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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Michelle Otter
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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109 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Backlogging. 11 days ago. Wednesday morning. I've been reading about people blending two teas to create the smokey cowboy earl grey. But I've put off trying it even though I was intrigued. I did...” Read full tasting note
    82
    chrine 545 tasting notes
  • “Still watering the garden. I planted 5 different varieties of Sweet Potatoes this year. Some of them are showing great signed on productivity! Others don't appear to be all that robust. No matter,...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 2975 tasting notes
  • “Since Steepster is featuring Andrews & Dunham today, I thought maybe it was time for yet another debut for me. Because their Caravan is the third of the smokies that *Auggy* shared with me. I can't...” Read full tasting note
    96
    Angrboda 1282 tasting notes
  • “I'm seriously in love with smoky teas. No, correction: I'm seriously in lust with them. It's a physical craving. None of this emotional, touchy feely crap. We're talking pure, visceral...” Read full tasting note
    93
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes

From Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

If even half of the stories are true, let it be a testament to the durability of rock musicians that Carävan lasted as long as they did. With a ticket paid in full by the charms of singer and guitarist Ian Black, Carävan rode the mind-numbing rhythms of Phil Steep (bass) and Gryph “Smoke” Upley (drums) down dark highways for four years. Black’s bizarre and tragic death in 1979 put the brakes on this trio’s wild ride. The surviving band members and their music have since been plagued by personal, legal and (by some accounts) supernatural misfortune to such an extent that the survival of their master recordings is a remarkable feat in itself. What remains today is a body of work that reveals a surprising sweetness, albeit richly draped in the fiery brimstone of Carävan’s legendary hard-rocking sound.

Carävan is a smoky blend of black teas. Steep in boiling water for four minutes — more if you can stand it. It is best enjoyed in an 11-ounce mug.

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.

109 Tasting Notes

82
545 tasting notes

Backlogging. 11 days ago. Wednesday morning.

I’ve been reading about people blending two teas to create the smokey cowboy earl grey. But I’ve put off trying it even though I was intrigued. I did this as a half and half with Harney’s Earl Grey and this tea was all I could taste. The resteep was odd and not all that enjoyable.

2nd steep: 6 mins

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Tea Sipper

Oh a smokey Earl Grey! Sounds interesting! I’ll have to try it at some point…

charab

We’ve tried the smoky blends as well, the most interesting was wild cherry with lapsang. Felt like doing something very bad when drank it. Although my husband on the other hand can drink the cherry only when it’s mixed with russian black tea, which in my opinion doesn’t give anything new to the taste…maybe it just makes it rounder for him. Wouldn’t know. But Lady Gray with lapsang does taste very nice and they compliment each other well. Or maybe the lady just bends the lapsang into obedience.

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2975 tasting notes

Still watering the garden. I planted 5 different varieties of Sweet Potatoes this year. Some of them are showing great signed on productivity! Others don’t appear to be all that robust. No matter, I’ll enjoy whatever I get. I’m hoping the first frost takes it’s sweet time, to give them as long as possible to grow. This is the biggest sweet potato crop I’ve ever planted, & I’ve been thinking recently that I really need to figure out where I’m going to store them all this winter, because I could really end up with ALOT of sweet potatoes (which is a good thing, I eat one almost every day, they are SO good).

Breakfast was leftover fajitas from last night, with an egg on top, & a pot of this tea. It seemed like a good pairing for something spicy, & it was! Rich & smokey, a little sweet, & rather bold. A very big contrast from the purple tea gongfu session. I will say that it is tasting kind of woody to me today, but I probably over-tea-ed a bit, while I’m doing all this multi-tasking.

My first cooking project of the day is well underway: slow roasted tomatoes. I’m using a mix of Italian paste, & my beloved San Marzanos, drizzled with olive oil & salt. They’ll be in the over at 300 for about the next 3 hours or so. Now back to the garden.

Starfevre

bet you never spell it wrong again.

Fjellrev

Talk about a sweet potato extravaganza haha. I wonder how much they differ from each other.

