Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got this one in a swap with TeaTiff. I’m always willing to try another Damn Fine Tea! The leaves of this one are long and thin, and mostly dark with a few golden spots. I didn’t get much of a dry scent off of it, which I find is rather common with straight blacks.
Once steeped, it has a lovely raisin aroma with some bread and caramelized brown sugar notes. The taste is also strongly raisin, which I love. There’s also a rich caramelized brown sugar note that blends beautifully with the raisin. Near the end of the sip, there’s the slightest hint of an earthy flavor, but it’s mild enough to be inoffensive. Overall, this one is very tasty and not what I expected!
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Earth, Raisins
I thought this would be very interesting as I am a fan of Oktoberfest. I really enjoyed the earthy pu-er like fragrance from the leaves and the malty flavors that developed right away. I tried to steep the tea a little longer than recommended and taste it a few times as it developed. The malty flavor definitely is up front early on and melds into the background as the black tea qualities emerge and take center stage. Overall a nice blend and worth enjoying on a nice fall day.
Flavors: Earth, Malt
This is why I am in the Steepster Select Club!!!!! This tea is really good and it is not one I would have tried on my own.
Delicious Delicious, well balanced, so good.
Dry leaves smell very smoky like a Lapsang, tangy BBQ smell but stick with it, it’s going to fool you.
Liquor is a deep auburn color with lots of orange to it, perfect for Oktoberfest!!
Smells very sweet and the wet leaves are multicolored just like fall colored leaves.
I poured my tea into a small white tea cup and saucer and the liquor is so orange now in my cup.
I let the tea cool a bit to really get the flavors. This is so good. It is naturally sweet and could take a touch of milk if you wanted but I wouldn’t add sugar. But it doesn’t need either.
This tea is so enjoyable that I really just got the tasting note of delicious bc it had so many enjoyable notes that came together and at one point I added a drop of milk and it was creamy heaven.
They weren’t lying, this is damn fine tea!!!!
From the Steepster Select Box; October, 2014
My 3000th tasting note!
Damn this tea is good!
I love a lot of different full leave single origin type teas, but admittedly, I also love a good blend, something that combines the best qualities of 2 or more teas into one cup. I’ve been a fan of A & D ever since I tried my first cup of Tiger Assam, & I never miss picking up a can of whatever their latest combo is. This one takes the cake, as far as I’m concerned.
Let me get something straight. We’re not talking about refinement here, we’re not talking chocolate, pastry, & cream. We’re talking bold & brash, leather & leiderhosen clad manly men with full beards, hoisting goliath sized ornate ceramic steins, dripping with artisanal beer. As soon as I opened the can, I could smell hops & malt, with brats on the grill, & I can swear I heard an oom pah pah brass band playing in the distance.
This tea is savory & bold, & although the initial aroma portends smokiness, the taste isn’t that apparent. To me its heavy on the malt, slightly bitter like hops, leathery, chewy & a little sour like thick old world rye bread, & I warn you, it packs a serious punch!
Don’t drink on an empty stomach!
And of course, I love the little presents the A & D boys always include. This box came with a cute little German style rubber ducky. :)
Thank you Boychik for this sample. While I find this an enjoyable tea, it is a little too malty for my tastes. It is good though. It’s not incredibly malty, just too malty for me. I followed their brewing guidelines exactly so I don’t think I brewed it wrong. There is a little sweetness behind the malt too. As I drink the cup I notice just a little bitterness. This makes me wonder if it would be better brewed at 190 degrees? This tea was definitely worth trying.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 6g leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
I bought this on Canada Day because they were offering free shipping for Canada and even though I’m not in Canada, I got nervous because it was down to only a very precious few tins left of the tea and I worried that if I waited until the 4th of July when they offer free shipping to us here in the US that I’d miss out on this. As it turned out, they didn’t sell out of this one until after the 4th, so I would have been safe but I didn’t want to miss it!
Anyway … it’s a lovely Yunnan!
Molasses-y and caramel-y. So beautifully sweet! A hearty, robust tea. Warm, earthy, notes of leather. A truly wonderful tea, I’m glad I go this one.
I love this tea, tin is gorgeous and a little rubber ducky is cutie.
