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Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

Thanks Sil for sending me this. It’s blergamont, but must try anything that generously sent my way.
In all honesty this is the best EGish tea that I’ve had. I’m not saying that I like it, but this is the least offensive so far. I think the black base is nice and the blerg isn’t too in your face. For the sake of full disclosure I did add some sweet and quite a bit of milk hoping to mellow it out. Either that worked or this is milder than most.

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A pleasantly smokey cup with an inherent sweetness.

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This was a strange but ultimately affirming in its own way sort of weekend. Some abrupt in-law drama (will my logs ever be free of family stuff? Sorry guys), some marital tension (for sure nothing major—one of the best things about being married to R is both of us assuming there’s hardly anything that would be capital-S Serious that could come between us—but still hard to go through), some random kindness from strangers just when I needed it, surprise tea boxes from Steepsters with notes that made me a little glassy-eyed (what can I say, it’s been an emotional few days), socializing all Saturday until I literally dropped onto the bed, major spring cleaning with minor redecorating (seasonal nesting impulse), then this day never really quite got started (we, uh, didn’t actually get out of bed until 4:15pm o_O and I hadn’t eaten more than 2 slurps of leftover soup in nearly 48 hours sooo when we finally got up I proceeded to eat everything in sight…did you know Rice Krispies and banana doused in coconut-almond milk evoke delicious Thai sticky rice desserts when you’re famished?) and now we’re filing taxes and I’m trying to muster the motivation to cook like 4 stews for the week and I just can’t. Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. One of the sunniest spots, besides those wonderful notes, was of course all the beautiful, precious tea from boychik and Dexter3657. This one comes from boychik, thank you! :D I had this for my (4:30pm :b) breakfast. It is great in the way you’d expect an A&D Keemun to be—where it’s nothing way out there different, no radical departure from what one thinks of as Keemun, yet something sets it apart, just a sense that it’s “more”. More of the expected flavors amped up, but more balance and smoothness too, as always. It does have that gorgeous subtle bright tint to it in the cup Keemuns are known for, as well as that hard-to-pinpoint aspect, that almost salty, bright-dark quality. The funny thing is, the first cup I steeped 5 minutes and it was good…the second steep I lost track of time (part of that whole “this day never really even got off its feet” thing) and it bathed for something like 20 minutes. I pretty much never do that! And it was still delicious, with that salty murky quality a little sharper, more distinct, in a good way. Downed it while eating a pear and squares from the amazing chocolate bar boychik sent along with this tea—Salazon Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Crushed Organic Coffee. I opened her right up because I woke to the rude surprise of the empty packaging from a Sourdough and Olive Oil chocobar I picked up in Portland on our trip…turns out R had eaten it. Worked in my favor though, ‘cause I doubt even that could taste better than this one—it’s TRULY salty, which too many sea salt or salted caramel confections don’t deliver on (I generally like salt and starch more than sweets). There’s an entire pebbly outer coating of chunky salt. So so good. I’m beginning to join the living again, and I owe it all to tea, chocolate, and kindness.

Sil

need this!

ifjuly

yes, i think so—i tend to consider you the queen of keemun, Sil. (:

boychik

Blame it on Spring.haha I meant season. What a coincident! Glad you liked this tea. Chocolate, well I gobbled the whole bar in 2 days. I try to have 1 square a day. It’s so good. I hope everything will settle down. cleaning or laundry works great for me when I’m mad;)

ifjuly

it is so good! (good chocolate renders me an inarticulate dummy just repeating myself, haha.) chocolate and pears (or sometimes oranges) are my favorite out-of-the-blue treat.

yes, i find folding laundry and cooking—especially kneading bread—good for when i’m angry. and angry vacuuming, ha.

