drank Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
953 tasting notes

I read Lauren’s note after I’d already made this and discovered that I, too, made it too hot. Makes me want to go back to all the Kusmis I didn’t find very successful and try them at lower temps to see what happens.

In the tin, there’s a fairly mild scent of vanilla over earthy black tea. The vanilla is not strong in the aroma. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it isn’t present though because I’m under the weather, and my smeller and taster could be somewhat off today.

The vanilla in the flavor is kind of sneaky. I don’t taste it much until the after-sip, when it kicks in, sort of like the tail on the Caramel. Just sort of pops up and sweeps over the tongue, like a wave of flavor. And, like real ocean waves, some are bigger sweeps than others.

I do want to give it a shot at a lower water temp and see what difference that may make. It’s not as disappointing as the chocolates were to me, but except for those sweeps when the flavor really pops out, it’s not a stand out vanilla. I’m still liking Black Orchid and Vanilla Dian Hong for stand out vanillas.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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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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