Yunnan Gold Tips Limited Edition Tea from Damn Fine Tea

DFTYunnan2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Tea Description:

We’re galloping into the New Year on a 150 horse-powered infusion of Yunnan Gold Tips. Care to join us? Like a chestnut mare with a brilliant golden mane, this special tea has the might to carry you through good times and bad, and a gentle, unassuming beauty that will stir noble feelings in your breast. We wish the year of the snake a fond farewell, perhaps even a tip of the hat as it slithers away into the bushes. Now it’s time to face the road ahead. Welcome to the year of the horse — saddle up this damn fine steed and ride out to meet it!

We’ve teamed up again with our pals at Aesthetic Apparatus and made 150 tins of one of our favorites, Yunnan Jin Hao Gold Tips tea. This full-bodied black tea from China will remind you of a classic Yunnan — it’s good and strong — but the gold tips add a soft, velvety smoothness. Brew it in boiling hot water for at least five minutes and you’re off to the races. Cross the finish line and re-steep the leaves for another ride.

Learn more about this limited-edition tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been chomping at the bits to order this tea for months now, ever since it was announced.  However, I have quite a bit of tea as it is, and I always seem to go a bit over my budget when it comes to tea spending, so I held off on ordering this as long as I could.  I didn’t want to miss out on it – since it is a limited edition! – but I also couldn’t justify ordering it when it was announced.  I waited and waited for a “free shipping” offer from Damn Fine Teas, but I never found that opportunity.

Then they offered free shipping to Canadians for Canada Day, and when I looked at this tea, I saw that there were only 6 tins of it left!  Egad!  I was freaking out, worried that I’d miss out on this tea while I was waiting for the 4th of July when (hopefully) they might have free shipping in the states (which they did), but I worried that this tea might sell out before the 4th arrived (it didn’t).  But I still didn’t want to take that chance, so I paid for the shipping and declared that my budget be damned!  It was time for some Damn Fine Tea!

I mean, it’s not like I haven’t had a golden tips Yunnan before, I’ve had quite a few lovely opportunities to try this type of tea.  I didn’t really feel like I was missing out on something as far as the tea goes, but, as I’ve admitted in the past, I’m a sucker for packaging.  And I didn’t want to miss out on a numbered tin which is beautifully appropriated with a vivid, yellow label with a cool horse on it.  I didn’t want to not have this tin.  I also needed to find out what cool little extra they’d send along with the tin.  They always have a nifty little toy or something with the tin … something that corresponds with the tea.  This tin came with a little rubber horse head finger puppet toy.  Cool.

Yeah, go ahead and say it.  I’m a nerd.

This Yunnan Gold Tips is an enjoyable tea and a nice selection for the celebration of the Year of the Horse (which was the reason behind this limited edition series).  I don’t know that it’s the best Yunnan tea that I’ve ever tasted, but I’m enjoying it and happy to have it as part of my tea stash while it lasts.

DFTYunnanThe dry leaf is beautiful with it’s chocolate-y brown leaves tipped with gold.  The aroma is earthy and rich, and there are hints of sweetness.  The leaves brew up dark and produce a flavorful liquid that smells sweet – like molasses!

That molasses-y note translates to the flavor, and I can taste notes of sweet molasses that seem to mingle with an undertone of caramel-like flavor.  It’s a hearty, robust tea with enough gusto to get someone up and running (or galloping!) on the days when you need that sort of thing.  It has a leather-y, earthy quality to the flavor which is a nice contrast to the sweeter notes.

But what I like best about a Yunnan are the spice notes.  And this tea has those too.  They are warm and comforting, and I think that’s why I enjoy a good Yunnan like this one so much.  It is an invigorating drink but there is a certain comfort to drinking it.  Like waking up even though you don’t want to, but then walking into that hot shower and it feels so good that all the sudden you’re not minding waking up so much.  That’s what this tea provides for me.

A really awesome tea, I’m glad that I finally ordered it.  I just wish that I could have gotten the free shipping on it.  Hey … Washington is right next to Canada … and I live in a city that is often confused as a Canadian city.  That should count for something, eh?  (See, I’m even trying to sound Canadian.)

