1333 Tasting Notes

My last cup of this, aww… My sample from Yezi was big enough for two cups since this is such a fluffball tea. Since I think I neglected to say last time, the dry leaf is amazingly creamy smelling with notes of honey and sweet hay. I can’t wait to to try a creamy flavored bai mudan (I’m looking at you, Cantaloupe & Cream!). This time I elected to add a little more than half a teaspoon of honey because I felt it would go beautifully. And it did! Om nom nom. Creamy and hay-like with just a touch of honey taste on the back of the tongue. So far, white tea kind of reminds me of a milder version of honeybush.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88
drank St. Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
1333 tasting notes

I am determined to like this tea as much as everyone else seems to! For some reason I can’t seem to find the red fruit flavor that is apparently there but hiding from me. So I decided that this time I would try adding some dried cranberries (just happened to have some on hand). So I added about a tablespoon or so of them to a pyrex cup with my water and microwaved it until the water was up to temperature, then poured it over the tea and let it steep.

Smelling the brew, there was a definite tart fruitiness with vanilla and bergamot in the background. And it was quite tasty! Lots of yummy cranberry flavor. Next time I’ll use slightly fewer cranberries- maybe 2 teaspoons instead of 3. I could still taste the vanilla and bergamot notes but I feel like the cranberry overpowered them just a bit. This also might work a teensy bit better with a sweeter dried fruit like a strawberry or sweet cherry. Yay experiments! :D

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

Dried cherries, yep. love them. i think St Petersburg has red currants notes. if you can find preserves in international section with Polish food, or maybe you have Russian/Polish grocery. Currants were banned in US;( because they spread some virus to some pines(something like that).

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85
drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
1333 tasting notes

Trying this lovely tea with milk and sugar this morning. I wanted it to be really creamy and latte-y so I brewed it up with 6 ounces of water instead of 8 and added those 2 ounces back in as whole milk mixed with sugar. Yum! I could stand for the tea to be a little stronger, so I may try adding extra tea in addition to reducing the water the next time I have this. Or I might try making it as a boychik chai and steeping it in simmering milk… Hm…

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

Okay, this is take 2 for cold brewed Strawberry Green Tea! After my first try, a cold brew for about 12 hours in the fridge that left something to be desired, I was hopeful that I could get the strawberry flavor to come out with a different technique. Yyz and Boychik each gave me a method to try in their helpful comments (thanks guys!). So this time I made this tea two different ways: I brewed it hot and then left it to chill in the fridge, and I did a cold brew for 6 hours instead of 12.

The verdict: this tea is just disappointing cold. Even with added sweetener, I got little to no strawberry taste out of either try. However, it was interesting to see the difference between the two methods. The hot brew liquid was a pale to medium slightly brownish green, while the cold brew was a pale yellow-green. The taste was also quite different: the cold brew tasted quite grassy and fresh while the hot was more vegetal and sweet. They were both pretty tasty, but with no strawberry… I guess it’s a good thing I like this one hot!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

So weird! Flavored greens are my favorite iced! shrug :)

Cameron B.

I would guess it’s just the type of flavoring or something… The spearmint I did came out really well and I have a couple others in the fridge right now, so I will let you know how those come out in a few hours! NEVER SURRENDER!

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70
drank Imperial Label by Kusmi Tea
1333 tasting notes

I have to say, I was a little scared when I read the ingredients on this one… Orange and vanilla (yum), cinnamon (meh), licorice root (his royal evilness), and sea buckthorn berries (…whaaaaat…?). This tea visually has the most “stuff” in it that I’ve seen from Kusmi – I’m assuming it’s chopped licorice root and the berries. The dry leaf smell is bizarre. There are obvious (and very powerful) cinnamon and licorice scents, but for some reason the overall smell reminds me of bubblegum…? There’s also definitely a sharp orange oil note. Smelling this tea made me sneeze – I think my nose thought he was under attack so he activated his ultimate defense. Yes, my nose is apparently a dude… Anyway, I brewed it at 175 for 3 minutes.

The aroma of the brew was much less worrying. It still smelled chiefly of cinnamon and licorice, but there was no bubblegum. I could also pick out the orange and a slight whiff of vanilla. Tasting it hot, the cinnamon and licorice kind of combine into one flavor and there’s a slight undertone of orange. I thought this isn’t so bad, added a bit of sugar, and let it cool a bit. Somewhere in the warm-hot range, I started tasting a lot more orange and vanilla, and it became a kind of spiced creamsicley tea. However, as it cooled past a certain point, I started to taste mostly licorice. Or should I say l-ick-orice? I read in a tasting note that this is better iced, but I can’t imagine how if it’s going to taste like eau de licorice root. I may or may not try it. Overall, this tea is not as bad as I thought it would be, but I would enjoy it more if it had more orange and vanilla flavor. Also, I don’t taste the actual tea in this at all. It seems like a strange flavor profile for a green, I would peg this description for a black tea.

