62 Tasting Notes

drank Chocolate Kiss by Sonnentor
62 tasting notes

I don’t know what I think about this. I didn’t notice before making it that it has licorice in it, and my reason for feeling unsure about it might be because of that. Cocoa and licorice? Hmmm. This smells weird and tastes weird. In a way, it’s a good thing, but it also kind of tastes like someone went crazy with mixing spices into a weak chocolate milk, and to me, that’s not really an appetising thing. It might have been better with some ginger, as well. That’s just speculation, though (mostly based on the fact that I think ginger is one of those spices that can make a tea really fantastic.) I’ve never actually had ginger with cocoa. But my dad thinks it’s amazing, and he has good taste.

I wish I could be more descriptive about this but, not thinking, I had a strongly flavoured dinner before drinking this, and I’m having a hard time breaking down the elements of the taste, which is even more complicated because I added soy milk to it, diluting the essence of the flavour. I added it because I thought it went with the taste, but I had tasted it beforehand and there was nothing necessarily lacking, so maybe it wasn’t the best choice. I’ve got a whole box of this, so it’s not a disaster that I can’t be more descriptive about it at this point. From the slightly muddy, kind of mismatched flavour I’m getting from this now, I’d say this is one of those “just okay” teas. I got it because I like spices and haven’t had a spice and cocoa tea before (I don’t even really like cocoa or chocolate, so it was pretty much an experiment from the get-go [though the chocolate flavour isn’t what I haven’t liked about the tea]), and also, I’m auditioning teas without caffeine for drinking on these cold nights in Germany. When it first gets into your mouth and you get that combination of the spices and cocoa (when you take a sip, the cocoa and cinnamon are the most prominent tastes at the very beginning of the mouthful), it works very well, but some element is holding it back by dragging it down into a mess of overly herbal flavour. This is really annoying, because with the soy milk in it and that initial mixture of the cocoa and cinnamon flavour, this seems like an original and quite tasty tea. Then that gross thing pops its head around the corner and offers greetings while my tastebuds shrink away.

Basically, I don’t like the way this tea smells, and when I think of combining spices with chocolate, I think of a rich, flavourful result, which this s not. It’s not bad, and as someone who isn’t that into combining chocolate and spices, I find it drinkable, but I wouldn’t buy more packages of it.
Oh, also I had this tea with my dessert, which was a snack bar made out of dates, sultanas, coconut, and oats. It really went with the overarching coconut flavour of the bar, and I think it’s the spices that matched it. If you haven’t tried having chai (or other spiced teas) with a coconut-y dessert, or even with coconut milk in it, that might be something to consider in future. Chai’s pretty heavy with coconut milk in it, though. It might be a good idea to use the lower fat one.

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drank Lemon-Vanilla by Meßmer
62 tasting notes

This is a weird tea. When I smell lemon and vanilla together, I think, “What a combination!” This representation of it doesn’t make me feel that way, though. It lacks the voluptuous vanilla characteristic of Meßmer’s vanilla green, but thankfully, unlike Meßmer’s “lemon green”, the lemon here is clearly lemon, not some kind of lemongrass-tasting business. This tea’s taste kind of reminds me of a lemon flavoured cold-remedy, even though it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve drank that. The lemon isn’t at all fresh-tasting, juicy, or zesty. It could well be the hint of vanilla that’s bringing it to more of a mellowness, but when I envision a lemon-vanilla combination, I don’t necessarily imagine that subdued nature. I think of an overall smooth, full taste with a zesty, true to life lemon flavour and a full, fragrant vanilla to match. That’s not this tea’s flavour at all. It’s not unpleasant, it’s just a bit “meh,” really. Sweetened, it’s more of just a subdued lemon tea with a tiny hint of something to suggest vanilla, but not enough so that if you drank if unaware it’s a vanilla lemon tea, you’d realise that it is more than a lemon tea. The taste left in your mouth represents it as more two-flavoured than it tastes.

Even though the lemon isn’t very true to life in my books, it might be more real tasting than what I’ve had in lemon-ginger tea combinations so far. It might be a nice sweetened tea to drink if you’re sick in bed, but I don’t think it has as much flavour as it should. Maybe it’s just that the flavour it does have is pretty average. With some powdered vanilla and lemon zest or rind, I may be more impressed, but as it is, the tea’s nothing to write home about.

