Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
And my last Damn Fine Tea from Cavo. I figured since I just have the one left to try, might as well make it now since I’m into drinking tea right now.
This has a sweet, slightly sharp sort of smell to it. Not sharp like cutting but sharp like clean and fresh and THERE….if that makes any sense. >>
Taste wise I get a light sweet, but not in a sugar way, sort of sweetness. And a good bit of earthiness. And something kinda peppery-ish/spicy almost just at the end. No bitterness, though there’s definitely an astringency with each sip, but it’s pretty tolerable right now.
Again, not anything that makes me go ‘OMG I NEED THIS!’, but I’m glad that I gave it a try since it’s still pretty good. Just not a tea that I’d necessarily want to own full time.
Non tea related note – If anyone actually reads my silly notes and is looking to try something new musically I just listened to a band called Caravan Palace. They’re Electronica Swing and it’s pretty dang good. Lol!
This is the video that started me on the band – http://youtu.be/fBGSJ3sbivI
So another swap from Cavocorax and even though it’s pretty dang hot outside, I really wanted a cup of tea. And nothing sweet or flavored, so I grabbed this.
I get a little bit of smoke, a little bit of malt and just a smidge of astringency, which all in all isn’t too bad. It’s just got a bit woody and is a tad bitter on the back of the sip, but overall I like it. Next time I make it I think I’ll try a bit shorter of a steep to see if that makes a difference with the bitterness.
I’m not sure if I like it 4.4 ounces worth, but I’ll be finishing the rest of the swap I got and maybe consider ordering it one day if the mood (and the money) strikes me. XD
I have been enjoying this tea since early 2013, part of the Damn Fine Three-Pack, which I have purchased again early this year.
The leaves are handsomely dark, with a powerfully smokey yet subtly fresh scent. The aesthetics of the dry leaves coincide nicely with the hard rocker personality.
The wet leaves give a nice pu-erh aroma, very strong but not overpowering smokey scent. The brew is also very much pu-erh, with very deep and dark reds, and a very earthy aroma.
As powerfully smokey as it seems, the flavors are not overpowered. Giving mainly sweet and caramel flavors, there are faint and very subtle earthy textures underneath, and very little astringency. It could probably benefit more to make stronger with more leaves, but light makes for a great early afternoon cup.
With subtle detailing and clever traits to accommodate it’s assigned personality, this is indeed a damn fine tea.
This tea is beautiful. It smells nicely sweet and slightly smokey. Smells delicious. The dry tea leaves are small and curly and uniform. It actually hurts to take the first scoop out of the tin because it feels like I am crushing the leaves. Gives a new meaning to agony of the leaves :)
The tea brews up really nice, and also really strong. It agains have an excellent balance of sweet and slightly smokey keemun. It is very bold and malty. Just a slight dryness in the aftertaste but it is not astringent or bitter.
For some reason, I do not associate keemun with spring. This keemun is very fresh but the boldness and maltiness reminds me more of a late fall or winter. But I don’t care, it is delicious.
Finally reviewing this tea.
This one is delicious, as with all other A&D blends I have tried.
It is a beautifully thick and malty Yunnan. I laughed when I read some of the descriptors that steepsterites had given this tea. Now I totally do not get the cannabis flavour. But I do get the autumn leaf pile. Not in a bad way but the smell of the tea is kind of like the sweet scent of drying leaves in the autumn. There is a very slight dry vegetal flavour to this tea which I would attribute with dry and crumbly leaves. I also feel like a get a hint of sweet potatoe flavour, more potatoe than sweet though.
I feel like I should hoard and savour this tea but not sure if it will last that long now that I have started drinking it.
Happy Canada Day!
I started this morning with a taste test of three A&D tea samples that the most excellent Cavocorax sent me :)
They’re having a free shipping sale today so I knew the time had come to make my decision. I didn’t want to go spend crazy at $20 a pop (and over 4 oz each!!) so I just chose 2 teas to purchase.
I thought originally that I wanted to buy Spring, but ultimately I went with this one, which I found really flavourful and different from other teas that I own, (I have no darjeelings at this point) and the Tiger Assam, which makes for an EXCELLENT breakfast tea with milk in it. I know I will get good use out of that one. Spring is tasty, but when I drank it side by side with the other two, it wasn’t QUITE as flavourful, plus there’s the quantity (less tea for the same price). So it didn’t make the cut!
So glad I got to try these first! Or else I wouldn’t have known what to get.
