This was one of the teas in a six-set Kusmi sampler that my parents brought back from their recent trip to Paris alongside some Damman Freres (although no Mariage Freres or hand-blown French tea pots . . . thanks, Mum!) although it is one of about ten Kusmi teas I have been interested in trying.
On initial inspection, the tightly rolled Gunpowder pellets are fairly even in size. The scent is rather strong, reminiscent of traditional boiled sweets or stodgy-English puddings and desserts. It’s not quite citrus and not quite caramel. The scent intensifies when hot water is poured into the tea pot.
After brewing for just under three minutes, the colour is a beautiful, light-caramel colour. My initial impression is that it’s an interesting blend, perhaps rather too complex to make more than the occasional appearance at afternoon tea. Perhaps future tastings may change this, but I find red fruits in my tea a little too intense to drink on a regular basis. The sweetness of the caramel tempers the earthy leatheriness of regular gunpowder tea and gives a full-bodied mouthfeel, the red fruits leaves a tingling sensation on the centre of the tongue between each mouthful, but I can’t really detect the vanilla.
It’s rather fitting that I’m drinking this very French tea – despite it’s Russian origins – out of those ubiquitous French espresso glasses which are just perfect for white, green and fruit teas. I would be interested in learning of any real connection that this tea has to St Petersburg, or is just one of a series of Kusmi teas bearing a Russian name? At any rate, I will definitely be trying this tea again, perhaps at a French-themed afternoon tea.