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Bitter, Dark Wood, Dried Fruit, Malt, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Chocolate, Cocoa, Nutty, Baked Bread, Floral, Honey, Raisins, Caramel, Fruity, Sweet Potatoes, Wood, Earth, Flowers, Grapes, Orchids, Apricot, Cream
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Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 10 oz / 289 ml

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54 Tasting Notes View all

From Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

We’ve noticed spring is struggling to get off the ground this year in our little corner of the USA. March came in like a lion but its fur got stuck to the permafrost so the lion continues to sit outside our door, calmly licking its paws and giving us the stare down. Fine. We’ll stare right back. Should be no problem as long as our supply of this great Keemun holds out. Good thing we have 150 2.5 ounce tins of the… Wait. We only have 150 tins? Whose idea was that?

Despite a strong desire to keep all these tins of Spring Keemun for ourselves, we offer them to you. This is a spring crop of Keemun Xiang Luo (Fragrant Spirals), so while this tea has all the usual, unmistakable tawny richness of Keemun, it is more delicate than you might expect. Lion and lamb, all at once. The leaves are so beautiful — elegant, dark, and shiny — it’s almost a shame to pour water on them! When you do, make sure the water is boiling hot and allow it to steep for at least 5 minutes. Or longer. This is a very patient tea.

About Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea View company

Andrews & Dunham knows that nothing beats a perfect cup of tea, and a great tea needs no explanation. We love the romance of tea. We love that tea might just be the healthiest thing you’ll ever drink. But if the tea you’re drinking doesn’t taste fantastic, you’re missing out. Only a few teas meet our mysterious, rigorous standards and we’re proud to offer them to you. We’re always looking for that perfect cup, so you don’t have to.

54 Tasting Notes

124 tasting notes

This morning, courtesy of Terri HarpLady, I’m very pleased to review Spring Keemun by Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, Western style: 6 oz. / 1 tsp (2.1g) / 212*F / 5 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Leaf: Thin twisted chocolate-brown curly leaves
Fragrance: Mild Keemun
Liquor: Clear, dark amber
Aroma: Sweet Potatoes, Cocoa
Flavor: Sweet Potatoes, Cocoa

5-min: A very smooth, rich, tea with a honey-like sweetness and strong notes of sweet potatoes and cocoa. This flavor combination reminded me of sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie. There was no smoky aroma or flavor. There was zero bitterness or astringency.

6-min: A very smooth, rich, tea with a honey-like sweetness and deeper more pronounced notes of cocoa over the sweet potatoes. There was zero bitterness or astringency. I prefer the 5-min. infusion.

7-min: Moderately full body
8-min: Smooth, rich, fairly sweet and nearly as full-bodied as the initial steep.

Impression: A very smooth, rich, sweet and unique cup of Keemun. It reminded me more of a Yunnan such as Dian Hong. A very good choice for afternoon tea.

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for sending us this gracious sample.

RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

It didn’t taste like a kemmun to me either. I liked it fine, but I didn’t LOVE it. And I agree – more of an afternoon tea.

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184 tasting notes

This is a lighter Keemun that “the usual suspects” that hold the depth of “Middle Earth” in their mouthful. Named appropriately, Spring Keemun by Andrews & Dunham is light but full of flavor, for those who are patient with steeping. This is a Keemun Xiang Luo (Fragrant Spirals) and when I opened the tin, it looked like tiny little elves had been working away on a piece of black wood on a lathe all night long and put the little twirly shavings in this tin….it looks magical! There is a mild smell of the leaves in the tin, but I didn’t linger there, because I wanted TEA!! Into the cup the wee millings go!

Everything about this tea says Spring. The gentleness of the notes and color and how it feels on my tongue. The smell is earthy, but not middle-earthy. More like your neighbor is digging up their little veg garden on a breezy day. There’s a light baking bread note, a wee bit of sweet potato skin that wafts by, as well as a weensie floral note to top it all off.
That’s all I can write, cuz suddenly I looked in my cup and all my tea is gone. I’m glad it’s just the beginning of spring, because I have the tea to match the season. RAH!

Oh, this is a limited edition (aren’t most teas?) and they have a ticker of how many tins are left on their website….as of this morning there were 57 left of 150. I tweeted this company and asked if there were any coupons and they sent me a code to use for free shipping. So if you’re thinking of ordering for the first time from them, tweet them at @damnfinetea… it’s worth it and they are super responsive. Gotta love a company like that! It’s exactly what creates loyalty from me!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Flowers, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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1774 tasting notes

Not sure if I’m grumpy or what, but I don’t feel like talking about tea today. Too bad because this one is great. SO great. I’ll just sip it in silence.

(unrelated: I’m at home today and after cleaning the house all morning, I’m now relaxing in a sundress because I want to enjoy spring, and sweat pants, because i’m cold!)


Lol! Love the combination!

