drank Spicy Chocolate by Kusmi Tea
111 tasting notes

Hubby is coming down with a mean cold, so I figured some chai-like spicy tea might halp me keep it away.
I have been given the afternoon Kusmi set at Christmas, which I probably never would have bought on my own. I usually do not really enjoy drinking spice-flavored tea. However I’ve got a small tin and those will be perfect to store nice teas at my desk in the office. So better try to drink it fast;)
The flavors when opening the tin are really nice and seem strong on chocolate, plus spices, but not curry-like flavors.
Once brewed, I was wondering how it would come out, as I had been a bit light in my serving. It was actually strong enough (and I managed to resteep it twice with no problem, which proves the leaves are rather good quality). The color is a bit dark but very clear.
The taste is slightly disappointing as I looked, searched and wandered around for the chocolate, but it was not very obvious and not as strong flavored as I expected; I was searching for a very dark chocolate, with a very high concentration in cocoa and could only come with the flavors of an industrial average-supermarket brand which would lower the cocoa content to optimize the price of the product. Not so appealing!
Then the spices: not so unpleasant as I was afraid of, with two popping up to mind: cinnamon first and then underlying it all and lasting so long after, clove. This last flavor is a bit overwhelming (and it can easily be so). After drinking it, I really felt the same taste on my lips I had after smoking kretek (Indonesian clove-flavored cigarettes) when I was much younger, without the cold ashtray feeling inside my mouth.
I will not buy it again, but should able to reasonably finish the tin, especially convincing myself that the clove inside the blend will help improve my gums…

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I finished the small tin yesterday without having to force myself to pick this one up – unlike most of the others I got.

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I finished the small tin yesterday without having to force myself to pick this one up – unlike most of the others I got.

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I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.



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