If you look at the ingredients on the side of the cannister of many of the Kusmi flavored black tea blends you may be surprised to note that a large number of them read as “Earl Grey” + some additional ingredients. I’m no expert, but I take this to mean that Kusmi likes to use their Earl Grey as a base for many of their blends. Given that I love Earl Grey and I also love Kusmi teas I ordered this with high expectations. I’m sad to say this was a big letdown. Its not a bad Earl Grey, its just that the bergamot is so mild you can barely taste it. In fact to my palate this tea came across as almost bland! I suppose this is to be expected of Kusmi, because they seldom make tea with overpowering flavors, I just found it disappointing. Because of its mediocrity (but non-badness) I have to rate this one right down the middle.
16 Tasting Notes
This is a downright yummy tea from Kusmi. I like to call this a “dessert tea” becaus thats just what it reminds me of, dessert. When sugar and milk are added it has a taste similar to fruit dipped in caramel. This is a great tea to serve to guests after a meal.
When I first cracked open my sampler tin on this tea and the strength of the cinnamon hit my nostrils I immediately thought I’d made a mistake. Overpowering really is too mild a word to describe the cinnamon scent on the unbrewed leaves of this tea (it almost burns your nose). It is strong stuff! Imagine my surprise when the final brew turned out to be a quite excellent balance of cinnamon flavor and black tea. This is easily the best cinnamon tea I’ve ever tasted. My wife is a huge fan of cinnamon, so I gave her a cup to try and she was blown away. She said it reminded her a lot of a wassell her grandmother used to make at Christmas time, and I’m inclined to agree with her assessment. Although its not billed as a holiday tea, I think this is an excellent Christmastime brew that is also very easily liked by people who aren’t typically fans of drinking hot tea. A very good one to keep in the cupboard for guests (or yourself if you are a big fan of cinnamon)!
As of writing this I have two teas that are tied for the honor of “my favorite breakfast tea”. One is the Irish Breakfast from Adagio, the second is this one. The leaves have a rich earthy aroma with just a hint of smoke that can be a real eye-opener early in the morning. After steeping the brew has a nice dark color with a rich malty taste that really helps to fire up the senses and kick-start your day. If you like a rich full-bodied tea with complexity to use as a coffee replacement in the morning, you should give this one a try!
This was a pretty decent holiday blend. I guess I was expecting a stronger taste of “holiday spice” (cinamon, nutmeg, etc), but this came across really mild to me (which I suppose is something I’ve come to expect from Kusmi). On their website the description for this tea says it “tastes like a Christmas cake”, and I think its a very apt description. This does taste like a Christmas cake (specifically it reminds me of a fruitcake). If you like the idea of a tea that tastes similar to a holiday fruitcake, then this is the tea for you. I personally found it to be a good but not outstanding blend. I may reorder this at Christmas time just for the novelty of it one year, but I don’t consider this good enough to become a holiday tradition at my home.
What can I say about this Earl Grey that has not already been said? Earl Grey is one of my favorite types of tea, but this one bills itself as a “SUPREME” interpretation of the classic Earl Grey. All I can say is, it completely lives up to the hype. This is an absolutely phenomenal Earl Grey, and one of my current favorite teas of all time (as of this review). If you like Earl Grey, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. It will not disappoint.
Here’s another tea from Harney and Sons that scored high marks among other Steepsterites. Needless to say I purchased this with high expectations, so I suppose its unfortunate that I have to be the voice of dissent. I did find this blend to be interesting in the way its flavor seems to “morph” on that first sip. When it first it my tongue it seemed to have the champagne-like floral notes of a Darjeeling, yet as it traveled down the back of my mouth it seemed to change to a rich Assam with just a tiny hint of citrus on the finish. While that interesting “taste sensation” of the first cup did intrigue me I found that the more I drank, the poorer the tea began to taste. Ultimately tea began to leave an aftertaste in my mouth that I can only describe as “mildly seaweed-like”. I guess I’m trying to say this tea lost its appeal to me very quickly after the first cup. I’ve tried several subsequent brewing and have had the same results every time. Maybe its the water I’m using, maybe its not meant to be paired with sugar and milk. Either way (in my book) this tea just did not live up to the hype its found here on Steepster.
This was a decent tea, I was a little disappointed. I guess I expected more after reading the colorful description on the Harney and Sons site. To me, this just tasted like an average Mango tea. Specifically it reminded me a lot of the mango tea sold by Adagio. I even put this side-by-side with the mango tea from Adagio and took a smell to make sure. While the Harney Tea did have a much richer “tea leaf” scent to it, I still came away feeling like the “fruit” essence of those teas were pretty similar. After reading the description on the side of the tin I honestly don’t think there is a single bit of mango or mango flavoring in this tea. It just seems that whatever combination of fruit essences Harney and Sons used to craft this tea just reminds me of mango tea. I’m not a big fan of mango tea, so this one did not work for me. I’m going to try a few more brewings on it though (maybe alongside a pot of the Adagio mango for comparison). If I change my mind I’ll revisit this review.
I got a sample on this Russian Evening because I was looking for a good decaffeinated “plain tea” (just tea, with no fancy flavoring) to drink at night before I go to bed. I’m a big fan of the Russian Morning by Kusmi, so I was hoping for a similar experience from this. I’m sorry to say I was very disappointed by this blend. I hate to be harsh, but to my palate this came across as a mix of Darjeeling and Ceylon that had been over-steeped, re-dried and re-packaged. Again, I hate to be harsh (because I am such a big fan of Kusmi) but this tea just did not work for me at all.