Sil

i just need to get through one more day without the tea going away and i’ll be able to buy it… REALLY trying to stick to no orders in March heh

boychik

Now I want pear goat cheese salad with mandarin oranges and toasted almonds. I should make it tomorrow. You know, in old times in Russia women used to clean rugs or pillows outside. Basically they had something similar to tennis racket and were beating shit out of it. I wonder what they were thinking about…

ifjuly

oh, i’ve done that! often in spring, actually. and yes, beating rugs is therapeutic for sure. “take THAT and THAT and THAT eugggh!” ha.

that salad sounds awesome! i make a similar one with pear, cucumber, and goat cheese with pistachios and romaine. mm. i love mandarin oranges.

boychik

I think I like your version of a salad. Will try and report w/ notes;)

Kat

Oh, man, I saw A&D at the Tea Festival, and they weren’t selling this yet. I would have been pretty tempted, because no shipping, and your note makes it sound amazing. I really feel that all of their teas have that ‘more’ quality you describe. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m still glowing in the limelight of the assam. I’ve also found that dealing with family always makes me crave chocolate. I have no idea if the aforementioned inlaw drama lead you to chocolate, but I thought I’d comment anyway. I’m stopping now.

boychik

@Kat, thats where i picked this tea at festival. In fact, it was even cheaper – $15. if i had a chance to taste it, i would get 2 tins. they are smaller

ifjuly

Kat, you are probably right I was subconsciously self-medicating. :b It’s funny, a couple days ago I was pondering why I’m so much calmer lately and then it occurred to me it might be because I switched lip balms a few weeks ago to something whose first ingredient is pure cocoa butter, and now every day there’s a constant low-grade aroma of chocolate on my lips and lavender on my hands (hand cream). Good therapy, har.

boychik, in case you’re ever curious, here’s the two chopped salad recipes yours reminded me of. i make them often, love them.

Pear and Cranberry Chopped Salad

Serves 4 as a light entree or 6 as a side dish.

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 ripe but firm pear cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/2 small red onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
Ground black pepper

1. Combine cucumber and 1/2 teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil and vinegar together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber, bell pepper, pear, onion, and cranberries; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.

3. Add romaine, blue cheese, and pistachios; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

/

Radish and Orange Chopped Salad

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are available at most supermarkets and natural food stores. Don’t use an overripe avocado, which will break down and make the salad gluey.

Serves 4 as a light entree or 6 as a side dish.

1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
10 radishes , halved and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 oranges , peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, and drained (about 1 cup)
1 ripe but still firm avocado , pitted, skinned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see note)
1/2 small red onion , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves , roughly chopped
1 romaine heart , washed, dried, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 ounces Manchego cheese , shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup unsalted pepitas , toasted (see note)
Ground black pepper

1. Combine cucumber and ½ teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil, lime juice, and garlic together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber, radishes, oranges, avocado, onion, and cilantro; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.

3. Add lettuce, cheese, and pepitas; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

mm salad! i need to make yours soon.

boychik

I’m drooling already. I saved it to my recipes:)

Kat

Both those salads look amazing! Totally stupid, but I love salad recipes, because I actually eat a lot of salad, and I like recipes to let me know how I can diversify my repertoire, so to speak.

And I totally self medicate with chocolate, and I have been doing so recently, so I read that and was like— I totally do that! I love cocoa butter, too. It smells universally good to me. I seem to only like chocolate when I’m stressed, but I drift towards it very often.

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87

Picked this up straight from Erik @ A&D’s booth at Coffee & Tea Festival NYC!

Every time I drink this, I like it more and more. This is, I believe, the only keemun tea I own and I gotta say, I’m really loving it. It’s bold and black but not overly abrasive. I’ve enjoyed it during dinner several nights this past week – it paired well with both chicken and pork dishes. Just a really solid straight tea.

Preparation
3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I’m a Keemun girl. I have really been looking forward to this tea. The mailman handed me the package and I brought it straight in to the kitchen and have my first pot steeping right now.

The dry leaf is black/brown, tiny curled leaves. I agree with boychik – reminds me of little lashes.

The liquor is a reddish amber. Slighty smoky and unmistakable Kemmun aroma. First sip: slight smoke, definite Keemun flavor. Mid-range malt with a little astringency on the back edges of my tongue. And although it would never have occurred to me to say it tasted a little of salt, I see where boychik gets that.