P.S. – I was tempted to put “Sea Buckthorn Berries” in the flavors just to be a smartass, but it wasn’t there. No fair!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Licorice, Orange, Vanilla

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

i have a sample of it and im planning to make it as chai

Cameron B.

Oh, how do you go about doing that? Just brew it with additional spices?

boychik

Steep it in simmering milk and add some sugar or maple syrup to taste, I dunno maybe like 5 -7 min

Cameron B.

Sounds tasty, I’ll have to try that sometime. Thanks. :D

TeaBrat

I find that less is more with this one. I like it better when it’s underleafed a bit because the flavor is so strong.

Cameron B.

Do you still get the orange and vanilla at all? I found them to be very subtle even with the amount of tea that I used.

TeaBrat

I find the licorice is so strong it kind of obscures everything else. This was great when I had a bad cold last year though!

yyz

I kind of drink this as a detox tea, as the licorice and sea buckthorn have medicinal properties, so does the cinnamon. I also like licorice, soi don’t mind this one.

boychik

Oops I take my words back, I just noticed it has green base. No hot milk but maybe cold coconut milk or almond milk and sugar to get all the flavors together.

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75

This is the only green tea that I wasn’t excited about when I ordered the Kusmi green mini-tin set. I’ve never had a ginger tea before, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m not a big fan of ginger and I was afraid it would be overpowering. The dry leaf smells like lemon drops! There is a ginger scent also, but it is not as strong as the lemon. Brewed this at 175 for 3 minutes.

The aroma of the finished cup is similar to the dry leaf but more subdued. The chief scent is lemon, with the ginger as a close second, and I can also smell the vegetal green tea. The taste itself is a good marriage of lemon, ginger, and tea flavors. The ginger isn’t too sharp – it’s more of a ginger ale kind of ginger. When I tasted it piping hot, there was a definite bitterness that lingered after each sip. I added about half a teaspoon of sugar in an attempt to reign it in. This definitely reduced it a bit, but I think I may have steeped it a little longer than it liked. As the tea cooled, the bitterness lessened even more and the lemon and ginger flavors really started the meld together beautifully.

Overall, I think this is a well-balanced tea, even though it’s not my favorite flavor profile. I think next time I try it, I’ll reduce the steep time by 30 seconds or so. This one seems like it might be a good one to try chilled also!

Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Yum yum yum! I cold steeped this one for about 12 hours (1 heaping tsp for 8 oz) and it came out very tasty indeed. It’s very refreshingly spearminty – I don’t really taste green tea at all to be honest. I added some syrup because I like my minty things to be a little sweet. This would be amazing after you’ve been outside on a hot day, it’s so cooling and relaxing.

I think I may try this one again with a shorter steep time just to see if I can get a combination of green tea and spearmint flavors, but I am finding it very yummy as is. I’m going to bump up the rating a couple points. :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
sherapop

Great suggestion for iced tea—thanks!

Cameron B.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :D

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80

Trying this one as a cold brew today. I put this and some spearmint green in the fridge last night before bed (about a heaping teaspoon in 8 ounces of water for each one). Thanks again to Stephanie and Cheri for sharing your cold brew wisdom! Before taking it out, I made a simple syrup to sweeten with because trying to stir sugar into iced tea is one of my biggest pet peeves! >:|

I’m actually a little bit disappointed with this as a cold brew. The tea flavor is there, but I’m not getting nearly as much strawberry as I would like, even with sweetener added. There’s also a tiny bit of bitterness there, so I’m not sure if I shouldn’t have let it steep as long as I did (it was around 12 hours or so I think). Overall, it’s not bad but I definitely prefer this tea hot. I’m not going to change my rating because I feel like when a tea is also good iced, it’s a bonus rather than an expectation.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

im not good with cold steeps. But sometimes i make it like iced tea, hot and chill.

Cameron B.

Yeah I might try doing this one that way and see how it compares. That might help with the bitterness.

yyz

Bitterness could be caused by either too long a steep or too much leaf. I usually steep mine 6-8 hrs overnight,but I am definitely not a regular cold steeper. I cold brew my flavoured greens and some of my Oolong’s.

Cameron B.

I think I’ll try this one again with both of your methods – the chilled hot brew and the shorter cold steep. Thanks for your comments and advice! :3

Stephanie

Good luck…you are good for not getting frustrated and trying again!

Cameron B.

@Stephanie – If it had been horrible I wouldn’t try again. :P But it wasn’t bad, just underwhelming.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
1333 tasting notes

Taking a wee little break from tasting all of my new Kusmi teas and relaxing with this. From all the first-time notes I’ve been writing the past couple of days, it’s nice to just sit back and sip without thinking too hard about the flavor profile. I’m having it with sugar and whole milk this time around, and I think next time I try this I might do two sachets if I’m going to put milk in.

