Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
For quite some time, I couldn’t drink earl greys because they would cause headaches. I hated that bc this is one of my favourite earl greys and I just COULDN’T. curse my dumb body, basically.
but today, I am drinking up the last of this can. earlier this week, I steeped the last bits in a big ole pitcher and threw in some vanilla syrup and that is what I’ve been taking to work these last few mornings. no headaches. I love this tea and I’ll be savoring this last bit it of it. /chef’s kiss/
okay, so there was some user error the last time I cold brewed this. I made sure to get this in the fridge a lot earlier in the day and in the morning? yessss. but I also want to point out that my tea is PRETTY OLD (when was this released? I’m pretty sure that’s when I got it. I think they released Venus and the race car one at the same time and I got both…probably with Black Sunshine. it seems like forever ago?) it still has some nice spinach-y notes nevertheless and I love spinach sooooo. yeah. excellent for these hot days. I’ll be finished with this can soon, which is very exciting, bc the artwork is beautiful. I won’t miss this when it’s gone though.
cold brew for breakfast, I think this may be user error because I couldn’t really taste anything? maybe I didn’t get this in the fridge early enough bc I was having A Day and forgot? but maybe also this is quite old. I’ll refrigerate this again when I get home and see how it is tomorrow.
I’ve had this tea so long, but I /do/ vaguely remember enjoying it…so…/shrug/
Black blends have intrigued me for a bit now; when done well, they can combine the best characteristics of multiple teas into a deliciously complex cup. That’s what I hoped for here, and it delivers. This tastes to me like a combination of a solid, malty Chinese black, with some pu’erh and a bit of white tea. I have no idea what’s in it, but it’s quite tasty. A touch smoky, pleasantly earthy, a bit of sweet hay. Pretty smooth despite the flavour suggesting to me that I might have overleafed a tad.
Thanks so much for sharing, Roswell Strange!
ah, yes. I love finishing off A&D tins, it always feels like an accomplishment. especially for this one, because it seems like this has been hiding in the cupboard for at least five forevers, popping out only occasionally and then hiding again. this is not my favourite tea from A&D, it’s brisk and bready and easy to drink, but it’s also just kinda meh. I’m glad that I had this for five forevers, but I’m also glad that it is gone.
Percy-cat update: I finally took her to the vet a couple of weeks ago and she chonky! I think of her as a baby and this is a MISTAKE, bc I feel that she is tiny and I’ve had to put her on a diet…and have felt so bad because she MEOWS at me and looks at me with her big eyes and I end up giving her more food bc I’m weak. her meowing is a big deal, because she usually just….gurgles? chirps? she makes weird noises that I sometimes don’t think are cat noises, but when she’s hungry she meows and I say ‘wow, Percy, you are a cat!’ and then she tries to trip me. rude. I’m in the process of switching her food, so that maybe that helps.
Thanks, Cameron B. :D Only a couple more of yours to go. What a beautiful sample box you sent me. I got to try all kinds of goodies from all kinds of vendors I’ve never experienced.
It’s almost midnight here so I skipped the gongfu and put 3.3g in 10 oz boiling water, let it steep for 4 minutes. Easy peasy. It was malty, good flavor with notes of caramelized sugar, raisins, brown sugar, dark cocoa notes. No faults in it, it’s a very smooth black tea. I just usually like my black tea bolder, maltier, breadier than this one. On a positive note, of the ones I got to try, A&D does seem to have good tea. :D
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Malt
First A&D tea! Thank you Cameron B. :D
The dark leaves had brassy orange-ish-gold tips. The first couple of infusions had quite a bit of smoke, campfire as someone accurately said in another review. I got very little malt flavor at this point and became slightly dry, different spice notes like pepper and cinnamon. In later infusions, I got some malty sweet notes, slight sweetness in the finish. The more infusions, the more malt came out, some cocoa notes. I’m thinking that this would be better as A&D suggested, a long steep like 5 minutes vs Gongfu style.
I don’t know how pricey or whether it’s inexpensive but I would classify this as a good daily drinker type if it’s not expensive.
Porcelain gaiwan, 4g, 212°F, 110ml, rinse, 8 steeps: 10s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 75s, 120s
Flavors: Black Pepper, Campfire, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Malt, Pepper, Smoke, Spices, Sweet
365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 5/365
Yay, I’m finally writing about one of the A&D teas that I ordered a few weeks ago! I was so excited to see them back in stock, so I immediately pounced on a 3-pack of Black Sunshine, Tiger Assam, and this tea. According to the website, this Earl Grey is on an Asian black tea base. Obviously, that’s a bit vague since all three of the most popular black tea regions are in Asia… I don’t often drink “plain” Earl Grey blends, tending to prefer those with added citrus or vanilla, but I figured this one would be worth having as I’m sure the base is high quality.
