Dammann Frères: France’s Oldest Tea Company

Photography courtesy of Dammann Frères.

As tea’s rich history in Europe started in the early 17th century when the Dutch first imported Camellia sinensis to the continent, it was not long before tea leaves were in demand among the French. Towards the end of the century, the clamor for tea leaves eventually steered King Louis XIV to grant the exclusive privilege to sell tea in France to one Sir Damame. This venture, which also included cocoa, coffee, and spices, set the foundation for a successful enterprise that many today would recognize as Dammann Frères.

Photography Courtesy of Dammann Frères.

For more than three centuries, Dammann Frères has been a purveyor of fine teas, selling to hotels, restaurants, and consumers. However, despite the company’s lengthy history, its most notable milestones didn’t occur until the mid-20th century, when the company employed tea enthusiast Jean Jumeau-Lafond. Not only did Jean’s arrival to Dammann Frères pare down the company’s focus to selling solely tea, but he also inspired the idea to incorporate new flavors and blends into the brand’s line, starting with one dedicated to his wife. Still offered today, the Goût Russe Douchka tea— which loosely translates to a Douchka Russian flavor— was created as a nod to Jean’s wife’s habit of squeezing an orange wedge into her cup of tea. The blend, which shares similarities with the ever-popular Earl Grey tea, is a black tea with dominant citrus notes. This flavor creation sparked a new line of teas for a new generation of tea lovers who wanted a little additional flavor steeped into each cup.

In 1926, Mrs. Vera Dammann, a member of the namesake family, opened a tea counter in Brooklyn, New York, that eventually closed when she retired. Photography Courtesy of Dammann Frères.
For more than three centuries, Dammann Frères has sourced and sold high-quality teas, gradually growing to its current global reach. Photography Courtesy of Dammann Frères.


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