Nepal from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  This tea is no longer available, Sorry!

Company Description:

Grown high in the mountains of Nepal this tea wears faded dungarees and three days of stubble. It loves to talk about the world at elevation while knocking back pints of pale ale. It has no degree — it doesn’t need one. There is nothing it needs to know that can’t be learned from Whitman and Kipling. While the fire dies, after the others have gone home, it tells of its youth: “After the rains ended the air was intoxicating. The views, always dizzying, became more so. I would sit on a favorite rock for hours in the mornings, watching as the mists below receded and gave way to the startling colors of spring. Now, as I search for words to describe the sensation of those days, only one thing compares: falling in love.”

Taster’s Review:

I have tried several teas offered by Andrews & Dunham, and each time, I am impressed by their dedication to quality.  Nepal is no exception – this is absolutely one Damn Fine Tea!

Nepal has a remarkable “golden” quality to it.  It has a somewhat rustic taste to it, but, there is a certain refinement to it as well.  A smooth, sweet, glistening taste that washes pleasingly over the palate – very enchanting!  There is a malty flavor to it that gives richness to the taste.   I can also detect a slightly fruity note in the background – kind of peach-like – which adds to the golden quality I mentioned earlier.

This tea needs absolutely no sweetener to be enjoyed as it does possess an agreeable natural sweetness.  However, if you’re one that prefers a sweeter tasting tea, this one does take a drizzle of honey quite well.

Andrews & Dunham’s Damn Fine Teas are offered as limited edition teas, and unfortunately, this is tea (part of their first series), is sold out and no longer available.  I do recommend that you keep an eye on their website and watch for new issues and order promptly to avoid missing out on future releases!  Their teas should not be missed.

Earl Grey from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Company Description:

Many have worn the crown but few have carried the freak flag of rock to such fantastic heights as Earl Grey. In spite of a seemingly endless procession of heirs and imitators, the Earl’s star shines as brightly today as it did on first rising in the early 1970s. Listeners who might have been baffled by his colorful affectations were instead delighted by the seductive, mysterious character of his songs. Surely his childhood exposure to folk music on a remote Mediterranean island contributed to his fresh sound, as did his travels in India, but his perfect blend of style, creativity and irresistible guitar hooks always seemed like the product of other-worldly origins. Wherever Earl Grey came from, he’s ours now and this true classic continues to surprise and delight us.

Earl Grey is a black tea scented with the oil of bergamot. Steep in boiling water for five minutes and enjoy in whatever manner you please.

Taster’s Review:

I guess it’s no real secret by now that I adore Earl Grey tea.  Now that is not to say that I like all Earl Grey teas; just because you’ve tried one Earl Grey tea does not mean that you’ve tried them all.

This is one of my favorite Earl Grey teas.  It is also one of the more unusual Earl Grey teas that I’ve come across.  Most of the Earl Grey teas (that I’ve tasted) possess a certain sharpness to them – a sharpness that comes from the bergamot oil used to flavor the tea.  It is a difficult sharpness to describe – it is a citrus-y, flowery sharpness that almost comes across the palate like perfume – almost, but not quite.

Some of the Earl Grey teas that I’ve tasted DO taste like perfume – and these are the ones that I find rather distasteful.  I mean, who wants to drink perfume?  And yet, the really good Earl Grey teas somehow manage to skirt the line between tasting good and tasting like perfume.  It is a thin, sharp line.  Hence… the aforementioned sharpness.

So then, you may be wondering, just how is this Earl Grey tea different from others?  This one is different because it avoids that sharp line completely.  Rather than that typical Earl Grey sharpness, this one has a smooth, almost seamless flavor.  It is citrus-y.  It has a floral note.  But somehow, these two have formed a united partnership that has minimized the characteristic sharp note to almost non-existence.

It is an extraordinary Earl Grey tea!

Andrews & Dunham suggest a five minute steep time for this tea, but, as my palate tends to be somewhat sensitive to bitterness, I chose not to steep this long.  It’s been my experience over these many years with tea that almost every black tea will get bitter once it brews past that 4 minute point.  There are exceptions to that, of course, but, for me and my palate, this has become the standard by which I brew most teas.

I have brewed this tea both at 3 minutes and at 4.  I have found that with the 3 minute steep time, I get the flavors that I mentioned previously:  a fruitier bergamot with only a hint of floral quality.  When I steeped at 4 minutes, I found that the bergamot possessed a stronger floral quality than at 3 minutes which seemed to slightly overwhelm the fruitier notes that I liked so well at 3 minutes.  So, my preference is for 3 minutes in boiling water.

So, experiment!  Try it at 5 minutes, at 4, and at 3, and see which you prefer.  Just try it!  If you like Earl Grey tea – you might just fall head over heels in love with this one!  But you better hurry – because it’s part of a limited edition series, and won’t be around forever!