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drank Lemon Green Tea by Meßmer
62 tasting notes

Geht nicht! Hahaha!
I guess I thought before that the deliciousness of Meßmer’s green vanilla tea would mean that the brand has a lot of other great teas. I’ve tried maybe six or seven, not all of which have been subject to a Steepster review yet, and I think the green vanilla is the only one I definitely want a place for in my collection. This tea is not changing my mind about that.
I don’t know how this tea’s flavour went wrong. It’s like the flipside to Kusmi’s Lemon & Ginger Green (as in, there was actually a vaguely lemon flavour with this green, whereas in Kusmi’s lemon was pretty much non-existent) or the Kusmi Detox for people who don’t necessarily want to feel like they’re drinking wet tobacco. I’m not happy that this is in a full pack of 25 and that I now have 24 more bags to use up. The smell was a bit of a giveaway that the flavour wouldn’t be what I wanted it to be, but I thought it’d be no problem in the end because citrus and green tea is something I think really works, especially lemon and green tea. So what’s the problem? It just tastes like a pretty forgettable, easily embittered green with a hint of a kind of lemon that really does nothing for me. It actually tastes to me a lot more like a lemongrass and green tea mixture than a legitimate lemon green tea. I wish I could be more descriptive, but all I want to do is throw some lemon juice and zest in this tea and sweeten it. I think I’m inclined to be even harsher, because the lemongrassy character of it sends my mind straight back to Kusmi Detox, and that is one godawful tea.

Lemon green tea is a stellar idea, but this is a pretty dismal execution. It’s not cringingly bad or unsalvagable through additives, so I won’t throw it out at this point. I think in future I’m going to be a bit more upmarket with my green tea and lemon selections, because I don’t want to be disappointed again. This combination shouldn’t be that hard to get right, and if I can get a better flavour than your tea has by mixing my own lemon with a plain tea, you’ve failed as a company. I don’t think the average tea drinker wants to be a mixologist to get a good-tasting tea (especially when the desired flavour is ridiculously simple), and they don’t want to have to mix a number of products or ingredients together to get the flavour that another product could deliver right off the bat. If this were some complicated, exotic flavour that’s hard to reproduce in tea form, I might understand why it’d be hard to get it right. It’s lemon and green tea! RDTGHUJKLJHGFDGD!

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drank Vanilla Black Tea by Meßmer
62 tasting notes

Sadly, I felt a bit letdown by this. Why? Because I’ve had two Meßmer vanilla green tea lattes this week and they were the high point of my tea drinking week. I chased this up on Amazon Germany because I knew it existed but didn’t see it in my supermarket and thought it would surely be great given how excellent the brand’s vanilla green tea is. Not really, though. It’s not that the tea has anything really terrible or unappealing about it, it’s just that it tasted pretty much the same as the vanilla rooibos I had a little while ago. I could be drinking rooibos any time of the day or night, but can’t do that with black tea, so the black comes off second best in this situation. I noticed barely any difference between the flavour of this tea and the vanilla rooibos (other than the fact that the tea base here was slightly more assertive in terms of flavour), though admittedly, I haven’t had the vanilla rooibos in several months so there could be differences I’m simplifying.

I don’t know if the vanilla used in this is the same as the vanilla used in the other brands’ rooibos vanilla flavouring, but it tastes the same to me, and I don’t know if the vanilla used in this is different to the vanilla used in Meßmer’s vanilla green tea (the ingredients imply that it’s not), but it tastes quite different to me. It smells the same in the bag though, so it’s probably how differently the flavours combine with black and green teas. It’s a degree of difference I didn’t anticipate.

I don’t think this is a bad tea for the price, and I’m not even that annoyed at myself for having accidentally bought a pack of two boxes of it and thus having 39 more bags of it to get through when one cup of caffeinated tea a day is my maximum—it’s just that there’s probably more enjoyable vanilla black teas out there waiting for me (and I know there’s a huge number of them available) and I mostly got this because I expected it to be as good as the brand’s vanilla green. I wouldn’t specifically not recommend it (it will wake you up, it tastes pretty good, and it’s cheap), but it won’t challenge you, be a uniquely delicious take on a classic theme, or anything else like that. I had this as a latte, but I tried it with just the sweetener (before adding soy milk) and it seemed fine that way, too. With this many bags to use up, I will probably use the vanilla bean powder I bought on my trip to Paris to make future lattes with this tea something to really look forward to.

