16 Tasting Notes
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.
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!