It is the best of both worlds – Indian and Chinese teas. Bold, malty ,a little spicy, some smoke(pleasant, not harsh, and mostly dry leaves). It’s very balanced and once brewed very easy to drink (for me). Perfect blend.
people who dont really like smoky teas should not be afraid. its not that noticeable while you drink it. And you can always add some little maple syrup to bring it to a different level.
I have in the same family Two Tigers by DevoTea(discontinued). Love them both!
Thank you Boychik for this sample. This tea was pretty good. I was not sure if I would like it but I did. It was not too strong or too smoky. It had a strong smoky character and second unexpected character behind that, a nice sweetness. I might eventually buy this one.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 6g leaf and boiling water for 4 min.
I received this sample from Cameron B Thank you!
Yum! Wow, Yum! This is really hitting the spot this morning. I am sad that Steepsters is misbehaving again. I have no idea what is actually in this tea. From my taster I suspect it is a blend of Assam and Darjeeling. Whatever combination is in here is really working for me. So much so that I went directly to the A&D sight. Oh A&D I wish you sold your teas in smaller quantities. 4oz is a LOT of tea of one kind for me. Maybe I will have to con a fellow steepster into splitting a 4 pack?
The first thing I noticed about this tea is the sweetness. It has a sweetness to it I didn’t expect. Then I got the malty/fruitiness of the Assam, and then the muscatel of what I think is Darjeeling but who knows. What ever is in here has made it a yummy cup. Thanks again Cameron B for allowing me to try another A & D tea.
I am not much of a resteeper but I was lazy (and also curious), so I decided to reuse the leaves of this one.
It is a whole new tea. I love it when a resteep is full of depth, and not just watered down from the first steep.
There is very minimal smokiness in the second steep. I would describe this one as deep and dense, bold and heavy. A lot of woody, tobacco flavours. The sweetness is stronger and more dominant. My sixth sense for Darjeeling is not kicking in as strongly. No drying effect. I think I like the second steep better. However, the one bad thing is that there is no longer an association to ale or lager or beer, etc.
On a side note, it is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. I had an interesting personal moment this week. I had to explain to someone from Fiji, what the point of Thanksgiving was, other than just a Statutory holiday. I was almost at a loss of words and had a hard time thinking of how to explain it. It left me with an odd feeling because I thought I was always a person who would not take for granted the reasons we celebrate certain days, holidays, times of year, etc.
So I have had a lot of time to reflect and determine what I am thankful for and to be thankful to be in the country and culture in which I choose to live (choose being the important word).
So what are you thankful for?
Awesome! End review.
Well I will try my best at a decent review. I have been trying to post this all day and it just hasn’t been working out in my favour.
I love Andrews and Dunham. Their teas are always good, but the showmanship makes everything taste so much better!
So on first opening the canister, it has a quite smokey scent. The tea brews up a very nice red/brown colour.
Don’t be fooled by the scent, the tea tastes only slightly smokey. The base is bold and very malty. The liquor is moderately thick. There is a definite sweetness to the tea, it made me think of honeysuckle. I am getting a bit of dirty old leather … darjeeling … I am pretty sure I taste dajeeling, it is quite hard to sneak that by my taste buds. But it is ok, it is just an undernote in the flavour profile. There is quite a drying effect in the aftertaste, but I would not describe it as astringent as there is no bitterness and no bite that you get with astringency. I would describe this tea as being similar to an amber ale. Perfect for Oktoberfest!
Quite enjoyed this one.
Swap from Shadowfall!
Hmm, this is a rich indian tea flavor without the dryness. It’s like it’s pulsing to want to be dry and brisk, but never gets there. The texture is thick with a silky sip, a bit bread crusty, malty with slight stone fruit sweetness. The finish is more bread crust flavor. Not bad, glad to of tried it!