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drank St. Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

It’s always so nice when you write a big lot of text for something and then your computer gets crazy and you lose all of it. Thanks very much, laptop. You’ve done well!

Anyway, I was surprised to see that many reviews if this either made no mention of the berry element or downplayed it. To me, it’s primarily a black tea (an assertive one that isn’t dominated by the other flavours) with the second most noticeable flavour being very much the red berries and then caramel. If I’m really looking for it, I can taste just a “vibe” of the bergamot (mostly at the end up the mouthful), but it’s really only a wisp.

The taste and smell of this in a latte reminded me a lot of these chocolates you can get in Australia called strawberry Caramello Koalas. If you’re not from Australia, you probably have no idea what that is, but it’s just milk chocolate filled with a strawberry caramel centre and I’m pretty sure it’d be no different to any of those generic-type boxed chocolates with the gooey strawberry centres. I don’t like any of that, so the fact that the tea reminded me of it wasn’t really a selling point, but the tea was actually pretty enjoyable. It was perhaps a bit too dessert-y with the sweetener and soy milk, but I thought even the aroma of the brewed tea with nothing added was quite heavy on the berries and caramel, so I don’t know think it’s one of those teas that gives you a lot of options. I don’t know—it just felt like a bit much to me to have that strong berry plus caramel plus sweetener plus soy milk. Arguably, you could leave out the sweetener and milk, but when it smells like something from a chocolate box, that doesn’t seem like a good option.

If you don’t like black tea to begin with, you probably won’t like this. It could be that I’m more sensitive to the taste than other people because I haven’t drank that much black tea in my life, but anyway. Also, the dry smell isn’t really an indication of the taste of this tea. It smelled much more citrus-sy (when I didn’t even taste citrus in the brewed version), but really, I always smell these bags before I brew them and the Kusmi ones often don’t taste like their dry smell.

I have another bag of this from my sampler pack to try, but my feeling is basically that this is a nice tea for a change of pace, but it’s not a “regular basis” to for me. It’s just a bit too weird to have all these elements coming together at once in one drink.

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This tea is a perfect example of why being pretentious about the teas you buy isn’t necessarily advantageous. This tea cost something like a couple of euros for a box of 25 (fannings) bags, but in my books, the taste simply can’t be argued with. I never make lattes with or sweeten green tea (in fact, I think this was the first time ever), but I thought the incredibly rich vanilla flavour here called for it.

It was probably the best tea latte I’ve ever had.

I didn’t know that something could balance that richness of flavour with a kind of airy, ethereal quality. And the smell is just divine from start to finish. I wish I could put it into words. I love vanilla so much, and this has not disappointed me one bit! Oh, it’s good.

In a way, I have to admit that when I see flavour in tea ingredients, I feel a bit like the company’s cheating. But it’s pretty commonplace, and how a company uses the flavours involved can make all the difference, and show a company’s skill. With cheap tea, it feels like a necessary evil, in any case. I’d probably prefer teas to be sweetened solely through having bits of plants in them, but with a lot of teas, that isn’t the case, and with flavour like this, I feel like I can’t complain. This tea actually contains both vanilla flavour and vanilla. I don’t know if that’s how it has the taste it does, but holy cow!

You can’t re-steep this, but I guess that’s the standard thing for teas made from fannings. I guess I hadn’t really thought about that fact before today because I used to use the used tea bag together with a fresh one to brew a new cup of tea, which I didn’t do with this, because I’m keeping it to one caffeinated beverage a day now (This hasn’t really applied to second steepings of the Kusmi teas I’ve reviewed lately, because you can effectively re-use the leaves again if you steep them for a longer time , or just boil them for a while, which really didn’t work here.) The second steeping still tasted nice, but it didn’t really taste like a proper tea latte or anything.

If you’re looking for something that’s a complex green with vanilla woven subtly in, this will probably not please you. I don’t find it to be a fake-tasting, loud vanilla, but it’s definitely an assertive one, and is there against a backdrop of simple, single note, dry grass-tasting green tea. That might sound weirdly unappetising, but personally, vanilla and grass and two of my favourite smells (that’s the case for a lot of people, isn’t it?), so really, it makes a lot of sense.