Terri HarpLady

Starfevre, don’t count on it, cuz I don’t really care if it offends anybody. That’s their problem, not mine. I know it’s actually spelled ‘a lot’, but when I’m typing I don’t really care. Sometimes my spell checker fixes it, sometimes it doesn’t.

Fjellrev, some are sweeter, some are starchier. There’s the japanese kind that are almost purple outside & white inside, I think there’s a cuban one that is yellow on the inside, there’s a white sweet potato (really more of a cream color), an orange one, & a darker orange one, I think. The lighter they are, the more starchy they are, but they are still way sweeter than white potatoes. I’m excited :)

OMGsrsly

Ooh, I love the Japanese ones. I can get them fairly inexpensively here, and when I see them I make sure and buy a bunch!

Fjellrev

That’s awesome that you’re going to have such variety like that! I’ve been meaning to try the purple ones but keep wimping out.

Terri HarpLady

The japanese ones are especially nice diced up for hash browns as a sub for regular taters, and really awesome diced up, fried in coconut oil, & sprinkled with cinnamon…yum yum yum!

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96
1282 tasting notes

Since Steepster is featuring Andrews & Dunham today, I thought maybe it was time for yet another debut for me. Because their Caravan is the third of the smokies that Auggy shared with me. I can’t actually remember what anybody has said about this one, which makes it a brand new experience for me. I’m expecting something Russian Caravan-ish.

Lovely smoky smell, but there is also a very sweet note here. Like syrup-y sweet. And something vaguely spicy.

As for the taste, OMG!

Oh! Em! Gee! o.O

So smoky! So sweet! SO GOOD!

It’s primarily sweet, as if it had sugar in it, and then the smoke is just rounding it off and preventing it from being too sweet. This is like SO seriously good. I’m all…

Excuse me, Steepsterites. I can’t finish this post. This tea and me, we would like to spend some time alone…

Thank you Auggy!!! (Again)

ETA: If I give it a double-lenght steep, I can get two good steeps out of these leaves. A bit thinner the second time around, but definitely still very nice. Little bit of cane sugar added to enhance the sweetness.

I do seem to have contracted a case of the mini-burps which is quite annoying, but hopefully not tea related…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Auggy

YAY! Okay, I squee’d a bit reading this! Love this one!

Lori

Hmm…I think I need to add this one to my list…

Angrboda

Only have the Scarlet Sable left now. I’m a bit scared of that one on account of the rooibos. pokes tin cautiously

Auggy

Heheh – I understand! But remember, I too am a rooibos hater! It’s not really strong in the tea at all. Just adds a kind of nice woody (not sour, thankfully) base. At least for me, that it. Your taste experience might differ!

Angrboda

I know. I trust your smoky taste without question, but… it’s rooibos… I’ll do it tomorrow. (Maybe.)

Auggy

It’s okay – stuff with rooibos can take me a bit to build up to. It’s some risky stuff!

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93
911 tasting notes

I’m seriously in love with smoky teas. No, correction: I’m seriously in lust with them. It’s a physical craving. None of this emotional, touchy feely crap. We’re talking pure, visceral enjoyment. That being said, yeah, I’m looking forward to trying this tea.

The leaf smells awesome. Sweet and smoky – a bit like a sweet barbecue sauce. (That’s a good thing, in case you were wondering). So hello lapsang souchong! Once I’ve poured it into my cup, it smells a bit earthy, like a good Yunnan. I have no idea if there is Yunnan in here, but I do get something that smells like it. There’s also something that smells a lot like Jackee Muntz, so some Keemun.

The taste is much less smoky than the smell… there’s got to be some Yunnan in here. Because that’s the main taste. A nice, smooth, clean, earthy black tea. That’s not to say it isn’t smoky. It is, but the smoke doesn’t overpower (for me). Then there is a little chaser of high, sweet smoky (I’m going to say this is the lapsang souchong) and a darker sweet but still smoky taste (which reminds me of the Jackee I just had so I’m again going with Keemun) sort of wraps around the whole tea taste.