Thanks again, Cavo!!
(As an aside, my husband got home when I was in the middle of this and he was all like -
“are you SERIOUSLY drinking two teas at once? Is that what you’re doing now?”I was like “No, I’m drinking THREE at once, you missed a cup. I’m doing a taste test, how else would I compare them all!?”
He just doesn’t get it!
But he did bring me a breakfast sandwich and a coffee from Tim Hortons, I’m not really a TH Coffee kind of girl (don’t tell anyone around here or I will get kicked out of the Maritimes for that blasphemy), but in the spirit of Canada Day, I drank it :)
Right now I’m riding a wave of 3 black teas and one big coffee!)
Today’s tea two, or the second tea leaf today. Again, I have been enjoying this tea for quite some time, unsure of why I haven’t reviewed it until now.
The leaves have an extremely subtle scent, a pleasingly sweet smokey freshness. They are dark and curled, seemingly dusty and manly presented; I would say the equivalence of a nicely trimmed beard.
Steeping the leaves gives a less subtle and more pleasing sweet malty aroma, the liquor very dark and very rich. This is, indeed, a modern tea.
The flavors are lightly malty, and lightly sweet. The smokiness does return within a full body. There is no astringency, just simply very well rounded.
This tea is perfect to enjoy in the late mornings or early afternoons, extremely pleasing with no surprises.
Thank you for the sample boychik
This is not my favorite Damn Fine tea, but I’ve loved SO MANY of them so far that this is still a very good tea in my book. Just not knocking my socks off the way the others did. It is smooth and somewhat complex, but lacks any malty or fruity notes to draw me in ;)
I am considering ordering a tin of the Spring Keemun before it is gone. I finished my sample of that one from boychik on my vacation and I miss it already!
I have been enjoying this tea predominantly as a morning drink; although I’ve tried it for afternoons, it doesn’t feel right to drink any time after 11:30 AM.
The dry leaves are beautifully curled and richly dark, impeccably arranged in its relatively tiny tin. The presentation alone makes purchasing this tea worth it. The dry scent gives little; more subtle fresh earthy notes, appropriate as a spring crop.
Steeping brings out it’s very rich colors and aromas, lessening the subtle earthy tones for a more chocolate body with a hint of smoke beneath the surface. There is a surprising sweetness to it, which I did not initially detect until taking the aromas in a second and third time, as well as a light fruitiness.
The liquor, although very deeply red/copper, gives a light caramel aroma and nothing else. The flavor though, is very smooth and very fruity with a thick cocoa body. There is a slight astringency, but no bitterness.
As far as malty teas go, this beautiful tea may be the best I’ve had so far. Expectedly thick, but surprisingly subtle and delicate.
Thank you for the sample Stephanie! We picked this up from DFT at the Coffee & Tea Festival in NYC.
The dried leaves remind me of my childhood, bringing me back to breakfasts filled with bowls of Fruit Loops cereal.
The scent of the brewed tea is more mild with citrus up front and mineral at the end. This tea is perfectly smooth and has absolutely no astringency to it. By far one of the best earl grey teas I’ve had.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Fruity, Jasmine, Mineral
It’s tin time!!
Today, I come prepare to organize the rest of my stash. I have a bunch of empty tins ready to be filled with delicious teas. Teas that are “tin worthy”, ya know what I mean…
In order to get the strength I need to proceed with the inevitable (the purge, yes, there will be some tea ditching) I chose a strong tea of the morning. This is from the Terri box.
Oh, don’t I love my manly strong teas…
This will slap you out of a coma! It’s bright, astringent but not bitter, full bodied and super tasty.
I drink it “au naturel” but I’m sure it would sustain milk and sugar really well if that is your preference.
This is not fancy, it’s blue collar tea, it knows it’s got a job to do, and it does it very well.
Thank you so much Terri Harplady for giving me the chance to try those Damn Fine Teas!
From the Unflavored TTB.
I’m catching up on reviews since I’ve had trouble linking to steepster the last few days. The nose is full of rich chocolate, with a touch of smoke underneath. The taste is rich and chocolaty, mixed with a leafy flavor. Long, luscious finish. I’m a big fan of Keemun and this is just the kind of tea I love. As I got further into the cup, the finish turned slightly bitter. Still good, but perhaps a bit short of great. 2nd steep good but simpler. 3rd weak. A damn fine tea.