One of my favorite “fruit tea” flavors is currant. Seeing the red currant in this really drew me in so I gave it a try. The best part about this tea is the flavors of the “4 fruits” are an excellent compliment to one another but to me the currant essence stands out above the rest. Also like most Kusmi teas the “flavoring” or “essence” (in this case) is toned down and pairs up with the signature “smoothness” of the Kusmi black Chinese tea quite nicely. The end result is nice toned-down “fruit tea” that does not fall into the “tastes like kool-aid” trap that bogs down many other fruit-flavored teas. Highly recommended!
I’m not a big green tea drinker, but I am a sucker for gunpowder green tea + spearmint. Something about the combination of that “vegetable green” taste and mint just soothes me. The low stimulant factor makes it a great nighttime tea too. For two years I purchased Moroccan Mint from Teavana to satisfy my gunpowder green + spearmint cravings. Kusmi included a sample of this in one of my orders and one taste had me hooked. I tossed out the Teavana blend in favor of this and never looked back!
This is a decent Chai, just not outstanding. It has the signature “smoothness” of a Kusmi tea and that could be one reason I can’t rate this one higher. That smooth lack of tannin I love so much in other Kusmi teas does not seem to serve this one well. I like my Chai’s bond, sassy and full of flavor. This one was just a bit too subdued for my tastes (it almost seemed bland by comparison to other Chai’s I’ve had). If a smooth and mild Chai is your thing though, this is the tea for you!
This one I have to ride the fence on. I’m still not sure if I really like it or not! The first time I brewed a pot I was really put off by the sheer strength of the “citrus” smell. I put the word “citrus” in quotes because the smell is clearly “citrus” in nature, but not one of the citrus essences used in the tea (bergamot, lemon, lime and orange blossom) really stands out above the rest. Instead I was left with with an aroma is so complex, it wound up reminding me of some sort of cheap citrus-based furniture polish or floor cleaner (harsh, but true). Normally teas using some form of citrus as flavoring are my favorite, so I had high hopes for this one and maybe that was its undoing. What saved this from being a total disaster for me was I wound up getting a pretty nasty cold the week after this arrived. Being a hardcore tea-drinker I like to whip up a black tea with honey and lemon when I get the sniffles. Since this one already had MAJOR citrus content anyway, and I did not want it to go to waste I just brewed up a pot and added some honey + milk. It wound up doing such a good job soothing me when was ill it has now become a staple at my house for when allergies and viruses attack!!! So I hate to say this is a great “sick-time” tea, but for me that’s exactly what it has become. So if you’re sick or just a huge fan of strong (yet unidentifiable) citrus flavors in your tea, give this one a shot.
I gave this a go and (sorry to everyone who loved it) but I honestly found the flavor very odd and just not very good. The novelty of the licorice was not lost on me though. I did find it fun to take a sip, and then feel the natural “sweetness” build in the back of my mouth. That was certainly a very interesting experience. However, on the basis of pure taste alone, I did not find this blend very appealing. I could just be a victim of my own palate here though, as I’m not very partial to herbals. Make no mistake, although this blend does contain some black tea, it consists predominately of the other herbal ingredients (ginseng and liquorice roots, spices, guarana seed and pink pepper). Maybe that’s why it put me off. At the very least I can use the remaining tea from my sample canister for a quick “pick-me-up” (guarana seed has double the caffeine of a coffee bean). If someone would like to suggest some sort of alternate preparation method, I’d be happy to revisit it.
As my other tasting notes indicate, I’m a big fan of Kusmi teas. Given that this is listed on their site as one of their most popular teas of course I was obligated to give it a go. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced a tea quite like Prince Vladimir. From the initial aroma to the final brew, it is a decidedly unique tea. In fact, the first time I opened the canister in the presence of one of my friends and he had a whiff, he asked me if the contents were legal!!! Like most Kusmi teas, the final brew is very smooth with virtually no bitterness and the spices are easily discernible on the palate with or without adding sugar or milk. In my opinion it is the unique nature of this tea that is its most endearing quality (as opposed to the taste alone, which is still quite good). Its always fun keep some on-hand to expose my “non-hot-tea drinking friends” to “something different”. This is just a fun tea, period.
I just wanted my first act as a Steepster member to rate this excellent tea. We have a small tea room in the city where I live. The proprietress over-ordered on this one month and (amazingly) was kind enough to give me a free tin (she knows how I love to try new teas). I’ll admit my first brewing left me less than impressed. I felt the flavor was a bit artificial, yet I found myself coming back to this tea over and over again. I finally hit on what it was I liked so much. The SMOOTHNESS of this tea. I found myself trying at one point to over-steep it to bring out the tannins and make it bitter, yet the flavor remained smooth and consistent (to my palate at least). After going through several other black tea blends by Kusmi Teas I’ve found this to be a consistent quality with most of their blacks. Maybe its a process, maybe its the quality of the leaf, I’m no expert, I just know that Kusmi Tea produces some of the smoothest drinking tea on the planet. That (I think) is why they are so appealing to many tea drinkers. Since my Troika experience I’ve had many other teas by Kusmi, but this remains my favorite. If you like Earl Grey and Orange but hate tannin, you owe it to yourself to give this a try.