I’m used to drinking this one bagged – I got a mixed set of Kusmi tea bags from my friend E., and this was the one that really did it for me. When the airport lounge I spend most of my transfer time at started stocking it, too, it somehow turned into one of my standard go-to teas for travel. I picked up a bag here and a bag there and never actually bought it for myself until this spring. Consequently, I’ve never had it in loose leaf form before.
The scent of the loose leaf is surprising. So much less of the lemon I’m used to from the bags, replaced by a grassiness and the slightest hint of bitter chocolate – both of which I have never encountered in the cup. Drinking it, though, is very familiar. I steep it far less than the recommended 3-4 minutes, as I feel it easily gets a bitter aftertaste. This is nearly completely avoided with a shorter steeping time (and without significant loss of flavour).
The perfect ginger-lemon tea is a bit of a Rosebud thing for me, to be honest.
I’m haunted by this Proustian reminiscence of a perfect bouillabaisse lunch shared with my best friend. We were getting ready to pay and leave when the waitress told us coffee and dessert was included, which was a nice surprise. What we got was a very dense, yet crumbly, beautifully aromatic white chocolate cake. The cup of tea I was given to go with it was an elegant green ginger-lemon; perfect for that cake. Retrospectively, that tea and this Kusmi tea have somehow merged into one, although if I dig deep, I think the restaurant tea was more sophisticated. I had a similar experience at Café Pesto in Hilo. I had a cold coming on and I exchanged my pre-, during-, and post-dinner cocktails (What happens on the island, stays on the island.) for three cups of it, enhanced by local honey. I escaped the cold unscathed. That tea also carried itself with more elegance and sophistication than the Kusmi does.
Until I know for sure, this will be the ginger-lemon green I stock.
[Purchased at Atatürk airport in Istanbul, April 2013.]