Queued post, written May 17th 2014
Auggy shared this with me in the yearly care package. It’s not yearly by design, btw. That’s just how long it happens to take collecting good things. The care package is largely about sharing really good and/or interesting things. Mine to her is nearly ready I think.
This year, due to a number of things, the care package is a little different because I suspect it contains things that were ‘cleaned out’ because she can no longer have them. There are certainly a couple of head-scratchers in here. :)
Anyway, there is also some really good stuff, this one included. Auggy pretty much keeps me in A&D as she has shared samples of most of it with me. I can purchase this myself, the shipping being below my limit, but the times I’ve done it it has been a bit of a hassle because their site wouldn’t accept my foreign address, so I had to go the email and paypal route. It’s possible, obviously, I did it with Joseph Wesley recently and I did it with Shang Tea a few years ago as well, but it feels like such a hassle. Good thing I’ve got Auggy to show me what I would otherwise be missing then.
I had to choose a tea for the morning and I couldn’t remember what was in this one, but it was A&D and so therefore couldn’t be completely off the mark.
It smells… red. That’s all I can really say about it. It smells red, and I can’t think of any other words. Perhaps a bit wood-y? Maybe with a smidge of honey? I’m not certain at all. It just smells red. Hello synesthesia! Haven’t seen you around in a while. Why is it only sometimes? Why is it only certain smells and flavours? You’d think it would be all the time, wouldn’t you? Perhaps I haven’t actually got it really, and the colour/shape/gender thing is something that just steps in to hide the fact that my imagination is failing me?
I think there’s Darjeeling in this. Or a high grown Ceylon. It tastes strongly Darj-y with the floralness and the grass and the slightly sour aftertaste. The latter there is tempered by whatever else is in there. Something stronger and maltier. Maybe Assam and/or Keemun. It’s not very grainy so I’m leaning more towards Assam. I can even catch a bit of cardboard-y notes in it as well. That’s usually an Assam tell-tale. I just really think there’s a third thing in here as well. The more I think about it the less I think it’s Keemun. I think we’re in Ceylon territory here. A mid- or low-grown one. Unfortunately when people add Ceylon tea to something, though, they don’t bother stating which area it’s from. I wish they would. Just look at all my Project Ceylon posts, the differences are HUGE between high-, mid- and low-grown and Sri Lanka produces tea at all three altitude ranges. Anyway, Darj, Assam and Ceylon is my guess.
I should have liked it better without the Darjeeling, but that’s hardly news. I find it quite tolerable in this blend, though, because the other teas mute the things I dislike about Darjeeling somewhat. It’s a bit like the Afternoon Blend from Jeeves and Jericho, which I recall as being very similar to this one. I can happily drink a tin, but then I don’t need to buy another afterwards.
We got two steeps out of this one, the second steep being just as strong as the first one. That’s unusual for Indian/Ceylon teas in my experience.
Swap from Cavocorax.
Another tea I couldn’t resist trying right now. Lol.
The leaves are so cute. Curly and bunchy looking. No scent that I could figure but that’s due to the bag and me not feeling like dumping this into a bowl to sniff it.
1.5tsp/12oz @ 210*/5min – I was afraid that brewing it so long would kill it since I’ve never really let first brews go this long (too many killed cups this way), but that’s what Cavo put as a recommendation on the package, so I figure I might as well try it. Lol.
Brewed this has a fruity, smoky, ‘something’ sort of smell. I’m not really sure what that ‘something’ is honestly. It’s not woody, or spicy, or earthy, or malty. It’s just…rrgh. Hard to describe, or rather I don’t know the right word. Lol.
Taste wise this is smooth and slightly fruity and just a hint smokey. And slightly sweet, which is a surprise. It’s not a sugar sort of sweet. Just a nice subtle gentle sort of sweet. I could totally drink this without having to add any sugar or anything.
Also very very little astringency, almost not enough to mention, but I figure I should since it is (vaguely) there.
It’s very good. Barring finding another (better) keemun I’d totally want to keep this in my cupboard. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. /flops/ XD
Edit: Did a second steep 6min @ 210* – Not as good as the first. Kinda weak and has that woody/sharp sort of taste that I associate with leaves that have already given their best. It’s drinkable, but I’m still probly gonna dump it in favor of one of the other teas I set out to drink today. Lol.
Swap from Cavocorax.
So even though I have lots of other stuff I should be trying first, I’ve wanted to try this one too much to resist now that I have some in my stash.
Can’t comment on the dry smell since all I was getting was the scents that were clinging to the plastic bag.