I think sometimes tastes or scents don’t necessarily need to challenge you. Lately, I’ve mostly been trying a lot of these Kusmi teas that have a lot of flavour combinations that I hadn’t had before, and a lot of black tea mixes. Before a few months ago, I hadn’t even drank a cup of black tea in 20 years, nor had I had teas with as many flavour elements as some of them have. This tea is unlike those, and in a way I’m glad about that. I think in a latte, it’s something that could be considered a crowd pleaser—I think this could impress someone who thinks they don’t really like tea, a veteran cappuccino drinker, or someone who just likes sweet, fragrant things. I think milky, sweet things appeal to pretty much everyone, and maybe it’s just because I don’t like coffee, but I think this does a way better job of that than a regular latte does.

It’s tea that smells like cookies and ice cream and doesn’t taste cheap and fake. Do you really need convincing?


This sounds so interesting – and I totally agree, being a tea snob often does not pay off!

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drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

This tea has me utterly stumped. Dry, it smelled a whole lot like eggnog to me. Steeped, it smells like lemon, eggnog, and vanilla. It’s bitter and definitely needs sweetening, but I didn’t know about the milk element. To me, the presence of a lemony flavour makes milk a no-no. But the scent of this really calls for that creaminess. I added a bit of soy milk and I think it was a good choice. God, this is a really unusual tea. I’m having trouble finding anything useful to say. It’s quite heavily black, so if black tea is only palatable to you with strong added flavours, you probably won’t like this. It kind of seems to me like a very toned down relative of Kusmi’s Anastasia (less so when milk is added [or maybe that’s just me, since when I drank Anatasia I thought milk would be a bad option]) mixed with a dash of spice and a lot of vanilla. It smells very, very good both brewed and dry.

Sorry, I wish this was a more helpful review, but my main reason for drinking tea just now is that I’m in a rush for class and wanted something comforting and something that would wake me up a bit, since I don’t have time for breakfast. I have another bag of this, so I’ll be elaborating on this soon. It’s what the description would imply, basically-citrus-y, vanilla-y, black tea-y, a bit spicy. The spice is really an aroma, flavour or impression. It doesn’t provide any bite or sharpness like in chai, and the only “bite” comes from the bitterness of the tea, which I found bitter even when steeped according to the directions.

I gave this another try, and found that eggnog-y smell yet again : ) Brewed, it smells and tastes absolutely nothing like that, and to me, not at all like the dry impression. I tried it without milk at first, again, because with both this and St. Petersburg, I feel like it’s hard to really get an impression of them. I tried to figure them both out last time, and this is a continuation of that aim. Without milk, I got a kind of citrus and for some reason vanilla-turkish delight-y flavour. It seemed lacking without milk as the first time I drank it, so I added a bit (really not like when you add 1/2 or 1/3 of the cup—I do mean a bit). It has a strong lemon note this way, and with the milk, it seems wrong. I only get vanilla at the end of the mouthful, so it’s mostly a black tea with lemon with an appealing vanilla aftertaste. There’s some incredibly subtle clove, as well. I had some bitterness like last time, but I did oversteep it. The aftertaste is so weird and delicious.

This was my last bag of this from the Kusmi essentials box I’ve got, so now I’m wishing I’d given it more of a go without milk. It’s not awful with it or anything, but I do get the sense without milk is the way to go. Overall, I’m not impressed. I wouldn’t buy a tin of this, but if I got another sampler or it came with something else, I’d still drink it without grudge.

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Another review my lovely computer got rid of when my browser “quit unexpectedly.” It’s not like these reviews are priceless high art or something, but having to rethink them still makes me want to throw my computer at a wall, especially when I’m not drinking the tea at the moment.

I don’t have much experience with jasmine teas, but this was beautifully fragrant and it was a lovely, calming experience drinking it. I enjoyed it a lot and wish I could say more about it now, but will update this when I drink my other bag of it. I drank it unsweetened and without milk or anything else and I think that’s the best way because of how precious that fragrance is. However, I did have something in the Lebanese restaurants in Paris that tasted like jasmine tea with a bit of sweetener and orange blossom water. It was delicious.

For a type of tea as traditional as jasmine, I’m inclined to think that better quality or fuller flavour might be found in teas from a brand specialising in Asian teas. I like Kusmi a lot, but I don’t think this is the best jasmine I could be drinking. I never thought it would be, it was just one component of the sampler I got. This tea doesn’t taste like it’s not good quality or anything, though. Side note: you can’t effectively re-steep these leaves.

I’ll try more jasmine teas in future, and it might be interesting to see how the jasmine tastes alongside green teas with slightly different flavours.