Do any of you lovely people have a good method for making hot or cold tea lattes? Please share if so, I have several teas I would like to try this way! :D

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

I have my comfort teas that I like when I don’t want to think to hard or I just need something stable and normal and to turn out right.

But I am curious to hear the answers to the latte question.

boychik

Sometimes i add condensed milk. But i can eat it right out the can. pls dont judge…

Cameron B.

Hah, I am definitely not one to judge when it comes to indulging! I have the most horrible sweet tooth ever, especially for creamy things. :P

boychik

Drooling…

Cameron B.

I haven’t tried it yet but I might have to… I never though of adding it to tea! What have you done?! :P

boychik

i think its better than milk and sugar, and i never buy cream. its the best consistency. but dont overdo, while its hot it seems not enough and when it cooled could be sickening sweet. in my country we dont add anything to a tea, drinking on a side with cond. milk, or preserves,or pastries. BTW many yrs ago i was in Russian Tea Room with my hubby. thats where i got my first cup of Prince Vladimir with red currant preserve on a side.

Skulleigh

I use half & half and splenda. I put them in the bottom of my cup and then froth them with a battery powered milk frother. Once it has frothed up, I add the tea.

Cameron B.

@boychik – Yeah I noticed that the sweetener is more and more effective as the teas cools when I was trying all those Russian blends. Luckily they all tasted better warm anyway!

@Skulleigh – Do you use less water when you brew the tea or do you do it normally? I could see it making sense to reduce the amount of water proportionally to the volume of the milk you’re adding.

Skulleigh

Not generally, but I tend to use a little more tea than I really need to, so it’s probably stronger anyway. I use big mugs.

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85
drank Troika by Kusmi Tea
1333 tasting notes

Another Russian tea from Kusmi! I’m rather surprised I haven’t been dreaming of bergamot after trying all of these over the last couple days… The dry leaf on this one has that familiar strong bergamot scent, but I can also pick out a whiff of orangeyness (I’m not sure I can discern the difference between orange and mandarin).

Brewing up the cup, the liquid has a lovely bergamot aroma with just a small sidenote (is that a thing…? I think it is) of a sweeter citrus. I tasted it hot and got the usual generic flavor that I’ve gotten from almost all of these teas when they’re freshly made, which is black tea with bergamot and maybe a wisp of something else. So I went the usual route, added a small amount of sugar and did some dishes while I waited for it to cool down a bit. I was definitely rewarded for my patience – like its brethren, this tea becomes much more interesting when it’s warm or room temperature. The black tea base seems quite mild to me, and smooth. The bergamot flavor is prominent but not overpowering, and the orange is not so much a separate flavor as a harbinger of better, more juicy bergamot flavor. I feel like this would be a good choice for those who enjoy a plain Earl Grey but want the bergamot to have that little… je ne sais quoi.

After trying all of these teas, I became curious what the difference is in their bases. I could definitely taste that a couple of them had a slightly stronger or bolder black tea flavor and some were more mellow. So after checking the ingredients lists on all of the tiny tins, this is what I’ve come up with: St. Petersburg and Prince Vladimir are both exclusively Chinese teas (it does specify “teas” as a plural so it is a blend), Anastasia is a blend of Chinese and Ceylon, and Bouquet of Flowers and Troika are both blends of Chinese, Ceylon, and Indian teas. Interesting. Good to know I’m not crazy for thinking the bases tasted different. :D

Aw, this is the last of the five Russian Blends I have. I’ve really enjoyed tasting and comparing them all – they are all similar enough but each has its own little personality added. Next project: try them all iced and as lattes!

Flavors: Bergamot, Orange

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m 28 years old and currently living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend of 5 years. We’re both software engineers working in the Semiconductor manufacturing field. I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-faced dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one.

I joined Steepster back in 2014, and was a very active member for a couple of years. I then took a break and have just started to drink tea again (in 2018). I am happy to be back! I have emptied my (virtual) cupboard and will fill it up slowly as I drink more teas!

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and love to use small teapots and Japanese-style cups so I don’t have to wait for a giant mug to cool! My favorite teas tend to be black or green, and often flavored.

I am also an avid yarn collector (errr, I mean knitter!) when the hot Austin weather allows for it… Find me on Ravelry under the name LorenWeiss!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, just let me know via PM!

Tea Preferences:

Likes:
Chinese black teas
Chinese green teas
Japanese green teas
Genmaicha
Earl Grey
Red fruits
Stonefruit
Berries (esp. blueberry)
Apple
Citrus
Mint
Caramel
Maple
Banana
Butterscotch

Dislikes:
Rose
Lavender
Sage
Rosemary
Strong ginger
Strong bergamot
Strong hibiscus

Favorite Purveyors:
Lupicia
Bird & Blend
Kusmi
Dammann Frères
Teavivre
Yunomi
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.ravelry.com/proje...

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