I steeped this using my usual black tea parameters – 3 minutes at 200°, even though the website recommends a longer and hotter steep. I guess I’m just a creature of habit!
I will say, I’m very much enjoying this one. The base tea is definitely at least partially Chinese – smooth and mellow with nice malty bread and earth notes. There’s a bit of woodiness present as well. I love Chinese black teas – they’re not sharp or astringent, but they’re still so flavorful.
This one makes a lovely base for the bergamot. I was worried about the strength of the bergamot, as I’ve had Earl Grey blends in the past where I found it to be overpowering. But here, the bergamot seems perfectly balanced to me. It has a pleasantly sharp citrusy flavor without being floral or perfumey. There’s also a bit of a pine/eucalyptus note from the bergamot, which really drives home the great outdoors theme of the tea for me.
Delicious! I’m so glad these A&D teas are so tasty, as the tins are so gorgeous that I would likely buy them regardless… ;)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Malt, Pine, Smooth, Wood
This is probably going to be my last new tea of the day. I have plans to resteep my Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake leaves after this, and then hopefully get another couple of cups out of this leaf, too. I had originally planned on trying to use up three more samples, but I can feel a migraine coming on and it was going to be a very Nina’s Paris heavy day, so I think I’ll save them for tomorrow or Monday. I’m aiming to have my cupboard at or below 350 by Christmas.
What a lovely straight black tea! I remember drooling over reviews of this back when it was first released, and immediately adding it to my wishlist despite rarely drinking straight unflavoured teas back then, especially loose leaf without milk or sugar. I’m a true English girl, at the end of the day. Sil sent me this along with a few other unflavoured black teas, when I told her I was trying to expand my horizons, and this tea was truly one that helped me appreciate more unflavoured teas, particularly without additives. It is strong and bold, but with very little astringency (something I abhor and the main reason I still add milk to certain teas). It has a malty flavour and bready note which just make me want to curl up in a ball with a thick jumper, a classic novel and a cup of this tea. It’s comfort tea! There’s a honeyed note somewhere in there too, but it’s not as prominent as the more savoury, bread and malt notes so I think that this would be a perfect breakfast tea. I’m not getting any chocolate notes as others have mentioned, and I’ve never smoked so couldn’t say if there are tobacco or cannabis notes, but it does sound interesting. I wonder if they’re there and I just didn’t pick up on it… Either way, this is a delightful, hearty tea which I am particularly enjoying in this crappy weather.
Thanks for helping me try yet another wishlist tea, Sil!
In the past, I had always steered away from this tea bc I’m….not a fan, usually, of smoky teas. or at least I wasn’t, this past year year though? give me all the smoky teas. also, give me all of the dianhongs. so, I was surprised (and excited) when A&D finally had some teas in stock and jumped and bought their custom set and uh. I love this. I was worried about too much smoke, but this is perfect.
plus, the lil guitar pick that came with it? perfect.
the 7th tea of Christmas is also exciting, but I was in need of something stronger this morning. I’m ready to go home and try it.
Pretty unbelievable that this has no notes yet.
I got a little derailed from my “try everything in the cupboard once and write a note about it” project yesterday. I was feeling pretty drained and washed out so I only made it through two black teas. I’m feeling a little better today so we’ll see how far I get.
Anyway, A&D has cute descriptions of their teas but they are more artistic than functional. This one, for example, doesn’t say what sort of Indian black tea it is or whether it is a blend. The leaves look more like Nilgiri leaves to me than anything else, though I suppose they could be Ceylon. The flavor is bready with a bit of throat grab like Assam. Maybe it is a mix. I can usually tell Ceylon by its color after steeping, but yesterday a Ceylon blend that didn’t have the color baffled me so who knows.
The leaves do smell a little like the Double Knit Blend leaves, a sort of earthy smell with a muted sharp note. Which argues for Ceylon, since that was what was in Double Knit.
The tea has a bready smell after steeping and is a clear, dark amber.
It has a mild flavor, which is surprising. I expected something rocket-fuel-strong from the extended racing metaphor. It is medium-light bodied and a bit brisk.
It’s the kind of Indian tea/blend that makes you think of “tea” as the flavor. That sort of classic, essential tea-ness that those of us who grew up with Lipton as the only choice associate with tea. It has a slightly sweet aftertaste.
It’s much more flavorful than Lipton tea bags. It’s as though someone took that flavor and photoshopped it into something enhanced.
It’s very good, but it doesn’t send me into the stratosphere like yesterday’s blends with China blacks in them.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Tea
Another excellent A&D black tea.
A&D doesn’t state what’s in this blend. People here have said Keemun. Maybe Ceylon. Maybe Darjeeling. Maybe Assam.
