I got a sample of this at the same time I found the great big tin of Kusmi’s Caramel. It was Lena’s recent post about it that made me want to try it out. I want to see how it holds up to Kusmi’s Samovar (which they also had a sample of btw. I didn’t have to go to France to get that one after all, apparently. Except I think I’d still have wanted a full sized tin of it).
It’s been standing around in my kitchen for a while because I wasn’t really in the right mindset to do a first post type post. They take much more thought activity to write than other posts. (I’m also, as you may have noticed, currently spectacularly rubbish at keeping up with the follow list these days. Sorry about that)
Anyway, I pried open the little tin with some difficulty and took a look at the leaves. They had that sort of dusty black look to them and looked just like your average tea leaves. They had a nicely fresh aroma, though. Kind of Darjeeling-y greenish grass-y fresh, nearly. Kusmi isn’t very forthcoming about the exact contents of the tin apart from black tea from these countries. Not even the district. So I don’t know if there is Darjeeling in it, but it definitely smells a lot like there is. Interesting.
Due to the nature of the cup I can’t really say for certain but it looks remarkably dark. Almost as dark as coffee. Interesting. It may have something to do with my brewing though. Lately my pattern has changed a bit in regards to steeping time and leaf usage.
The aroma after brewing is fairly far away from the aroma of the dry leaves. Gone is the Darjeeling-y character, and instead there’s a very very sweet note. Honey-y even. That rather smells a bit like Assam or Ceylon of some sort to me. It smells as if it has been sweetened with a generous amount of honey, to be honest, but I swear I’ve added nothing to it. Interesting.
Okay, this is a little bitter, which again brings Darjeeling to mind. It definitely has a hint of overdone Darjeeling. I need to mess with the leaf dosage here, I think.
I’m pretty sure there is some smoke in there too, but the bitterness is masking it somewhat. That’s a little annoying. It also doesn’t taste even remotely as sweet as it smells at this point, but I think that’s also there underneath the little mishap from above.
This definitely has the potential of being a really awesome tea, but I’m going to hold off on giving it a rating for now. I need to play with it a bit first and see if I can get that unruly Darjeeling note to step in line.
It hasn’t turn so bitter at this point as to be undrinkable, and a dose of cane sugar helped immensely. (I have this nice sugar dispenser thing which is much easier and much more decorative to keep on the table than a bowl of sugar) With that sugar in it the bitterness is pushed way back and the other flavours are coming out to play.
There’s a fair amount of astringency in this actually. (I think. Could also be I’m just thirsty) I can definitely pick up the Ceylon-y parts of the flavour at this point. Strangely the hint of the honey-y sweetness hasn’t really been brought out by the addition of sugar like you would think they would. Instead they seem to have almost disappeared… Odd.
I don’t have any milk, but if I had, I’d definitely have tried it with a bit of milk too. I’m certain this is strong enough to be able to carry milk, even if it hasn’t been a little overdosed like this particular cup has.
Considering how it turned out once I added some sugar and the promises it makes if NOT overdone, I’m thinking somewhere around 75-80 points-ish. But without a better brewing, I don’t really feel comfortable giving it a ‘real’ rating yet.