This strikes me as very coffee-like. Not in taste so much as overall taste intensity. Very dark flavored. Sweet on the edges with an acidic smoothness (is there such a thing?) and richness to it. Not a chewy tea, but there is definitely some weight to it. The husband, on the other hand, is reminded of barbecue sauce (which I can totally see). He says that this is something he’d like on meat, but not in tea. Then he had me smell the pecan-smoke Liquid Smoke and while the Liquid Smoke is much smokier smelling, with the sweetness I can see a similarity even if the tea is lighter (not light, just lighter than the Liquid Smoke).

So yeah, I love this tea. It’s dark and broody and smoky and sweet and perfect for an overcast rainy day like today.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I completely agree about the smokies. They are an addiction :) I’m suspect you might like my black powder too.

sophistre

Man. I’ve been avoiding trying the lapsang sample I got because I’m sort of afraid of it (despite liking smoky teas)…and now I’ve got a ton of smoky-tea notes popping up on my dashboard. I suppose it’s a sign!

Auggy

Yay for smoky tea fans! Hehe!

Dan

OK, you got me. I just ordered this tea and the other 2 that come with it. I cant wait until it comes. This is my first venture into ordered tea by the internet. I love smoky tea too.

Jillian

LOL, and here we’ve been calling strongly smokey teas ‘Man Teas’!
XD

Angrboda

Yes, the only way to be man enough to drink them is to be a woman. :p Just ask Ricky. ;D

Auggy

Hahaha!

And yay Dan! I think any smoky tea fan would really enjoy this one!

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76
4942 tasting notes

So I’m not feeling well today and stayed home to get some rest and sleep. My Tummys been queasy for the entire weekend so I haven’t even wanted much tea. However when my swap box with Terri showed up, I couldn’t resist!

My Internet isn’t working very well today BUT I needed to say that this is one hell of a beautiful smokey tea :)

http://instagram.com/p/YJQ-hRkyFb/

Fuzzy_Peachkin

Feel better!

whatshesaid

Enjoy your day of rest! Sounds like you need it with all the crazy work stuff you’ve been mentioning.

Dinosara

Feel better soon!

Barbara

Get well!!

Nicole

Hope you feel better soon. Have any mint tea? :)

Ysaurella

get better soon Sil :)

Sil

Thanks guys. i’m starting to wonder if it’s allergies that are making me feel off all the time.

Mercuryhime

I recommend copious amounts of ginger. Feel better!

Fjellrev

Hope you feel better!

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94
357 tasting notes

Doulton’s Shakespeare: a Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act I scene 1

For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
Othello Act I, scene 1, 61-65

Today my Shakespeare prize that Doutlon created arrived to a standing ovation. I am rather overwhelmed by her generosity and will definitely “pay it forward” in the future as soon as I can put together something even half as lovely as what she did. There’s even a lovely handmade knitted tea cozy included – I’ll create a flickr account just so I can post a picture. It’s so perfect for my teapot Tim! There’s a beautiful block print card featuring a scene from Julius Caesar with a handwritten note. Thank you so much Doulton!

Now, to the toughest part: choosing the very first tea. After oohing, aahing, and squeeing over all the samples I knew the one that would persuade me. The one that I’d been avoiding because I knew my heart might break once this series was sold out. Caravan by A&D.

Throughout these “Shakespeare” tasting notes I’m hoping to label each tea either a comedy, tragedy, history, sonnet, or character. This one’s a character and one of my favorites: Iago. Here’s the persuasive bad boy whom I love to hate (and vice versa). I really didn’t think I’d find him so soon into this box if ever. This is different than any smoky tea that I’ve had so far. Most smoky teas remind me of campfires. This is not a campfire. This is the remains of a forest fire that happened at least a year ago. It’s rugged and masculine and it makes me jealous. I do not want to share this tea with anyone. There’s so little of it for such a short period of time and it brings out the irrational MINE feeling.

I think that I won’t fall into the same trap that Othello did. Or at least I hope that I won’t. I feel like I’ve finally made peace with all “limited edition” teas and am willing to have my heart broken when they’re gone. I shall openly wear my heart on my sleeve and be willing to have the jackdaws peck away. No ulterior motive. No jealousy. I just want wonderful tea while it lasts. TG

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

Purely epic post for an epic giveaway.