It is a nice Keemun. I generally prefer my Keemuns just a tad maltier and a wee bit fuller-bodied. This won’t be my forever Keemun but it is very, very nice.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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85

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Shameless plea for pity and attention:

My wife has been sick all week. This morning I got up with a pounding head, hurting ears, and I’m dizzy. Thought getting something in my system might help. Downed a glass of milk. Not a good idea. So now my stomach is rumbling. Drank grape juice for the vitamin C but realized my taster is on the fritz. So I brewed a cup of this. Even if it has only half the flavor it would on any other day, it is still good and comforting. I’m supposed to play at church in the morning. They may just be on their own.

Stay well my friends.

K S

Well poo. I just realized I had never reviewed this one before. Looks like I should have looked before I brewed.

Sil

oh no! i hope you feel better soon!

caile

I hope you feel better soon. Best to stay home and rest if you can.

boychik

If you have a chance to get tested for flu , tamiflu really helps but you should start taking it like 24 hrs you got symptoms. My daughter just got better after almost 2 wks of flu. All the rest of us were on tamiflu
Hope you feel better soon

Cheri

I second the flu test recommendation and Tamiflu. When I had H1N1, they have it to me because I’m asthmatic. I Was sick for only a few days.

Lala

Hope you feel better soon!

Suziqzer

Hope you feel better soon & can make church in the morning… I understand that frustration since I sing on occasion.

keychange

Oh no! lots of rest and liquid for you!

Kaylee

Aww, feel better! Both of you!

K S

Thanks all. My stomach has calmed down. As you can tell I become a big baby when I get a cold – which is not often.

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78

BAAAAAAAANNNNNNG ouuuuchhhhh ! How strong ! I feel like I am begining a boxe match with Mohamad Ali. I’m almost K.O
How malty ! I am baffled.
It is a very interesting tea : smocky for sure and I get both notes of fruits and tobacco.
Surprising.
For my taste it’s too strong with 4 minutes steeping, I need to retry with less because I had a bitterness I don’t appreciate.
Thank you very much Dexter3657 for sharing.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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86

Thanks, Pyroxy, for sending me a surprise sample of this tea! I’ve really wanted to try Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, but they only sell such large quantities. When I smelled the dry leaves and first tasted the tea, I was ambivalent about it. It didn’t seem particularly special or gross or anything. But as I kept on sipping, I really started liking it. It reminds me of my beloved English breakfast teas. As the cup cooled and I got to the bottom of it, I was suddenly hit by a smoky taste that really helped distinguish this tea. It is a bit astringent, but not bitter.

Resteeping: This time around, the tea has a slightly less boldness to it, but I can really taste the smokiness coming out. Still astringent, but not too bad.

Overall, I am enjoying this tea, but not enough to buy 4 oz at a time. I guess I don’t even have the option anyway because I just checked their site and it doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Ah, the joys of holiday teas.

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Uh…is Steepster acting weird for anyone besides me? I’ve started to log this twice now, & both times in the middle of typing the screen suddenly shifted back to my review of Lord Petersham. Whatever…

So I actually drank this yesterday in commemoration of ordering a tin of A & D’s new tea, Spring. This Assam blend is always reliable for it malty taste & bold kick in the butt!

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83

I am on a mission today. My goal is to get at minimum 10 sipdowns, though 20 would be preferable since i suspect i won’t have much time for sipdowns tomorrow with all that’s going on. Massage, board games! i suspect i’ll be out of the house all day :) However, i may use it as an excuse to bring my timolino and brew up a cup in it while playing games heh. This one is now officially out of my cupboard, though i suspect that it will be back sometime in April as I need to place a damn fine tea order ASAP! :) Thanks for letting me get the chance to try this one out terri!

Terri HarpLady

Massage? Yes, please, I am overdue!
Now that my taxes are done I get to start on the rewards Ms Theresa promises me:
- starting my garden (was looking in the basement for my seed collection, I know I have some seeds left from last year….somewhere)
- maybe a small tea order from somewhere once my tax return comes…although looking around at my tea collection, I probably should just set some money aside for a later order (but I did order the Keemun from A & D)
- getting a massage, for sure!!!
- and and and….little terri can be very demanding, she likes rewards!
:D

Sil

haha yeah massage tomorrow, board games in the afternoon and then next week i’m getting my hair cut.