Terri HarpLady

That’s my kind of wardrobe :)


hehe. It’s so comfy. :D


In all honesty, your outfit combo is making me want to wear a dress today, but I’d probably pair it with wooly socks, a scarf, and maybe a toque. ;)

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6489 tasting notes

this was my morning tea today, though it’s not exactly this tea. A few of us are experimenting with vanilla bean and this was a trial to see how the blending is coming along. so far so good, it’s not nearly as vanilla-y as i want it to be but it it IS really tastey. the vanilla adding a little creaminess to this base. I’ll have to let is sit a little longer and maybe add a bit of vanilla powder as well, see if that helps make it a richer taste. so far though, not too shabby!


Interesting! I’m drinking this one right now, but no vanilla. :| Maybe I’ll go to bulk barn and grab some!


i’ll let you try some of mine…i made a cups worth so i’d have a few cups to play with. Esp since i still have an entire tin i haven’t opened yet of the spring keemun. Figured if i LOVED it as a base, i’d have more to play with heh


I liked the vanilla flavor/strength that I got but not the base. Will have to play with others…


I don’t think this is as easy as just tossing some vanilla into any black tea….


I’ll report on the one that i did with LB later too. I added a little vanilla powder to that from the get go as well…so two different types of vanilla in essence

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1111 tasting notes

This tea sample is courtesy of boychik who is so lovely and generous with me :)

I guess I’m continuing with my theme of the day which is TOO MUCH CAFFEINE. I had some matcha for breakfast and didn’t log it, a green tea mid morning, and then some Turkish coffee at lunchtime. Add some keemun to all this and I’m WAY over caffeinated for the day! heh

This is my first “Damn Fine” tea (I think?) and it is damn fine, indeed! Very complex, rich, full bodied and malty yet also has some floral notes on top. I’m not really getting any smoke from it, but I’m fine with that! YUM

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I should send you samples of others A&D. It is Damn Fine Tea!

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329 tasting notes

Finally brewed up some of this after having it my cupboard for over a week. I have been having some heartburn so I’ve been cutting out the caffeine for a bit. Finally feeling up to brewing up a pot.

This is a lovely, gentle keemun. Not as smokey as the keemuns I get from Adagio, but it’s a charming drink for a lazy morning.

I prepared it as a latte with almond milk and stevia.

It’s a relaxing cup, and took my mind off some big changes that are coming my way and inducing stress. :) Good changes (hopefully) but that doesn’t make them any less stressful.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML
Terri HarpLady

My guts have been acidic for about a week, about the same time the trees started pollinating here. I checked my journal, & I had the same problem a year ago. I guess if I’m breathing it, I’m also swallowing it. :(


That’s what I have been suspecting too. I noticed I have been feeling better when remembering to take my allergy pill. Silly trees and their yearly orgy.

Terri HarpLady

I suspected it last year too. With all my food allergies & such, a part of me starts thinking “what did I eat?”, but I have been really ‘good’ lately, & I can’t think of anything. Same as last year.


I think what happens to me is that when I sleep, my sinuses are draining down to my stomach and starting off a chain reaction. I also have been eating more gluten-y stuff than works for me. I don’t think I’ve got a full fledged gluten allergy, but it definitely affects me. I need to get back on my personal diet bandwagon, and stop falling off so frequently!

Terri HarpLady

I miss bread so much…sigh…gluten debilitates me :(
I miss milk, cheese (oh cheese…sigh…)…
I miss grains & legumes…
But I don’t miss autoimmune problems & feeling like crap.
Now if I can just get rid of the airborn stuff, I’d be golden!

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552 tasting notes

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minutes 30 seconds.

At a longer steep, this Keemun develops more of the classic Keemun oak and toast and distant smoke, even a faint scent like bergamot, while remaining delicate and sweet. Some cream and honey. Copper liquor. I think I prefer it as 5 minutes, but it’s good to know this one forgives a longer steep. A lovely tea. I’ve got a second tin on the way, and I shall be sorry when it’s gone.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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12 tasting notes

Ha! I accidentally steeped this for 12 minutes, and it still tasted amazing. Any other tea on my shelf would taste bitter and horrible after such an over-steeping. WINNER.


Still great — most teas become half-hearted by the third steeping, but not this one.

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3186 tasting notes

I’m drinking this again, even though I drank it a few days ago, because:
1 – It is quite tasty, & seemed like the perfect cup for this rainy day.
2 – I wanted to polish off the sample Boychik sent to me! This doesn’t qualify as a sipdown, because I have an entire tin of this in my cupboard, but at least it is a sample sipdown, so that’s one less baggie sitting around, right?


Sample sipdowns are like exciting mini accomplishments so congratulations!


totally counts :)

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613 tasting notes

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.


need this!


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


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;)


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.


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


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…


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.


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


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.


@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


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.


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


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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