I’m not sure, myself. I am guessing Keemun is correct because of the smoky aspect. The tea has some astringency so I’m going with some Assam. The leaves look a little like Ceylon, but don’t give off the same color after steeping as most Ceylons do for me, and I’m not seeing the Darjeeling bit. The leaves are darker and finer than what I think of when I think of darjeeling. But there is a bit of a sharp, winey note to the dry leaves so I can understand where that thought comes from.
Mostly, the dry leaf smells earthy. The tea’s aroma and flavor has a bit of maltiness, but not the depth of the Black Sunshine. I am not tasting much smoke, but again, air quality here is poor so I may just not be noticing it. The tea leaves the mouth a bit dry, but it isn’t bitter or harsh. It’s actually what I’d call smooth.
I drank this pretty quickly while I was on the phone with a friend, so I didn’t take notes as I went. I will need to visit this again next time I drink it. For now, I’ll say there’s a really interesting cocoa note in the cup after the tea is gone and I really enjoyed this tea — though not as much as the Black Sunshine (because Yunnan is my favorite).
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Malt, Smoke
Wow. Just. Wow.
Yunnan is my favorite black tea, and I didn’t realize this was Yunnan until I opened the tin.
The dry leaves are long, beautiful, and dark with silvery tips. They have a malty, baked goods smell. The steep very red, a dark cherry color. The tea smells like baked bread with a touch of…. pepper?
I’m not getting smoke in the flavor as others are, but perhaps that is because I am nose and taste blind to smoke right now because of the air quality here in the SF Bay Area following the Camp Fire. I understand why some might call it smokey though. For me, it’s more of a character than a flavor.
I do get a baked goods flavor with the depth that is hard to describe and I find characteristic of Yunnan (I also find it in some red wines). The tea has pleasant aftertaste. Not really sweet, but not sour or bitter either.
I don’t find it heavy or woody either, like some others have noted.
It’s just a really, really nice Yunnan blend.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Pepper
In the tin, the aroma is like walking through an arbor covered in jasmine vines.
After steeping, the color is gold, verging on amber and mostly clear, with only some very fine particles suspended in the tea. I know it’s repetitive, but it smells like walking through an arbor covered in jasmine vines.
Last weekend I tasted another jasmine green, and I used the following criteria for jasmine green “done right” (and I can’t really improve upon these, so I’m recycling them):
1. The jasmine smells and tastes like the essence of flowers rather than a flavoring agent.
2. The jasmine is integrated into the tea, rather than smelling and tasting pasted on.
3. The tea base is both a great delivery vehicle for the jasmine and not completely overpowered by it to the point where it disappears.
4. Extra points for juicy, flowery goodness.
The main issue I have at the moment is my tongue is burning. No. 2 heated up some Indian food for breakfast (!) and I had some. Hotsy totsy! So my taster is slightly subdued.
But even with that going on, this is an awesome jasmine. It gets mega points on scores 1-3 and it’s even doing well on 4.
Too bad they don’t have this available on their website at the moment. Must. Hoard.
See note on the original Caravan:
Except the link doesn’t work (why?), so I’ll repeat it here:
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.
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.
I can’t really improve upon what I said there, except that this being no longer a limited edition, I have given it my first 100 rating!
It’s a rich Yunnan with some smoke around the edges, and it is sensational.
More A&D to try and write first notes about today. Yowza.
In between, I’ll be binge watching season 4 of The Wire. I need to find another show for after this one is done. Suggestions?
It’s not stated what’s in this blend, but I’m going to go with assam and ceylon. The color is that reddish burnt-orange that I associate with Ceylons (and which may be the reason for the red-tailed reference). Whenever I see it, I wish for a sweater in the same color. And the dry leaf is a mix of leaf that looks similar to the Tiger Assam of yesterday mixed with some very dark bird-nesty twists of leaf. The dry leaf smells a little bready, and a little winey-pungent.
The steeped tea has a sweet potato and baked bread smell. I steeped for three minutes and I don’t get any bitterness, but do get some maltiness. There’s something that even heads toward chocolate. The tea is somewhat astringent, but it’s very satisfying.
I find this smooth and flavorful. No throat grab, not harsh on an empty stomach. I may prefer it to the Tiger Assam because of the chocolate note, which gives it more depth.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt, Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes
Another A&D first tasting. So lucky am I!
The dry leaves are gorgeous. Long, twisty, and tippy, and variegated in color on a continuum from forest green to silver. In the tin, they have notes of sweet pea, asparagus, and yellow squash. Why is there no yellow squash option in flavors?
Also, why does clicking flavors take me directly to some Windows sign in thing instead of Outlook, like it used to? Freaky and annoying. But I digress.
The steeped tea is pale yellow and clear. The aroma is mild and vegetal, with the notes mentioned above. Next time I might try the water a bit hotter as A&D suggests.
