Kusmi TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
As the first/signature tea by Kusmi, S insisted on getting a small tin of BoF. But yours truly (J) was the first to try it (2 tsp / 8 oz / 3 min).
Since it is black tea + bergamot, I was expecting an earl grey flavor. But the bergamot was quite light, resulting in potpourri and violet flavors being equally strong. So this is not close to an earl grey, and seeking out the bergamot sets the wrong expectations. Later in the cup, the taste of dehydrated berry came out. It probably wouldn’t make for a great iced tea because the flavors are relatively light.
The roof and sides of my mouth were dried out pretty quickly by its moderate astringency, while my tongue was relatively unscathed.
And when I stuck my nose into the post-steeping leaves, it smelled like… wet leaves. I’m not sure what else I was expecting. But it was definitely like a forest after a rain.
Steeping #2 (8 oz / 5 min) had less tea flavor, less bergamot, but the floral flavor was still strong. My mouth also felt like it was coated in something that I think could be interpreted as ‘soapy’.
Overall, it’s quite pleasant. Just don’t go in expecting earl grey, or a strong kick-you-in-the-face wake-me-up tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Berry, Flowers, Rose, Violet
I remember once drinking a vodka from Ukraine that was flavored with a combination of buffalo grass and St. John’s wort. I can’t remember what it was called, but I seem to recall it having a label with blue and silver lettering and an illustration of a dancing woman in peasant attire. I also remember buying it because it was dirt cheap-I was in graduate school and working an unpaid internship-and it was all I could afford to get drunk on at the time. Oddly enough, it was very good, especially for the price. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find it since.
Now that I am no longer drinking, I wanted something that reminded me of the freedom of my mid-twenties. Since a search for an obscure vodka was not in order, I settled on a tin of this black tea blend from Kusmi. The label clearly stated that this is a blend of Chinese black teas flavored with the essence of buffalo grass. I’m not entirely certain which kinds of black tea are used, but judging from the shape and color of the dry leaves, I am willing to bet that Keemun may be one of them.
I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 4 minutes. Obviously, I did not attempt additional infusions. I should also note that Kusmi recommends a much lower brewing temperature for this tea. I used 212 F because the label gave the recommended temperature range in degrees Celsius and I did not feel like doing the conversion at the time. After finishing two cups, however, I got curious and used my phone to convert the temperature range from Celsius to Fahrenheit. I then realized that the water I had used was much hotter than the merchant recommends. Fortunately, I found this blend to be very forgiving. The next time I fix a cup of this tea, I will try a temperature in the merchant’s recommended range to see how it compares to my initial preparation documented here.
Prior to infusion, I noted that the dry leaves gave off the unmistakable scent of buffalo grass. The smell immediately transported me back to my mid-twenties binge drinking days, only without the threats of impending nausea, inebriated (poor) decision making, and mule kick hangovers. After infusion, the dark amber tea liquor gave off lovely aromas of cream, toast, malt, and buffalo grass with a hint of spice. Do Kusmi teas ever smell bad? In the mouth, the buffalo grass is placed squarely front and center, lingering throughout from the entry to the finish. I noted pleasant flavors of toast, cocoa, malt, cream, smoke, and spices (coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg) balancing the buffalo grass. It was simpler than expected, and the blend was decidedly slight in the mouth, but it was nice. The shift from creamy and toasty to smoky and spicy beneath the prevalent note of buffalo grass was unique and appealing.
Though I tend to be something of a Kusmi Tea fanboy, I am also willing to admit that the previous reviewer who opined that the smell of their teas can be nicer and more unique than the taste may have a point with regard to a number of Kusmi products. I, however, do not necessarily agree with that assertion being applied to this particular blend. I found it to be unique, approachable, and above all, extremely easy to drink. I would have no problem recommending it to open-minded tea drinkers looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Malt, Nutmeg, Smoke, Spicy, Toast
S made a 1st steeping with 2 tsp in 8 oz, iced. Not good.
But then J had a 1st steeping with 1 tsp in 8 oz hot. Found a strong cardamom note, with other spices pushed aside. Tried adding a little extra cinnamon, but it didn’t blend well. Added milk and it rounds out the flavors – much more satisfying.
J combined the 3 tsp for the 2nd-6th steepings (5 min, add milk). Still had strong flavor for the 6th. Other spices besides cardamom were more pronounced in later steepings, with clove leading the way.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Spices
This tea is extremely strong and can be overwhelming. On the other hand, the flavor is especially nice if brewed not too strong. It has an earl grey, smoky, sweet flavor. I first tried this at a cafe and had to have it. I enjoy it from now and then, but not every day because of how intense the strength is.
Flavors: Bergamot, Orange
A friend surprised me with a sampler box of Kusmi teas, and this Darjeeling is the 2nd I’m trying, and it’s a pleasing morning cup of sweet flowers. Not at all perfumey, just lightly sweet and floral like a humming along of the otherwise somewhat brisk tea. This is the first time ever that I have actually enjoyed an astringent aspect to tea, as well, it seems to actually complement the flavor. It is a simple drinking tea with layers of interest.
It also contains Guarana (not currently on the steepster ingredients list though I wrote in to add it.) The grapefruit ingredient is listed on Kusmi’s website as “scent of grapefruit”… So apparently no actual grapefruit in it.
Liked it well enough, not clear to me why this is one of their most popular teas, though.
I have been telling myself for years now “no more buying tea”, but I don’t listen and find some excuse for buying a tea I stumble upon. This time is was a tin of Kusmi’s Sweet Love for $6 at Homegoods. $6?!?!?!? HOW could I pass that up?! I couldn’t, especially after getting a whiff of the chai like flavors. I am now richer in tea and more poor in sense and cupboard space.
I taste cinnamon and cardamon that give this tea a chai association. The end of the sip has a touch of sweetness from the licorice root. The flavor of anise comes out in the sip as well, mingling with the other spices. If you are an anise/licorice hater, move along, this is not the tea you are looking for. Overall this tea is well balanced, warming and I can’t wait to try it with a little cream. It was a good purchase, once I don’t foresee regretting.
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Flavors: Caramel, Fruity
Overall, a balanced tea. Usually, I don’t like spice in my tea, however, in this case this tea does a good job of managing the spices so that they are not sharp. The chocolate is not as strong and has a subtle darker flavor. This was a gift and I was not excited with either chocolate or the spices but I am surprised that this tea was able to deliver a flavor that was not overpowering.
Long time no talk fellow tea drinkers! I finally got a new computer so it’s easier to type notes instead of trying on a tablet. Well my mom went to Paris this past week and brought back some teas for me. One of them was Russian Morning No. 24. I decided to have it with breakfast and it was a great choice!
The tea has a nice bold flavor to it. It also has a nice sweet honey note to it. It has a fruit flavor to it that almost reminds me of warm peaches or warm apples. It has a bit of spice to it but overall has a great flavor.