2183 Tasting Notes
Oh, Monday. I really didn’t want to see your face this morning. Hopefully a new black tea will perk me up a bit. All the Kusmi bergamot blends have been on my list of things I wanted to try for quite a while now, but I still haven’t gotten around to going to the Kusmi store in NYC to buy a sample pack. I was very excited when I saw this surprise sample in my recent swap with Infusin_Susan! Thanks!! This one is interesting because I’ve tried what are basically several of the components of this tea—Kusmi’s Caramel and their Red Fruits—and I love my bergamot/red fruits blend tea from Argentina.
From the steeped tea I get primarily the scent of a red fruits black tea and perhaps a hint of vanilla. There’s a brightness that might be the bergamot poking through, but it’s not a major player in the aroma. In the sip the flavors come one after another… I feel like I get the bergamot first in the sip, bright and citrusy, then a rich red fruits blend, then a vanilla/caramel flavor that blooms at the end of the sip. They all mix together at the end and leave me with quite a nice flavor. I taste more of the fruits than the vanilla/caramel in this, but the latter do round out the flavor and make it fuller and richer. This tea doesn’t knock my socks off but I do really enjoy it, and it confirms the quality of Kusmi’s blends.
This tea comes to me thanks to Infusin_Susan! I wanted to try one of the new teas I got in our swap, and I chose this one because I wouldn’t have to fuss about with water temperature at home. The steeping directions on the sample packet were some of the most detailed I’ve seen. They also only call for 3/4 tsp of tea per 6oz cup, which is a bit low. I think that this is a strong tea and they know it. The bergamot just about knocks you out when you sniff the dry tea. Double bergamot and not kidding about it!
Steeped, the tea is still more bergamotty than most teas at this point, but it has decreased a lot. It’s joined by the smell of a hearty Ceylon base. This tea is for bergamot lovers only, but it is a good one. The bergamot is at no time bitter or astringent; it never gets that weird citrus-pith bitterness that comes out with some strong bergamots. This is a citrusy, lovely bergamot with a nice ceylon base that gives it a cakey feeling. The more I drink it the more I really like it. I have these bergamot candies I bought in Paris, and the after taste of this tea is like eating one of those candies. I’m interested to try this back-to-back with some of my other favorite Earls. Thanks again, Infusin_Susan, for the swap!
I said I wasn’t going to buy any tea (outside of groupons) before I went to China, but I allowed myself to buy a hot cup of tea from the tea shop near where I get my hair cut. It doesn’t count if I don’t add anything to my stash, right? I don’t actually go there all that often, mostly because they seem to be mostly just wholesale blends and these days I dry to buy from places that blend their own tea. One thing I did discover is that they seem to carry Teas Etc.’s Fig Formosa tea, and since the smallest size Teas Etc. sells on their website is 3oz, I will be able to try it from You, Me and Tea in smaller quantity, which is great.
Anyway, I decided to get this milk oolong to go. The dry leaf smelled like your typical milky oolong, creamy and milky and sweet. I had no control over anything to do with the steeping parameters of this cup. The woman making it put some cold water in the cup before adding water from the presumably near-boiling water in her water heater, and it seemed like the timer was going for about 3 minutes.
When I first smelled the steeped tea it totally shocked me. It smelled like straight up vegetable broth, very savory, definitely not what I was expecting. Early on when the tea was still very hot I couldn’t detect any creamy aromas or flavors at all, but as it cooled they came out. In the end the tea was very much like buttered veggies and was decidedly the most un-floral green oolong I’ve ever tasted. It reminded me more of the Bi Luo Chun Green tea I had from Teavivre than any oolong I’ve had. It tasted pretty decent once I got used to it but it just took me a while to get past my initial expectations. I have no idea how much this experience had to do with the steeping parameters, so I’m not going to rate the tea, but I’m also not going to buy anymore, heh.
This is another tea I’m revisiting after a long period of time in which I have tried a lot of different green oolongs. I think I appreciate it better now. It’s vegetal, it’s floral, it’s a little buttery, it’s a little nutty, it’s got that honeyish note that ties it all together. It’s also a hint astringent, but not in a bad way… it’s just on that end of the spectrum rather than the creamy mouthfeel side of it. All in all a very nice tea and I’m definitely enjoying it a lot.
Drinking this tea almost back-to-back with Talbott’s Chocolate Almond Allure really makes me appreciate how much caramel is in that tea. Anyway, this is a tasting note for this tea, not for that one! I really enjoy this tea and it’s super delicious caramel flavor. It’s kind of one of those teas that I like a lot but I don’t know if I would need to keep it around all the time. Of course, I really don’t think I’m ever going to get down to some hypothetical pared-down cupboard of only essentials, and if I was in the Kusmi store in NYC I might pick up some more of this anyway. It really is a lovely tea.
I was running low on this one, but I now have a good supply in my cupboard thanks to my swap with Wonks. Thanks! This really is one of my all-time favorite teas.
An aside: why are there never any tea groupons or groupon-style deals anymore? I used to come across them very frequently, but it’s been totally dead for a while now. I was thinking of it because I discovered this tea company via a Groupon. Not that I need to be buying tea groupons now, but still. I miss them. I’m a deal addict and I haven’t bought a groupon in ages because there hasn’t been anything interesting.
I’m pretty sure this is my first ever dong ding… I’ve tried a lot of higher altitude varietals, but not one of these before. I just got done teaching the first class of the semester, then gossiping with faculty about other people in our field, so I’ve been talking a lot and my throat’s a bit sore. :D A nice oolong should help, I think.
It certainly smells nice… buttery and creamy and floral and a hint vegetal. And I’m really enjoying the flavors as well! Nicely floral, creamy mouthfeel, a bit of buttery vegetables. I’m thinking I need to try dong dings more often! I really like combo of the dark florals with the buttery, creamy notes. Now I feel like I should try more dong dings before I go to China, but alas I am on a tea buying moratorium.
I was going to go with a post-lunch green oolong—one of my untried ones from thepuriTea perhaps—but I felt like the lingering flavor in my mouth and scent on my fingers of the blood orange I had with lunch might skew my tasting. I wanted to go for something a bit more robust and fruity, so as I was going through my samples this one jumped out at me. Also I was making a “standard panel” tea board on Pinterest so that I can remember what teas I really want to always have in my cupboard and I wanted to try this one again, though I’m pretty sure this is a keeper anyway. I realize I could probably just look at my tea ratings list and go for the highest-rated teas, and it’s not like I’m going to easily forget my favorite teas, but I really wanted a separate list and there’s not really something that would serve that function here on Steepster.
Anyway, I love lychees and I love this tea. I want to go buy a big bag of lychees, and maybe I’ll stop at the asian grocery this weekend and do it. The base of this tea is just a perfect compliment as well. Yum.
Can we have a real winter please? I like the snow, and I’m getting tired of the endless cold rain we’ve been having instead. Oh well, at least I have delicious tea to perk me up since this dreary morning didn’t help at all.
This is a sample I never want to end! It definitely goes on my list of standard panel, must have teas. I’ve written so much about this tea already that I don’t really have anything left to say except that I love this floral Earl Grey and it’s definitely my favorite of it’s type.