The tea is tasty and mild. It’s not as juicy as some Chinese greens, and I wish it were a bit moreso. But at this point I can’t rule out user error. Next time I’ll try hotter water and longer steep time.
Flavors: Asparagus, Peas
I have a number of A&D teas I haven’t tasted yet, and I get to do that as part of my “taste every tea in the cupboard and write a note about it” project. It’s always a pleasure to drink A&D so I’m really excited that I get to do this.
The leaves of this are pretty — very tippy, and they smell earthy and a little minerally. Also a little like something baked. Baked sweet potato, maybe.
The steeped tea definitely has a sweet smell like sweet potatoes. It has a stewed fruity aspect to it as well. Prunes? The color is a clear, dark chestnut.
The tea has a bit of Assam throat grab, a sort of a bite (well, they did name it after a tiger, right)? But it isn’t as harsh as a lot of other Assams I’ve had. It’s strong, but more smooth than harsh, and the tea itself has a pleasant malty mildness which is a little surprising. It’s not at all bitter, not what I’d call “stout” (which is basically my way of saying heavy on the stomach). None of that here.
The aftertaste has a sweet, mocha note.
It’s a truly lovely Assam.
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Mineral, Mocha, Stewed Fruits, Sweet Potatoes
It feels like forever since I’ve had something that called itself an Earl Grey. I am surprised I missed it as much as I do. I wouldn’t count Earl Greys as among my favorite teas. I’m not sure they’re even in the top ten, though I do enjoy them a lot when I’m in the right mood.
Also, I haven’t really met an Andrews and Dunham tea that I didn’t like.
I thought that might change when I cracked open the tin because the dry tea smells heavily and only of bergamot. Strongly citrus. It even has an edge of perfume to it. When I do have Earl Grey, I like the ones that are bergamot-citrus, usually a lot more than the ones that are than bergamot-perfume.
After steeping, the perfume aspect goes away, fortunately. The aroma mellows substantially, to a light lemon-orange scent over tea with a mocha note. The tea is dark amber and clear.
This is a lovely Earl Grey. My favorite always and forever will be Samovar’s followed by ATR’s Earl Grey Shanghai which is no longer available. While I prefer the Yunnan base of the Samovar and ATR, this is a very mellow blend. The bergamot is definitely central, but not sharp or overpowering, and it integrates well with the base. I’m not sure what the base is, just that it isn’t Yunnan. It doesn’t have the color of Ceylon after steeping. Assam, perhaps?
In any case, I like it a lot. I’m bumping ATR’s rating just so I can rate this high.
I am a little worried about Andrews & Dunham, though. The last thing I see on their Facebook page is from September.
Anyone have any news?
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Lemon, Mocha, Orange, Perfume
ahh, it always feels victorious finishing one of these tins. I’ve had this one forever and will miss it. it is everything I enjoy in black teas: malty, bready, stone-fruit-y, bright & brisk.
does anyone know what’s going on with Andrews & Dunham? both last year & this year they didn’t release their Oktoberfest blend :( I don’t even think they released their Christmas blend last year either (could be wrong).
Home – 8:00 PM
So my Andrews & Dunham order was supposed to come today, but it’s been delayed until tomorrow. To console myself, I’m having a large mug of the only A&D tea currently in my cupboard.
I really do like this one. It’s smooth, sweet, and creamy with notes of edamame, summer squash, and sugar snap peas. I’m not sure if it’s because this is a Yunnan green tea, but it has some delicious grainy/bready notes that remind me of either a silver needle or a golden Yunnan black tea. There’s a hint of smoke and mineral in the background, which gives it a bit more presence without overwhelming the other flavors. At the end of the sip, there’s a soft and slightly drying apricot note that I often find in Chinese green teas.
Aww, and now my mug is empty. Why does that always happen?!
Can’t wait to try my new A&D teas tomorrow – I ordered Black Sunshine, Tiger Assam, and Mount Gray. I had to talk myself out of ordering a second 3-pack as I likely won’t even finish those three tins before they start to lose flavor…
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Baked Bread, Creamy, Grain, Mineral, Oats, Peas, Smoke, Smooth, Soybean, Sweet
Home – 9:00 PM
I confess, I bought this tea entirely because of the tin. The artwork is lovely!
Luckily for me, the tea is also very tasty! It’s a lovely light Chinese green (apparently Yunnan, not that I would know the difference) – extremely sweet, creamy, and smooth with a nice silky mouthfeel. There are fresh vegetal notes of baby spinach, edamame, and sugar snap peas, along with a very mild and sweet grass flavor. At the end, there’s a light apricot note with the tiniest bit of astringency mimicking the fuzz of its skein.
Yummy yummy, and with a beautiful tin! ❤
(Ughhhh, now I have to talk myself out of buying every tea that Andrews & Dunham offers…)
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Freshly Cut Grass, Peas, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal