2010 Damn Fine Holiday Blend

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Black Tea
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205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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94 Tasting Notes View all

From Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

We weren’t planning to release a Holiday Tea this year. Instead, we thought we’d spend the Holidays the usual way – drinking leftover Carävan and Earl Grey, racing RC helicopters, and ranking our favorite concept albums. But lo, our designers were possessed by the spirit of the season and knit us these incredibly “tasteful” labels. We couldn’t resist creating a custom blend of delicious tea to stuff into a cozy tin. Sure, they’re a little itchy and the fit is a bit old-fashioned, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

The Damn Fine Holiday Blend is a one-of-a-kind blend of black teas. No, it’s not flavored with anything but pure, delicious tea. It’s full-bodied and bright, tastes great with or without milk, and is especially awesome with cookies. Brew it for four minutes in boiling water.

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.

94 Tasting Notes

545 tasting notes

Friday morning, I need the caffeine but don’t want to put the overly strong caffeine of moka pot coffee into my still feeling overly full tummy. So I reach for this for a less stronger punch. Two steeps.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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1112 tasting notes

We’re out of coffee beans, so I wanted at choose a tea with some muscle to get me kinda, sorta going today. I chose this one because, it is the holiday time now!! Eee!

Anyway – since this is the THIRD holiday season I’m enjoying this tea, it has lost a bit of its snowflake glitter :( Those cranberry notes are no longer singing. It’s still a good cuppa, but the lesson I’ve been learning this year – that I need to have less tea so that I can drink them all in their prime – is sticking like a pine needle into my side! Ouch!

I think I’ll now enjoy this as more of an afternoonish blend. Yes, with holiday cookies :) What do you all do with teas that are not what they once were? Make iced tea? Blend with something else? Donate to the compost pile?

I did pretty well this year, but 2013 must be the year I get down to 30 teas!!! Pinkyswear!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Wow…that’s focus! (I think I have this subconscious fear that fewer teas mean fewer posts, and we just can’t have that!) But a similar resolution would be in order here, too. My—sorta—goal is a small library of “staples” and a manageable basket of fun swaps and samples. Until I find something else I want :)


I love the pic of the tea :) it sounds nice as well (even if a little aged)

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2977 tasting notes

Just brewed up a mug of this and am about to watch Home Alone on ABC Family! :-)

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

Fun combo.


Yup! and it’s even more fun with Bailey’s and some chocolate chip cookies :-)

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652 tasting notes

1 heaped TB for 500 mL water, drunk bare.

I admit it. The label got me. Sweater-knit Imperial Walkers. A & D could have stuffed the tin with grass clippings and I still would have bought it just for the label.

And today, in the first of a three-day nor’easter, horizontal rain, wind that’s trying to uproot trees: it came! My poor drenched postman brought the Damn Fine Holiday blend! I figured I wouldn’t see it til well after Christmas, as out ferries aren’t running (nor-easter’s affecting the entire island) and so lots of mail is tied up. Worse, lots of people aren’t getting home for Christmas.

I wish I could visit each stranded one and give them a cup of this tea.

Dry leaves are long and tippy. You know how some Assam smells raisiny? I’m sure I’m catching a faint whiff of smoked pears instead. And Yunnan — God, there must be Yunnan in here. Keemun? Pinch o’ lapsang? All an Imperial secret? Dunno, don’t care. What I can say is this: bright but not astringent, assertive but not a bully, deep but not bitter. Truly a happy-making tea. Restorative. Medium body, thick-to-creamy mouthfeel. My brew is a teensy bit bitter, but only because I steeped it six minutes.

And yes, it goes fab with cookies. I noshed a shortbread while sipping.

PS For anyone frightened off by my mentioning lapsang, the smokiness is NOT that strong. More of a Keemuny-smokiness, or a mild, milk Caravan … and that’s only one tasting note in a blend. So Holiday Blend is not a smoky tea.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Love love lovety love…

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oooooh, yes, nice caffeine punch. No, caffeine lift, like when you’re really small and an adult you love and trust lifts you high in the air for a shoulder ride. Not the same high-seas caffeine buzz I got from Captain Assam, but a delicious buzz nonetheless.


Sounds like you like it!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Hee hee. Just a bit.

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4843 tasting notes

I love the name of this blend!

And I love this tea! Rich, hints of smokiness, hefty! Completely Awesome.

I’m off to write a review of it for the SororiTea Sisters blog!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

2nd infusion is just as lovely as the first. It goes nicely with sauteed bananas and Nutella on toasted Dave’s Killer Bread, too!


Wow, that sounds really good!


I’d love to try this one!!!

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6768 tasting notes

I"M BACK!!!!!!!!

I missed you all!

I have a few backlogs – just to get them off my desk – but I won’t be back logging everything from the last few weeks as I don’t want to spam your dashboard! LOL :)

What did I miss?

This I am backlogging as my first 3 cups for today – I only have one serving left…it will be missed


Welcome back. :D


Welcome back! I have missed your notes on my dashboard!


Thanks – means a lot :)

Daisy Chubb

Welcome baaack!


Glad you’re back! :)


I was just thinking earlier today that I hadn’t seen a post from you in a while! Likewise from DaisyChubb until she reappeared a couple days ago :)


where HAVE you been???? :=P


I was in Vegas for a while :)


Many wecomes back. Hope you had a blast, man!

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411 tasting notes

I’m being silly – I have a personal rule of never drinking caffeinated tea after 5pm. But my new A&D order came in, and darn it! This means I have to break the rules.

So, even though I read the description of the tea, I for some reason thought this was a flavored tea. So, on opening the tin (with the most awesomeist at-ats ever!!!) i was a little surprised for it to be a blend of black teas rather than black tea with the seasonal spices.

So, flavor-wise. I would not be surprised to find out this is heavily yunnan. It’s very similar to Tiger. Which is a good thing! I’m out of Tiger and I liked Tiger. But, I’m not really thinking it’s very holiday. It’s a brighter blend, and I do taste the small amount of bitterness, almost cranberriness that the other tasters noted.

I tried 2 cups of this – straight and sweetened with cream. The above notes were for the straight tea. Sweetened and with milk? Wow. I love this tea. I can see sitting under the tree with cookies and this tea and being in holiday bliss. Yum. Love it.


Yunnan! I’m in. I was wondering what the tea base was. I’m glad it’s not darjeeling.


I missed out on Tiger and have been kicking myself ever since. Maybe I need to jump on this one! Love me some Yunnan!


Pst pst, Lena, sent you an email.

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985 tasting notes

You give some away, you get much more in return……

This is the end of my sample of this tea from Batrachoid. I found it in the bottom of my sample bin (which is really three shoebox sized plastic bins) while doing some kind of Spring cleaning (really, let’s be honest that it is more of a Spring ‘shuffling things around’ than actual cleaning!) Some of these samples were purchased, and some were from swaps. If I tried one every day from now until the end of the year, I am not sure I could get through all of them. I think we might call my next sample-palooza A Sample (or three…) A Day Keeps the Stash at Bay, unless you out there can think of something better. How about Climb Sample Mountain……

The mixture of the generosity of my Steepster friends and my obsession with trying just a few more teas has me buried in samples and a few new ones to try. I think I even have a few more samples and certainly some new teas in transit as I type this. Really, it is getting out of hand. I did finally start purchasing most teas in smaller amounts which seems to help a little. I really have to get a handle on my tea. I am to the point where I have to categorize….ones I will finish as iced tea, ones that will be replaced when gone, ones that will be good blenders for my Franken-Breakfast tin, ones that are packaged for travel, etc……. and then the mountain of samples.

Here I sit with this awesome cuppa. I do so appreciate the sharing of this particular tea as it is not available any longer. One day I will probably buy something from this company due to their meticulous attention to detail and awesome packaging. But, it is not this day…… I must press on to be a more efficient and responsible tea drinker and purchaser. It is hard to think of it going to waste, and if I give it away, I end up with more than I started. (You guys are wonderfully generous. Our community here always restores my faith in humanity. I raise this awesome cuppa to you!) :D

Usual mug method.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I know the feeling… :)


Heh, and this is another reason for me not to swap. I swapped fragrance samples, and for every 1 sent along to someone, they seemed to multiply worse than bunnies. Nevermind that I don’t operate on samples. If I like it, I want a container, a full-size (could show proof of this in fragrance category). Don’t know why of that … why can’t I be happy/content with a sample for a while? But I feel your pain!!!! Even without swapping, I went through a similar sorting ritual few weekends ago (and feel out of control).


Tea samples (much like Legos and Hot Wheels), when placed in a closed cabinet without supervision, mate and multiply. I’m just too sleepy to put an end to the fraternization in the middle of the night :)

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911 tasting notes

I was worried about the “bright” in the description of this tea, concerned it would be Darjeeling which, don’t get me wrong, can be good and sometimes really hits the spot, but can quite often lead to a bit too much of a shock at the end of the sip for me. And I just couldn’t handle that this morning. Thankfully, if there is Darjeeling in this, I can’t tell.

There’s no bitterness or tartness – just sweetness and a little cuddle factor, perhaps the suggestion of spices. Not spicy but just something that gives me the idea that this would pair with sugar cookies or snickerdoodles perfectly. The taste is smooth but with a little texture. And yes, it is bright. How it does that without delving into iffy tartness or astringency territory I’ll never know but I like it.

If I had to call what was in it, all I could pick out would be Yunnan. It reminds me a lot of the Tiger, though perhaps the Tiger was stouter? Or perhaps I just brewed the Tiger longer. Either way, tasty tea, I am happy I have it!

3 min, 0 sec

I’m so glad this is reminiscent of the Tiger! I loved the sample of it that I tasted! It sold out like lightning and I never got to buy a whole tin.


I decided to sit this one out. I’ve still got two packages in Limbo, it was damn lucky that the one that DID show up out of the three was the important one that goes under the tree on friday! I don’t dare order any more stuff until I know where all my post is. Preferably here with me.


Yep, I missed out on the Tiger too except for a generous sharing from takgoti. Glad that I was able to get this one though! There’s nothing that serious tea drinking like having to pull out the screwdriver to open your tea tin! :)

Ang, I hope all your limbo packages show up! I had some misdelivered tea a while ago and I still have bitter feelings towards the post office. Grrr.

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371 tasting notes

I received this tea several days ago and waited until Christmas Eve Day to give it a try. It came with my very first epic A&D order (I purchased several sets — sigh, I’m gonna miss Select) and I wanted to wait until I had a day to thoroughly enjoy this. I was already adoring the packaging (Geek that I am, plus the spray cans and sparkly snowflake sticker and the cool holiday letter enclosed in the box. Thank you A&D for all the wonderful packaging on top of the well-named teas/company). Oh, and that shiny-shiny sticker? It’s kinda mesmerizing to look at while the tea steeps.

Anywho, WOW. I didn’t get to try the Yunnan, but if it’s anywhere near as awesome as this, then damn, am I disappointed that I didn’t get me some before it went away. This is just heavenly. It’s bold with a strong earthiness that I’ve only associated with pu’erhs before. I’m yet to be converted to a pu’erh fan, but for some reason I am truly and deeply digging how rich and earthy this is. It’s like this tea is smirking “all your soul are belong to us” as it sucks my soul.

I may be going a bit overboard since I haven’t taken time to brew a proper cup of tea in months (all of it has been at work or on the run), so this reaction may be a bit of a fall-out from 1. controlled tea-brewing conditions, 2. several days off where I get to decompress before getting back to the grind, 3. the warm-fuzzies of the holidays, and 4. having given blood yesterday afternoon.

But I do believe that if this were crap tea, then I’d know it. I just think that this is marvelous and I’m in tea nirvana right now. TG

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I just got mine yesterday! I can’t wait to try it when my taste returns. nI was completely charmed by the sticker, letter, packaging too!


Huzzah! I will be sending you “taste-returning” vibes your way. And I think that completely charmed is the perfect description of how I felt about the packaging. I would so buy a sweater with that design on it :)


Lucky, lucky.

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