Sil

well…it should be still below my chin…but i’m hoping for above the shoulder? which Ian says is short..but i still think of as long since my hair grows fast lol

Cavocorax

That sounds awesome! I have massage coverage through York, but I never used it. (stupid, stupid!) I hope you enjoy!
And yay, board games! I would bring tea with me, cuz that’s just how I roll.

Sil

cavo..oh i bring tea with me.. but it’s MUCH slower drinking than if i’m home with my kettle :)

CHAroma

OMG TAXES!! I completely forgot! I better get on that…

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89

Mmm this tea. Thick, malty, dark, a bit smoky..bold, warming, I wish I had more of it. It’s a major blizzarding mess here (again) and the roads were absolutely horrendous this morning…not looking forward to driving home after my course tonight. Anyways, this tea is perfect for a busy, snowy day at work.

Oh, and I slightly went over to the dark side – my bf’s mom made some freshly ground decaf Sbucks coffee in a french press this morning, bold roast..I couldn’t pass up a sample of it. And now I’ve been craving coffee all day lol, I haven’t had it in probably a year and a half! Haha, this tea, or the tiny bit left in my mug, will have to suffice. Then onto more black teas. Darn wintery weather, makes me crave rich teas and caffeine it seems! See previous notes on this tea :)

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85

Last cup of this! I’m still not sure if i want to pick up a tin of this. On one hand it’s a really nice cup of tea – smooth, comforting, unobtrusive. On the other hand, there are cups i’ve had that were more flavourful and more of a WOW cup of tea. But sometimes all you want is a good cup of relaxing tea that doesn’t demand your attention. hmmmm

Dexter3657

I agree – I’m on the fence about this one too….

Cavocorax

I realize this shows how completely shallow I am, but if I liked the design on the tin more, it would be an easier choice…

Sil

see i like the horse head…something about it appeals to my ridiculous self

Terri HarpLady

And the little plastic horse head finger puppet they sent is my tea mascot, at least for now, LOL

Terri HarpLady

BTW, I just looked & “Spring Keemun” is officially on the the Damn Fine Tea site…just thought you’d like to know!

Terri HarpLady

AND I ordered it!

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83

this tea makes me happy. unresponsive companies on FB does not. If you’re going to have a presence on social media…that means you need to have a presence/respond to ppl. ESPECIALLY if there are questions on your FB and then you come back to your page, make a post, update pics..that means ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THERE WHILE YOU’RE AT IT! sheesh….

Cavocorax

Ha. I logged on to see if I could see your question, but I didn’t. Maybe I was looking at the wrong company. :P

Sil

haha there are a few companies out there that this drives me nuts over.

Cavocorax

Well it’s a valid complaint. You’re either there, or you’re not. And if you’re not,you’re actually making your company look worse than the advertising helps…

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Hi Sil! What was your question? I can’t seem to find it in our Facebook Machine. I’m over 40 so that might be the issue. ; )

Sil

haha sorry for the confusion (damn fine tea) you guys have been awesome….i was just mindlessly ranting about other companies :)

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Whew! I was going to go buy a new computer. “The Facebook in this one is broken.” ; )

Sil

hahaha i’m super excited about the new keemun. i think i have 4-5 tins i want to buy asap!

Cavocorax

Me too! Too bad you guys weren’t in Canada!
(I had to laugh at the facebook comment. You guys are great.)

Sil

oh for a free shipping promo to canada ‘cause we’re awesome haha

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92

Tea of the morning and exactly what I need today. This is strong, rich, steady, and simple. Oh, and good. Did I mention this is really, really good?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

another of my morning teas and delicious at that! I WILL be ordering some of this provided they didn’t magically sell out at the festival this past weekend as their website hasn’t been updated yet.

Cavocorax

It still says 57… I don’t think it’s een updated..

Please, please have a sale soooon. (I’m slightly tempted by ordering 4 tins too)

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