Tea type
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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113 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 3071 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 1311 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.

113 Tasting Notes

73
1700 tasting notes

So I have Caravan and Caravan Resurrected samples from Terri HarpLady and JustJames. Time to start comparing! (If there is even a difference? IDK)

Holy smokebombs Batman! This is exactly what I expected and feared from this tea! :P Maybe I shouldn’t have steeped it for 4 minutes, but I am drinking smoke. It smells and tastes rich and dark and tasty… I can definitely taste the black base under that smoke and I can tell it’s a quality blend even if I can’t identify it. Assam? Ceylon? It’s good. Very good. It’s assertive but smooth, and the smoke doesn’t threaten to rough up your throat.

The smoke itself though is sadly only something I can handle in smaller quantities. I’ll have no problem drinking 10 oz of this, but I don’t think I’d ever buy a tin of it as it would take years to drink 4oz. I think I’ll keep the Caravan Resurrected sample around as a treat through when I’m looking to get rocked by smoke. :)

Thanks for the sample(s)! Sipdown (153)

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

sadly, i am the same with smoke! like the smell, but can’t take it otherwise. great review!

Terri HarpLady

Although I enjoy a little smoke here & there, I also can’t really handle too much of it. I usually add stevia too it, which gives it a nice burnt caramel taste, IMO.

Lala

You can try adding some maple syrup to help balance out the smoke taste.

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been thinking of trying Maple syrup with some of my teas, I love it so. I bet it really would be nice in the smokey ones especially!

Cavocorax

Good suggestions! Thanks!

OMGsrsly

(Whipped cream on top. From a can, or done yourself.)

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80
429 tasting notes

I’m in love with this tea. I’ve had my can of Caravan about 2 weeks and its just about gone. I wish I knew how much of each tea was in this blend because I would try to blend it up myself. I do have an idea and I may try anyway. I just wish I could buy this tea from them w/o the other 2 teas. I’m looking at my empty cup and wishing it was full again. Is this like an addiction? “sigh”

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
takgoti

I’d say it’s getting close to an addiction at the very least. Perhaps you can put an inquiry out on the discussion board and see if there’s anyone who’s gotten Series 3 who would like to trade you for a tin of one of the other ones?

Dan

I just mixed keemun and assam with some lapsang, I just may be able to do this. Its close. I’m drinking it now. Its not as smooth and has a little bite to it, but not bad at all.

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69
405 tasting notes

Ever had maple-smoked bacon?

I wanted to spoil myself this evening, so I added a tsp of maple syrup to my smoky Caravan. So very delicious! 2nd steep, 6 minutes, likewise. The sweetness and the flavor just make a lovely counterpoint to the savory smoke. I have dark maple syrup, so it’s more flavorful than sugary-sweet, so I wouldn’t normally use it in tea, but I thought it would go really well with Caravan and it does.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

I have tons of maple syrup! I have to try this.

Auggy

Mmm, ditto to what Stephanie said!

teabird

It’s definitely worth trying, at least once!

Angrboda

Interesting idea! I’ll have to try to remember this.

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93
248 tasting notes

Strong and smokey and will hopefully help me with this lab report this late night.

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96
361 tasting notes

I actually have Caravan pulled up on rhapsody right now. Songs that are as long if not longer than Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida, and in the similar progressive rock style. I could listen to this all day long but there is news to report. Right now I’m rocking out to L’Auberge Du Sanglier / A Hunting We Shall Go / Pengola / Backwards / A Hunting We Shall Go – Reprise (Medley) from The World Is Yours – The Anthology 1968-1976. They also sound a little like Rush and Yes. This is good music….and good tea. I’ve had this one a while from a swap with Brandy. It is no secret that I love lapsang. The only other Russian Caravan that I have to compare to is Peet’s. This is quite an excellent mix there is the nice smokey undertones of lapsang and what maybe a black Gongfu. Along with the smokey there is that bakey flavor like potatoes, and grain that I have tasted in the Gongfu or maybe Yunnan Golden tips. I can see why A&D teas are rated so highly.

Uniquity

Songs that are longer than In A Gadda Da Vida. Phew!

The DJBooth

Yep although I enjoy full-time employment I miss the days I would drink tea and listen to music all day on days off. Those are few and far between these days.

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99
953 tasting notes

So here’s what happened.

I put this into the Breville to steep, and then forgot about it and took my 4 year old to pre-K. When I came home I remembered, and the timer on the Breville indicated it had been available for drinking for approximately 54 minutes.

I figured it would be cold and probably not very good, but I tasted it anyway.

WOW.

It was lukewarm. But the first thing I noticed was the mouthfeel. Thick. Not really chewy, but thick and textured, somewhere between broth and syrup. And then, unexpectedly, the most wonderful flavor. Gently smoky, with a naturally sweet, smooth undercurrent of tea that tastes like… bread on the initial sip, and as it rounds out in the mouth, plums?

Enough. I have to go make more of this and see how it is hot.

While it’s making, I’m backtracking to the dry tea. Fairly large, brown tippy leaves. A very smoky smell, that has the salty, meaty smoke thing going on.

