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.
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
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…
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!
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
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
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. :)
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.
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
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