tea history –