S

Doulton is so kind and writes awesome tasting notes, too. I wanna have her babies! Or at least drink tea with her. EITHER IS FINE.

Cofftea

I just noticed your teagasm reference in your profile and I definitely believe that tea (as well as other things of course like coffee and food) can have the same effects on a person as being with your special someone. My ex used to say “that’s orgasmic!” when drinking a spectacular tea or coffee beverage.

Ewa

Awesome post! (This is why I signed up for Nabokov instead of Shakespeare – I could never pull this sort of thing off :D )

Erin

I am so excited to read the rest of your posts from the Shakespeare box! Keep it up, I loved this!

__Morgana__

Lol. Fun read and nice theme idea. I am so for the tasting note as creative outlet!

Rabs

While reading all your comments I’m grinning like an idiot. I was sort of worried that you’d think I was being a bit pretentious. But I really wanted to make Doulton proud. My background’s theater and English Lit, so I felt even more pressure to make these notes intelligent and fun :) Thanks so much for the encouragement!

Doulton

Thank you for writing such a great note. I like what you say about Iago and can see him as this tea for sure. And in the end he usually just stands on stage smiling or smirking. Shameless like a nicely audacious tea!

Rabs

It’s so very much my pleasure Doulton! I’m delighted that you approve :)

sophistre

These notes are so fun to read.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Love the formatting and stylization of this note. I can totally see “the remains of a forest fire that happened at least a year ago” for this tea.

Rabs

Aw, thank you! ::blushes::

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94
518 tasting notes

I just, this minute, ordered the 4oz re-issue. CAN HARDLY WAIT … and shipping to Canada is 9-11 DAYS.

LiberTEAS

Yes, I got the email for that too… I thought to myself – this is going to make many people on Steepster very happy. Not so much me, because this is one of the teas I did not really love from them, but, I know that many others did.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I ordered the Tiger Assam, too.

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95
314 tasting notes

I have so many tea samples to log that I feel overwhelmed and find myself just reaching for my favorites.

So, Caravan is one of my new “favorites”—I am its biggest fan.

Caravan goes perfect with pizza! :) All that smoky, woodsy goodness—it’s just sooo yummy, I can’t stand it!! And that hint of sweetness at the back of throat just seals the deal.

I love Caravan and will follow it to the ends of the earth! I just wish it were sold on its own.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Doulton

I, too, adore it. But how hard it is to invest one’s heart in a limited-edition tea.

Stephanie

Too true, Doulton! Maybe A&D will reconsider.

Angrboda

That stuff is like made of rainbows, that’s how awesome it is! The sample Auggy sent me just blew me away completely.

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90
373 tasting notes

The smell is VERY salty and smoky. Like campfire (or bacon). I allowed a few members of my family to take a smell, but non were very impressed (in fact, most were a little weirded out). I had to give up on my explanation that it’s meant to smell smokey because of how it’s made, and no it was NOT a Bacon Flavoured Tea (although I do plan on ordering that from 52 teas one day).

Once brewed, the smoky smell is lessoned, and slightly more tea-scented (slightly!). The colour is nice and dark, reddish.

TASTES smoky. A little too hot to tell, but the smoke does trail off into the aftertaste. It’s like drinking campfire. I think this is a Camping Tea. The sort of thing I would drink around the fire after a day of hiking, to replace hot chocolate. I thought this would be something that I would find too strong and would require milk with, but it’s not. I think milk would ruin the savoury flavour.

Continued: The second steep (6 minutes, no-longer-boiling water) was about as flavourful as the first. I’m sure I could have gotten one or two more steeps out of this, but I have to go to work, sadly.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95
6770 tasting notes

It’s FINALLY happened…

I finally got to try this tea. I’m so happy right now I could pee…
ok…well, maybe not pee, but I’m pretty darned happy!!!!

Special thanks to Gretchen for this – got it in the mail today! YAY!

I have had BAD experiences with smoky teas and ok experiences with smoky teas. I can honestly say this is the BEST experience with a smoky tea – to date – for me!

Well done!
Great, great Cup!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Dan

I have to agree, I have a tin of Caravan at home. Its fantastic.

LENA

Ooooh…yay!

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