Wednesday, November 11, 2009

French tea and a correction

I am afraid I led you astray yesterday. Keemun/Qiman/Qihong tea is not old. I was developed about 1875 in the Southern Anhui Province of China. It is about 5,000 years too new to be considered ancient. Thanks to Jason for correcting me.

There are three [that I know of] major French tea companies, Hediard, Mariage Freres, and Dammann Freres. For many years, it was next to impossible to find them in this country and importing them carried a heavy postal tariff. They are now available, although they are expensive. The easiest way to find a source is to Google them and compare prices.

I have some Dammann Freres Framboise that I bought from the Seattle Teacup. If French is not your language, that is Dammann Brothers Raspberry Tea. And it certainly is. The dry leaves smell of the freshest berries, with a good whiff of the leaf thrown in. The tea leaves are black with bits of gold, mostly small, with a few long twisted ones thrown in for interest.
After 4 minutes at 212, the leaves brew up into a dark reddish gold, still with that distinct fresh raspberry scent. The liquid tea does not disappoint, as it tastes of the freshest of berries, eaten off the canes, in the sun on a June day. I had a bit of sugar with it and I thought it made the tea terrible. I did not try it with milk, as I was enjoying it too much as it. I would definitely recommend this for you berry lovers.

Someday I hope I can return to Paris and have tea at all of these famous companies. Then I will go to the famous chocolate shops. If I walk to all of them, I should be okay. If not, I shall be very very round.


Steph said...

I had the chance to try the Dammann Freres "four red fruits" tea this summer. It was very nice!

Marilyn Miller said...

I was recently in France and bought several Dammann teas: Chestnut Oolong, a Christmas white tea, and Luxembourg Oolong. They are all delicious. I also bought several teas at Mariage Freres: Marco Polo, Yunnan Gold, and Opium Hill ceylon. Yummmmm!