The Mermaid’s Kiss from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Andrews & Dunham

Product Description:

The Mermaid’s Kiss is a scented Oolong tea from China. Abandon yourself to its charms and steep for 5 minutes in 180 degree water. Drop anchor and stay for a few more cups.

Taster’s Review:

I kissed a girl and I liked it … err, that is, if you’re to take the name of this tea literally, that it is, indeed a mermaid’s kiss.

I have, over the past year or so, fallen head over heels in love with Magnolia scented Oolong teas.  Just as jasmine seems a perfect fit with green and white teas, magnolia seems a perfect fit with Oolong.  The natural creamy taste and texture of this greener Oolong plays so nicely with the sweet floral notes of the magnolia.

The Oolong is sweet and vegetative, but I wouldn’t describe it as a strong vegetative presence.  It is a mild vegetative flavor that is a cross between freshly cut grass and steamed vegetables.  It tastes very fresh and vibrant.  The freshness of that grassy taste combined with the sweet flowery taste of magnolia give this tea a very spring-like sensation.

The magnolia itself is a lighter tasting flower when compared to jasmine, but I think that softness is what really makes it a perfect match for Oolong teas.  Oolong is a very complex leaf, and the subtle approach of the magnolia enhances the nuances of the Oolong without overwhelming them.

A fantastic tea … and a most memorable kiss!

Damn Fine Holiday Blend from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Company Description:

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 slow jam videos. 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.

Taster’s Review:

True to its name, this is truly a Damn Fine Holiday Blend.

While other companies are busying themselves with flavoring their teas with cranberries, cinnamon and other what-nots, the geniuses behind Andrews & Dunham’s Damn Fine Tea (um… I guess that would be Andrews & Dunham, eh?) created a Damn Fine blend of tea leaves that tastes so remarkable, that it doesn’t need flavoring.  It has plenty of delicious flavor on its own.

Rich with a trace of smokiness, this is quite a hefty tasting tea.  There is a smooth … almost creaminess to the finish that I’m finding absolutely irresistible!  There is a toothsome quality to this tea that reminds me of the chewy texture of a fresh loaf of French bread (I love it when I happen to arrive at the bakery when the loaves are still warm!)

It has a whisper of sweetness that is sort of like burnt sugar caramel… sort of like honey… but then again, not quite like either of them.  It is intriguing and delightful.  I also love the smoky quality of this tea.  It is JUST RIGHT for me – I am one that typically does not care for overwhelmingly smoky teas (Damn Fine Tea’s Caravan is an example of one that I found just a little too smoky for more than occasional enjoyment).  But this has just enough smokiness to interest me without being off-putting.

I’ve tried several teas from Damn Fine Tea now, but, I think that this one is my favorite.  It is truly delicious!  And as of this writing, this limited edition of just 200 tins of tea is half gone!  I may just have to get myself another tin before it disappears!

Jackee Muntz from Andrews and Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Andrews and Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Product Description:

The middleweight dynamo, The English Wonder of West Midlands, has yet to be defeated in a morning bout. While it is known that he prefers to maintain a strict diet of milk and raw honey for up to three days before each contest, it may also be of interest to know that he has startled all manner of audience with his feats of manly engagement. Only last week he delighted onlookers in Wollaston and Great Wyrley with his repeated submersing of both fists in boiling hot water, emerging entirely unscathed and without remark.

Andrews & Dunham insist that you soak an ample quantity of these black tea leaves from China in boiling water for no fewer than four minutes. Repeating this effort will result in further satisfaction.

Tasters Review:

Jackee Muntz – you are another Slightly Smoky Tea I find enjoyable! Jackee smells a bit smoky and tastes a little bit more smoky.

I do not smoke.  I am one of just two people where I work who do NOT smoke.  Therefore – when they take their ‘smoke-breaks’ I declare a “smoky-tea-break’ and from now on Jackee Muntz is one of the ones on my list to share a ‘smoky-tea-break’ with.

I did try a 2nd infusion on this one and found that the smokiness isn’t really there as much the 2nd time around but it’s a bit more sweet and caramel-like.

At the very least no one can say that Jackee isn’t unique!

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.