Today’s at-work sample tea bag experiment.

The Kusmi bag is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s fabric (looks like some variation of muslin?) and looks like a gauze square that was folded over some tea leaves and sewed up on three sides, then had a length of braided thread attached to it with a tag at the end.

They weren’t kidding about the flowers. The fragrance of the bag is terrifically floral, overlayed over some citrus. It’s a very deep floral, a musky floral, a perfumy floral. Doesn’t smell a lot like Earl Grey, but perhaps it will after steeping.

I don’t know how hot my water was because I forgot to bring my thermometer to work yet again, but it seemed hotter than yesterday for some reason. The aroma is very similar to the smell of the dry leaves, but more open, with some tea shining through. Still not getting an Earl Grey feel, though.

It brewed up nicely, certainly strong enough compared to my Lupicia bag experiments of yesterday. It has a very solid, sweet, black tea taste, with a sweet floral accent. The more I sip it, the more Earl Grey I get.

I like it, but it is heavy and hearty, like a heavy perfume or a hearty stew, and the sort of thing I’m likely to drink occasionally rather than frequently. Fortunately I’ll have an opportunity to get to know it better as I have a small tin of the loose leaf at home.

4 min, 0 sec

I found this one very unpleasant, but I’ve still got a sample tin of it just lying around. Based on this I feel I ought to give it one more chance.

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I found this one very unpleasant, but I’ve still got a sample tin of it just lying around. Based on this I feel I ought to give it one more chance.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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