Time for another black tea (this one is also from boychik). I’ve tried two other A&D teas so far and enjoyed them both, so I have high hopes for this one. The description is quite vague and tells me only that this a blend of Indian teas. The leaves are small and somewhat broken, and they’re almost all dark chocolate brown with a few small gold pieces. Dry, the leaves aren’t giving off much scent aside from a vague sweet quality and perhaps the promise of malt. Since the leaves are small, I made sure to measure a level teaspoon for this one, and I let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The liquid smells quite bready and I’m getting a rather surprising tart apricot aroma. I must say, I did not expect fruit from this tea. And to be honest, there’s not much fruit in the taste. There is some dark wheat bread however, and it’s alongside some strong malt and a touch of wood. I do taste just a little bit of apricot preserve, but whether it’s my nose tricking me, I don’t know. This seems to be a simple tea to me, it’s quite strong but not bitter or particularly astringent (there is a wee bit, but I noticed that they recommend a steep shorter than 3 minutes, so that’s my bad). I could see this being a nice breakfast tea, especially for someone who adds milk to theirs.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Malt
So, I have almost finished my tin of this tea and realized I haven’t even reviewed it yet.
I could drink this every morning! Bold, malty and flavorful, yet smooth and sweet. Easy to brew, delicious with milk, and makes a wonderful second cup. Perfect!
I could swear I have reviewed this before… I’ve had this tea quite a while now, and though I had some technical difficulties when I was first learning to brew it, I feel I’ve definitely figured out my preferred method to get the most of the tea without making an overpowered cup. I have gone through quite a few shifts in the method I use to brew red/black teas in the gongfu style before I found one that really worked great for me.
Anyway, this is one of the best red teas I’ve had. There’s an interesting light floral quality to the scent resting atop some darker notes of earth, baked bread, cocoa, forest floor, and yam. The darker, mustier qualities are well balanced by a lightness that comes through in the flavor as yam and honey. The tea is tangy with a hint of bitterness on the back-end like dark chocolate or coffee, but to be fair I brew this a bit on the full-bodied side, while I’ve noticed most practitioners of Gongfu Cha I’ve met will brew red teas more on the light side, making a honey-colored liquor rather than a red one. That tends to yield more of the subtle notes present in a red tea. I prefer a bit more strength since repeated infusions will eventually yield a lighter liquor anyway. Not that this tastes exactly the same as if you had brewed it light to begin with, but it’s similar.
On a final note, I absolutely love the tin design and its designation as a “Year of the Horse” tea. I know A&D have done some teas like this before and I really am eager to see what comes out next year for the Year of the Goat. My only complaint is that the tin is basically a small paint can, so you will need something handy to pry the lid off if you purchase a tea tin from these guys. I keep a quarter resting atop the lid as it works well to do the trick and doesn’t take up any extra space while the tin is in the cupboard.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Yams
Stephanie sent this as a bonus sample in our swap. Thanks, Stephanie! Not one, but two A&D teas to try!
This tea is what you would expect from a blend of Indian teas…malty, bright, with some citrus notes. It’s a great tea to pair with breakfast. Recently, though, I think my tastes have moved away from Indian black teas and more towards Chinese black teas, but it was nice to try it!
This was my morning cup, thanks to Stephanie! :) I’ve been curious about this company for awhile now, but wasn’t willing to go all out and buy multiple ounces without trying them first. Swaps are awesome for that! So, the verdict? I think I’m in love with Keemun! Every one I’ve tried, I’ve enjoyed. This one was similar to TeaVivre’s organic superfine fragrant Keemun, which I recently discovered. It tastes like dark chocolate, apricots, and a little smoke. I think I’ve seen dark chocolate covered dried apricots before….that might be what this tea tastes like, except the smoke rounds out the sweetness. Absolutely the perfect morning cup! So, first tea tried from A&D is a winner. And, as far as price, it’s actually 17 cents cheaper than the TeaVivre one I mentioned; however, TeaVivre’s is organic, so makes sense. Anyway, I’m looking forward to trying more Keemuns in the future and would not mind it if this one landed in my cupboard!
I wish I had bought a second tin!
Okay, so I’m at work (10pm to 7am) and I forgot my infusers… No bags also…
So, just floated this bad boy and spooned it out. I really don’t mind doing it this way often (I feel it gives the leaves a chance to really unfurl and fully infuse) and they usually settle to the bottom anyway.
Boiling water in my hot pot in the break room.
About 1 to 1.5 tsp on a 8 oz cup.
