So I accidentally went into this shop today where they have all this here Kusmi. It was actually buy myself a different sort of treat entirely (chocolate covered almonds om nom nom) but this was in the same section of the shop, so I thought I should at least have a glance, you know? Just in case anything had changed. nod nod
Long story short, I allowed myself to be inspired. Which is strange really, because I’ve not had very consistent luck with apple-flavoured things. I’ve had things which were quite nice. Yoghurt for example is very nice with apple. As are pancakes. Jelly beans with apple not so much. Too synthetic tasting. Various tisanes with apple bits in, absolutely horrid.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this. O.o
At first when I opened the tin a very apple-y aroma came at me. Then when I smelled the leaves a bit more closely, it had that apple in it still, but also, mysteriously, something almost sort of spicy. I’m afraid my immediate thought was paprika…
Obviously this doesn’t have any spices in it, but it is pretty odd. It’s the same thing after steeping, only the apple aroma is smoother and more pronounced. That funny spicy note was still there though. I had to go into the kitchen and smell an apple in order to figure out what to do with that note.
Did you know that apples smell slightly spicy when you pay attention? I didn’t know that!
Just saying something is ‘apple flavoured’ is really a bit of a problem though. There are so many different sorts of apples, and apples are one of the fruits with enormous taste variation between sorts. I tend to like Pink Lady best, and was once recommended Fuji based on that preference. I did not like Fuji at all. So in moments of Most Glorious OCD, I’m sitting here kind of wanting to know what sort of apple it’s supposedly flavoured with.
Anyway, nitpicking aside, it’s time to have a look at the flavour of this, and that’s where that spicy note comes in again.
I was really surprised by the flavour of this at first sip. The very first note, right up front and stomping onto the tongue with boots on, is something that most of all tastes dusty. The sort of dusty flavour that I get from jasmine scented teas or in some cases heavy bergamot.
What the blinking heck???
This is not something I associate with apples at all. It’s not something I associate with generic Chinese black (base tea) either. I did not oversteep, I did not use more leaf than normal, I used the recommended steeping temperature (85°C-90°C, which is what I use for ALL flavoured black). Nothing but black tea and apple flavouring is listed as ingredients. So where that is coming from I can’t for the life of me figure out. (It’s not impossible that it’s contamination from the pot, but it seems rather too much for that)
Thankfully, as it cools a bit to a more drinking friendly temperature, this off-putting phenomenon goes away. Now the apple flavour, which was only present in the background before, is coming out in spades. Spades, I tell you! Spades! Diamonds, hearts and clubs as well. The whole deck, in fact, has gone all apple-y. I’m not accustomed to this strong flavouring in a Kusmi tea. They, in my experience, tend to be a lot more subtle, but this one is certainly an exception.
And yeah, it’s still one of those spicy apple sorts. The reason I didn’t like Fuji, as I mentioned earlier, was because I thought it had a sort of bitter note to it. I wonder if this is actually the same sort of thing as was causing that initial unpleasantness for me earlier. This is just not flavoured after my particular preference in apple.
It’s really surprisingly good now that it’s more apple, less dust, even if it’s not my ideal place in the apple spectrum. I find that spicy note somewhat distracting, but I can deal with it, I think. This is probably not one I’ll buy again when it’s gone, but it’s good enough that I might decide to try other apple flavoured teas should I come across them. I definitely don’t think that these leaves are going to linger on the shelf for years untouched. They will be used.