Thomas Sampson from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Sorry, this tea is no longer available.

Company Description:

Legendary throughout the Northern Circuit, Big Thomas, The Breeze from the Mountain, is twice a champion bare-fisted tree-puncher. He did, in fact, earn his first title before becoming aware that he was involved in a contest, so great is his impatience with obstacles be they festooned in leaf or adorned in hide. Watch as Thomas boils with rage! Marvel at his great brawn! See with your very own eyes that none can withstand more than four minutes of his brutal attention!

Andrews & Dunham recommend that the brewing of this Assam black tea from India be performed by inserting the leaves into freshly boiled water for a duration of exactly four minutes. A strong, malty beverage will then be yours to enjoy in any manner you choose. A hasty preparation will yield a pale and gutless liquor. A more prolonged duration invites bitterness.

Taster’s Review:

Hooray for online tea friends!  I received a sampling of this rare tea from a friend on Steepster!  (Thanks!)  This is a tea that I would not have been able to try otherwise, as it is no longer available.

You see, Andrews & Dunham – the minds that bring us Damn Fine Tea – release their teas in limited edition series.  You buy the full series (usually 3 teas to a series, but, in the case of Series 2, which this tea is part of, there were only 2 teas), and the orders arrive promptly to your door.  (I know this because I ordered series 3, and I was astonished at how quickly my order arrived)  The downside is that once the limited edition is sold-out, those teas can no longer be purchased.  That is the case with this tea.

A very bold, brisk Assam tea.  Lots of vigor to the flavor.  A malty note, although not quite as malty as some Assam teas I’ve tasted.  What it lacks in the malty flavor, it more than makes up for in bold brashness!  And I mean that in a good way!  This is a very seriously stout black tea.

The steeping suggestions provided by Andrews and Dunham state that 4 minutes would produce an optimum cup.  However, my personal experience with Assam teas has been that anything over 2 ½ minutes = a bitter brew.  So, rather than risking it (I had precious few leaves of this wonderful tea) I let my experience overrule the purveyors parameters and brewed for just 2 ½ minutes.

The result is a beautifully bold, vigorous tea.  A pleasant malty flavor that peaks in the finish.  A bit of astringency, but not overwhelming.  And most importantly, at least for my palate – NO bitterness!  Just one very fabulous cup of tea that is delicious hot, served with just a drizzle of raw honey and a splash of milk to bring out some of the richer qualities of the tea.  Of course, for the purists out there, no milk or honey is needed – I just happen to prefer taking my Assam that way.

The second infusion is even more flavorful than the first.  The bold strength of the tea softens to reveal a complex liquor with notes of fruit.  I can taste a bit more malty character in the second infusion as well.

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