Sit for 3 min. First sip was WOWZA! Honey notes, malty, bread, yeasty note. (I work in an ER, saying yeasty didn’t seem quite fitting, but co-workers got a good laugh.) I was apprehensive about liking yunnan. This is my first. Let’s just say I’m hooked!
After about 10 minutes now, there’s a nice bold earthy flavor, still some honey. Not as much honey undertones as golden monkey has.
Now its probably been 2 hours, and its still great cold. Its a bit bitter, but not so much that its not like a good cup of black coffee.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Honey, Hops, Yeasty
This sample came from Stephanie (thanks dear). I don’t have a lot of experience with Keemuns in general, but this one seemed to get rave reviews and I liked the other tea that I tried from Andrew & Dunham. The leaves are very dark and slender, and they’re formed into little curls. I don’t really get a dry scent from them, but I’ve noticed that seems to be common for some black teas. I did a 3 minute steep at 200 degrees, as per usual for black tea.
The brewed aroma is very malty with some graininess. I can smell a little bit of spice (cinnamon maybe?) along with a touch of fruit. Holy smokes, this is a bready tea! It tastes like delicious whole-wheat bread with honey butter slathered over the top. Yums! There’s a little bit of a raisiny note, but it’s extremely mild and hides in the background. I also get a touch of floral near the end, but it’s not enough to make me like this any less. :P Thanks, Stephanie!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Honey, Malt, Raisins
Queued post, written June 18th 2014
A random grab in the box this time. Here’s one that Auggy sent me this year. Yunnan is the type where our tastes part company a little bit. She seems to appreciate them a little more than I do, but it’s still close enough I think. It depends on how hay-like they are.
This one doesn’t strike me as very hay-like. I think it’s the sweetness in them that sometimes comes across as a haystack to me. In this one it’s more just sort of sweet-sweet with a bit of hay on the side.
I don’t really know what else to say about it… I try to analyse it a bit, but the words aren’t coming. It won’t show me its secrets. Maybe there’s a little honey note in there? I think so. Perhaps with a bit of grain? Yes, maybe. Only when I try to think about it more, all that comes to mind is that it’s a very long time since I baked a honey bread…
I think what I’m trying to get at is that this tea reminds me of my honey bread recipe.
Difficult to decipher as it may be for me, it’s still a quite good tea, even with the hay-y notes. They could have been worse, a LOT worse. I don’t really like them stronger than this, but at this level it’s nice. It’s a bit like herbs and spices in food. Too much is awful, too little is meh and bland, but just right is lovely.
This was in the sample bowl and there was enough for one cup, thanks Stephanie!
There is a lot of value in finding both what you like, and what you don’t like. Unfortunately, this one fell into the latter category. The leaf smelled ok, so I went through with it. But then as I was carrying the mug down the stairs, I kept smelling smoke and I kept thinking that I should have known better. With a name like “Caravan” it was bound to be smoky.
Then I started sipping and to drink it wasn’t as bad as to smell it, so I kept at it for a while. But around the halfway point I just had to dump it. If you like smoke though, this is probably great!
The funny thing is, Earl Grey is what got me into a different level of tea (post teabag). I realized when I picked this up out of the sample bowl that I haven’t had one in months.
I liked it, although I’m not sure I like EG as much as I used to. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t elicit any MMMMM feelings from me. It was more of a utilitarian cup. And I don’t think it’s the tea, I think it’s me and my changing tastes. Interesting!
So yesterday we went to another board game thing. It’s an every Sunday afternoon thing, and we have met some nice people there. The people who run it are a married couple and very likable. Not the weird unwashed gamer stereotype. But, there is this other couple that is just weird. At our first interaction, the guy sat down and burped super loudly, and then he spent the whole game making inappropriate noises and doing gross things. Fine to see a couple of hours a week, but not really our preferred game partners at these events.
Yesterday we had 9 people, and had to split up into 4 and 5, and we ended up playing with the weird couple. Turns out the girl isn’t that weird. But the guy was sitting next to me and my skin was just crawling the whole time. ESPECIALLY when he took his fingernail, scratched inside of his ear (the ear next to me), and then scraped that nail off on one of his lower teeth. I. Just. About. Died. So there you go.