drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
953 tasting notes

After my last cup of tea I ate dinner, and I still haven’t done the weight workout. It’s because I need a caffeine boost first. Otherwise how can I possibly be expected to “just do it”! Yeah, that’s the ticket. So I’m going to have another cup of tea.

I wanted a Kusmi for some reason, and I couldn’t decide which one so I did a little bit of a GM sampler redux here and just stuck my hand in among the black teas until I got a Kusmi. This was the one that came up.

I’ve decided I really need to read War and Peace so I’m in a sort of a Russified mood, and so it was somewhat fitting that this Russian sampler one came up. The Kusmi samplers are in itty bitty tins that look like baby versions of the bigger ones. Is it just me, or does anyone else get a Fancy Feast vibe from these itty bitty cans?

In the itty bitty can, Anastasia smells flowery and citrusy in that French perfume sort of way that many of the French teas seem to have. I definitely smell lemon, and the bergamot is there but seems like it’s sitting in the back seat. I am coming to believe that when one puts lemon with bergamot, the lemon will always come to the fore. This is, in any case, my working hypothesis.

Deep mahogany liquor. A very ceylon aroma, sweet molasses smell. There’s a fruity smell but it’s not wholly citrus. It’s more of a sort of dark berry smell I’ve smelled in Ceylons before with citrus around the edges. It’s like someone rolled a berry in a primarily lemon coating that had some orange sprinkled in.

I was expecting a strong fruit flavor but I’m really not getting that at all. It does have a sort of Earl Grey feel, but only in a tangential way. The main citrus flavor is lemon, and it adds a bright little sparkle, but it isn’t overly strong. I like the lemon in this. It’s not too tart or soapy.

But there’s more to the fruit than the citrus. I get a sort of a berry flavor to the tea as well. The tea is generally smooth with a little bit of bite right at the end every few sips. It’s not really full bodied, but it gives the impression of being that way.

It’s a really interesting tea, somewhat surprising. I wasn’t really expecting to like it, but I do. I will have to taste it against the TeaFrog Earl Grey Special just for laughs when my TeaFrog order arrives.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Fancy Feast! LOL! I will forever think of that when I see the lil kusmis!

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Fancy Feast! LOL! I will forever think of that when I see the lil kusmis!

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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