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drank Green Darjeeling by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

I’d like to preface this review by making clear that I’m hardly an expert on straight-up green teas. Anyway, I felt like this tea was just another that made me think “a green tea is a green tea!” I know there’s some pretty different-tasting types on the market, like jasmine and matcha, but this isn’t one of them. It had a strange aroma that reminded me a bit of baking soda combined with dried grass, and the taste was pleasant but not really memorable. I like green tea, so this isn’t a negative review—it’s just one that confesses that I didn’t find this much different to other green teas I’ve had in cafes or bagged supermarket brands. My experiences in those contexts haven’t been negative, but Kusmi is a bit premium, so I guess I would’ve expected that the flavour of this might have something different. It’s very slightly fruity at the beginning, but that aspect was barely noticeable. It had a pretty “Japanese” flavour for some reason, and I think it tastes the same as genmaicha but without the rice bits. That probably sounds stupid, but what I mean is that the tea in this must be the same tea that’s based on. It’s very grassy, though not in a particularly fresh, sweet kind of way, and has a bitter, green aftertaste.

As with other green teas, this really does get bitter when you over steep it. The grassy flavour ends up being a combination of grass and sharp bitterness after maybe 10 minutes (“Who steeps their tea for 10 minutes?!” you ask? I like to try things a number of ways, and tasted it throughout the process, to see what would end up happening). Be mindful of that (even though this is not as easy to do in this case as it usually would be, because the water doesn’t get flavourful for a little while), and perhaps don’t expect this to have an especially unique flavour. It also didn’t really work re-steeping this. There was little flavour on the second steeping and it was a bit like drinking slightly bitter hot water.

I had it unsweetened and without soy milk, which always seems like the only way with plain green teas. It’s that kind of experience.

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drank Imperial Label by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the tea is the smell. It’s pretty much just citrus when dry, but when brewed and hot, it smells like some kind of beautiful cake. I couldn’t stop smelling it. It smells like cinnamon and orange and something vanilla-like. It’s such a good smell! Unfortunately, the flavour isn’t really a match for it. I’m sad about that, because if it were, I could drink it all day.

For me, the tea required more steeping than recommended. This may have been problematic: some reviews elsewhere said it needed no sweetening because of the licorice, but I beg to differ— mine was bitter and the flavour was just kind of dull with no sweetener, and the spices weren’t being brought out. When sweetened, the cinnamon and liquorice spice element can’t be ignored whereas before it was kind of just a nondescript spicy, herbal “vibe.” I think mostly this tea is yet another reflection of the fact that orange and spice consistently mix badly in teas. That’s unexpected (they can mix well in baking and perfumery, for instance), but this is not the first time I’ve felt this way. On that note, maybe part of my negative impression is based on the fact that it reminds me of Teekanne’s Oriental Spice Tea, which was literally the worst tea I’ve ever had in my life. Fortunately, this tea was nowhere near the trainwreck that was, but the base flavours of orange, cinnamon, and vanilla are common to the two. I’m going to try to stop thinking about that fact now, because the memory of the Teekanne tea seriously haunts me and it’s making me disgusted.

This tea has some stellar reviews around the Net, but I found it just okay. It wasn’t unpleasant or undrinkable, but the large amounts of liquorice and cinnamon gave it kind of a herbal, bitter, spicy, medicinal taste. At times some of those characteristics can be positive, but when you combine them all, as has been done here, I don’t think it’s a recipe for success. One strange thing was that, and I don’t know if it was just the combination of the spices or something, I could’ve sworn something tasted a bit cardamom-y. Normally, that would appeal to me, but in this kind of brew, it wasn’t a selling point. Those strong, medicinal-smelling spices like cardamom or liquorice with chai spices and soy milk? Sign me up. Those spices in a thinner, bitter brew? Hmmm, I’ll pass.

If I had some of this tea given to me (or got another couple of bags of it in a Kusmi selection pack), I’d drink it (because it’s not too bad and I love tea), but I wouldn’t buy a tin of it based on what I’ve tasted (based on what I’ve smelled? Well….) It wasn’t wholly unappealing, so if strong spices with some orange sound good to you, you should still give it a try.

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I come from Australia, but I’ve been in Europe for the last eight months and tea-wise, it’s been surprisingly good for me.

All teas rated and reviewed by me on here have been paid for by me. No rating or review posted by me has been conducted with product given for the purpose of giving ratings or reviews, or for the promise of stock discounts.



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