And yes, it’s even better hot! The thickness of the mouthfeel isn’t as apparent, but there’s a carby sweetness, sort of yam-like, to both the aroma and the flavor. The smoke is an accent, not the main event, but a noticeable one. There’s a lot of depth and character here, something that reminds me of what I like about Samovar’s black teas. That particular quality is more apparent as the tea cools. Too cold, as my first cup has now become, and the magic goes poof. Would not recommend this as an iced tea. But any range between right out of the pot and lukewarm is delicious. Like a nice wine that’s left to breathe, it changes with time. One flavor may not be better than the others, just different and equally wonderful.

I was moved to give this a 100, but I can’t bring myself to do it on a limited edition. It would just be too sad to have decided on a perfect tea, and then have it be unavailable.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90
221 tasting notes

Sorry Yunnan Golden Tips, I am officially casting you aside like yesterdays jam.
The aroma of Caravan’s leaves are overwhelmingly smokey, but the flavour rounds out to that perfect balance of tea and woodsmoke with a faint hint of sweetness… I’m completely in love. Smooth enough to drink plain, plus it held almost all of its kick for a second steep – you should order some now before its gone for good.

I’m so cute-ed out by this company, you have no idea. And not just for entertaining my tea gang idea/reality on twitter. Prompt international delivery, rad packaging, awesome wee extras. Can’t wait to patch up and roll through town with my gang, terrorizing people who drink bad tea…

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Doulton

I, too, love Caravan. I’m deeply in love with the smoky, sweet brew. Everything else seems insipid after one’s fallen in love with smoke.

Miss Sweet

Its just SO much better than all the other smokey teas I’ve tried! I’ll have to keep an eye on how many sets are left, I suspect I will need to reorder…

da.u.de

Oddly enough I came to know about this company through the rave reviews on their packaging design. I can’t wait to taste. In my shopping list now! :)

Miss Sweet

Ha, one of the main incentives for me to buy aside from the reviews on the tea itself, was the packaging!

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51
4641 tasting notes

Of the three teas in the third series, this was the tea I feared the most. I am not a smoky tea fan by any stretch of the imagination. I can appreciate a delicate smoky back note to a tea so long as it enhances the overall tea flavor. But one that is so strong in its smoky essence that this is the first aroma I sense, and the first flavor I taste… not for me.

But I still ordered the collection as I was lured in by the Steepster Select offer… and I do love the Earl Grey and especially the Jasmine of this collection. And… I must admit, I LOVE the tin and its graphics. Reminds me of Motley Crue.

Yet, I am a taster, so I didn’t want to let this tea to without tasting it. It is smoky. I “rinsed the tea.” It is still smoky. I added raw sugar. It is still smoky. Then I heated up some milk, added a dash of cinnamon to the milk, and whipped it into a froth, and turned this smoky tea into a smoky latte. It’s still smoky. But, with the little touch of cinnamon and the latte… it’s a tolerable smoke for me.

My dear Doulton … if you don’t mind, I am sending the rest of this to you. I have seen how much you love it, and I truly appreciate the work you put into the Dammann Frères teas. I hope that this small token will show you how much I do appreciate it. I also hope you don’t mind… but, I took the tea out of the tin. I … um… collect tins. And I love this one… The tea, sans the tin, but safely deposited into a tea storage bag… will be headed your way in tomorrow’s post.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

I’m glad you braved tasting Caravan! Thanks for documenting it! :)

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96
255 tasting notes

I love this tea. The dry aroma seems to arise from the dead ashes of last nights campfire with the assorted drippings of the barbeque’s mixed grill and even the s’mores.
The taste is smoky deliciously deep.

This is one of those teas that make me want to expand and expound like Walter Pater did in his study of the Renaissance period. He wrote: “A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes any two persons, things, situations, seem alike.”

For me, this tea burns with Pater’s gemlike flame. It seems ancient and wise as if it had witnessed the lichen growing on the rocks and the mosses forming around the firs.

I do love smoky teas with a passion. I wish that Andrews and Dunham would maintain a constant collection of teas. If they always sold Caravan and Jackee Muntz I would be relaxed and happy and not need to constantly roam, with a hungry heart, looking for the next great Smoky Tea.
Preparation
4 min, 30 sec

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82
433 tasting notes

I got my Damn Fine Tea order last night (YAY!!) and of course had to immediately try one of them today. As a strong black tea lover, Caravan was my first pick. I didn’t look at the description before I brewed it, so I wasn’t expecting the smoky scent & flavour. Normally I have a pretty negative association with smoky notes (especially when it comes to food), but I don’t have much experience with it in tea. I have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this! It’s exactly what I needed today, and the brewing time of just over 4 minutes was perfect for my oversized mug. Just a tad more time and I think I would’ve had to add milk to tone it down, but I adore the way this cup turned out.

There’s no weird or bitter aftertaste, and overall this is a really nice blend. This was a great start for my introduction to A&D Damn Fine Teas! If I like either of the other two teas in series 3 as much as I like this one, I’m pretty sure I’ll be a fan for life!

Preparation
4 min, 15 sec

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