I wasn’t sure how much I should use so I did my usual 1.5 tsp for my 12oz cup.
Sipping it I get an almost bitter-ish taste that’s not bitter persay, but similar. Sharp and woodsy. Maybe a bit spicy. With an astringency that’s there and vaguely unpleasant, but not enough to bother me overly much. Definitely tiger-ish. Lol!
Maybe my palate just isn’t appreciative of Assams since, well, I’m kinda not blown away by this. It’s a nice tea to be sure, but I’m thinking it’s just not my thing. I have a feeling that Assams are not my thing since I’ve never really fallen head over heels for any of the ones I’ve tried. They’re just alright, and I’d drink one if that’s all that was there, but I’d likely reach for something else given the option.
Thanks so much to Cavo for sending me this. I’m glad I was able to try it instead of having to buy a whole 4.4oz container of it then ending up not liking it as much. Though I’m sure there’s plenty of people here who would take it off my hands. XD
Edit: Did a second steep at 5min/approx 10oz water. It was alright. Generally more mellow than the first brew. Definitely not as bitey. I almost like this one better than the first brew. Lol!
Butiki Taste Testing Traveling Tea Box – Tea #3
I haven’t been writing as many tasting notes as I’ve been sipping a ton of unnamed things from the Butiki teabox that I can’t write tasting notes for. Many good teas there! I’m planning on mailing the teabox on Wednesday. For a name like ‘tiger’, this one ain’t that tough. This one isn’t biting. It’s very good tea, nice flavor, but sometimes I want my assam stronger. The leaves are very fresh tasting somehow. It is a very nice breakfast tea though. Perfect with pancakes. The second steep I accidentally steeped for over ten minutes and it tasted exactly like the first cup. I love that it doesn’t get that oversteeped leaves taste, but this one is just a kitten. I’d stock this in my cupboard to fit in the ‘light assam’ category.
Steep #1 // few minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 10+ minutes (accidentally)
(From the Unflavored Traveling Tea Box)
I actually had this one last night but was too tired to type up my tasting note.
If this tea is anything, it’s smooth. It is also fairly sweet. Lots of fruity notes as well as some caramel and a hint of cocoa. Because the smokey notes are dialed back so much I had to remind myself that this is a Keemun. It’s very different from what I’m used to, but sometimes different can be a good thing.
(From the UTTB.)
I don’t have any experience with Keemuns so I don’t have a point of reference for this one. It’s assertive on the front end, on the lighter side of malty, and it has a slight earthy quality about it. Light/medium bodied and smooth. There are some fruity floral undertones that are subtle, affecting the way the tea reads as a color to me. Bright reddish orange maybe? Much like the color of the tea liquid. It’s drying in a pleasant way that makes my mouth water. A touch of smoke and wood. There’s a thick, caramel sweet potato aftertaste that balances the other flavors nicely. The flavor is thick but the texture is not. It still maintains a bright cheerfulness. It’s quite nice.
New goal: find the perfect Keemun for me!
Gosh I need more breakfast teas. My cupboard is severely lacking. ;)
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
The tea smells fabulous with sweet potato,cocoa, the brighter tones of malt and the spicy tones of gardenia, sharper tasting sweet berries and a touch of honey.
The dry leaf is mostly chocolate brown broken leaves with scattered golden tips
Once brewed it yields a red toned broth
There is a light flavour at first that is slightly vegetal with the bitter tones of malt, but this quickly dissapears and you get the heavier tones of malt, cocoa, and gardenia, that then sweeten into fruit, honey and cocoa notes. As it cools sweet potato is present in the first notes as well as a citrus note, and a hint of floral. Allowed to cool further the fruit notes come to the forefront with the sweet potato and the berry notes are more distinct.
The tea resteeps quite well, with sweet potato, citrus and malt notes more apparent.
I brewed this tea at around 92°C for three minutes and there is a mild astringency and a cooling feeling at the top of the mouth. There seems to be more caffeine in this one than Tiger Assam as I feel it buzzing in my upper arms. I am quite enjoying this mix of floral spice, fruit, cocoa and bitter tones. I might actually prefer it to Tiger Assam.
Thanks Sil this was a perfect first cup for today!
Yesterday, I made a pot of this for the hubs and I. I had some left in the pot when we were done, so I sweetened it and put it in the fridge. Pulled it out, poured it over ice, and added some lime juice.
It’s really good this way. I wish I had some fresh mint or sage to add to it, I think that would be good.