88 Tasting Notes

100
drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
88 tasting notes

Anastasia was my first tea from Kusmi and my ultimate favorite of their venerable Russian blends. In fact, Anastasia inspired me to explore Russian tea and Russian tea culture more extensively – And what a deliciously beautiful exploration it has been!

This tea makes me want to sing!

“Anastasia, Anastasia
Beautiful stranger
Step down from your star
I only know I love you so
Whoever you are!”

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Lime, Orange Blossom, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

I have been meaning to try this one. I think they have stopped carrying it in Chapel Hill where my best tea selection lived, so thank goodness for internet ordering!

Teatotaler

Is it the Southern Season in Chapel Hill, ashmanra? I used to buy my Kusmi teas at the Southern Season here in Richmond. I all but cried when they closed. Their tea selection was outstanding!

I buy the Kusmi Russian Blend five pack with the cute little .88oz tins. It is a thrifty way to have my beloved Anastasia, Prince Vladimir, St. Petersburg, Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 and Troika blends at all times. I am considering ordering the 4.4oz tin of Anastasia though – Anastasia is the apotheosis of Russian tea blends!

ashmanra

Yes, that is where I saw it! But they have reduced their tea selection to about one fourth of what they used to carry. It breaks the heart!

Doug F

I recently discovered Kusmi tea in Europe and have enjoyed a couple of their selections.

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100

A creamy cup of comfort on a chilly autumn afternoon. A bit of mesquite honey and a jot of milk make for cozy vanilla bliss. And it won’t hinder my plans for a nap before dinner. Lovely.

Rosehips

Ooooh. That sounds 100% lovely.

Teatotaler

It truly was, Rosehips! :)

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100

Darjeeling Doppelgänger! Harney’s description of this tea is quite correct – “For those unfamiliar with teas from the Nilgiri region, this falls in between First and Second Flush
Darjeelings.”

This tea, although a Nilgiri, has the best of all possible Darjeeling worlds. There is a lovely sweet orange blossom floral aroma and taste evocative of a fine first flush Darjeeling. There is a strong, and I do mean strong, muscatel grape flavor of a great second flush Darjeeling. There are notes of fruit, nuts (almond) and grain similar to an autumn flush Darjeeling. The tea is quite brisk without a trace of bitterness. Rich with good body.

This is a splendid Indian tea. If you like Darjeeling like I do, then you will love this Nilgiri. And that’s a promise!

Flavors: Almond, Flowers, Fruity, Grain, Grapes, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

I haven’t been drinking flavored teas lately and decided to purchase this little treasure at Richmond’s number one tea shop (salon de thé), Carytown Teas, which is the primary supplier for several cafes and hotels in the city. Patricia’s Blend is the creation of the shop’s kind and talented owner, Patricia Guillouard Adams, a native of France.

“Sweet and spicy, like its namesake”, as the shop’s description of the tea states, is right on point. The almond’s nutty sweetness, suggestive of vanilla, blends perfectly with the orange and spice. The flavors meld beautifully in the fruity organic Ceylon black tea base. As with most French blends that I have had, nothing is overdone. It is superb – My favorite flavored blend bar none.

So, Patricia, mon amie, I raise my mug and salute you – À votre santé! Merci!

Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Fruity, Nutty, Orange, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

It’s a rainy weekend here in the Old Dominion. Rainy weekends call for cozy teas, and man oh man this is one cozy tea! I’m watching an old Jimmy Stewart movie on Turner Classics and sipping this. It’s very smooth with lots of natural sweetness. Lovely notes of caramel, honey and burnt sugar. Nice and malty. No rough edges whatsoever. I love that it’s organic too!

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
mrmopar

We are getting the same around Blacksburg today as well. Good tea drinking weather though. Agree as TCM rocks and so does AMC.

Teatotaler

I love AMC too. In fact, I’m watching Forrest Gump on AMC right now. You just can’t beat watching classic movies and drinking comfort teas on a rainy weekend. Here in Richmond, we’re in for heavy rain at times through Sunday night and more rain Monday. I’m loving it!

eastkyteaguy

It’s been cool and wet just west of the Virginia state line today. I wish I could have stayed home watching Jimmy Stewart films, but I’ve been out on a crisis call. Just out of curiosity, which movie was it?

Teatotaler

More accurately, it was a Hitchcock film. It was Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock classic Rear Window by way of TCM online. Love Hitchcock! Love Jimmy Stewart! A double treat for me today.

eastkyteaguy

Great film! That’s long been a favorite of mine.

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89

Nothing like a cozy camomile with which to settle in for the evening. Nice, with sweet vanilla and honey flavors. I added a bit of wildflower honey (I so love honey) that brought out a pleasant butterscotch flavor. Yummy!

Flavors: Butterscotch, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Love it when you can find a great, easy-to-find grocery store tea. Will have to chase this down locally.

Rosehips

Oh, I love this one! Its been too long since I had it.

Teatotaler

This is one of my top camomile teas. You just can’t go wrong with Twinings! :)

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100

“Autumn Flush: The Best Darjeeling Tea You’ll (Likely Never) Taste” smugly proclaimed an October ’16 Tea Tuesday NPR story. Boulderdash! Shame on you NPR. This plain old Virginia boy has just imbibed the autumnal nectar of the Darjeeling gods!
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/10/04/496451715/autumn-flush-the-best-darjeeling-tea-you-ll-likely-never-taste

The dry leaf had a sweet, sugarcane aroma with a suggestion of dried fruit. I used a rounded teaspoon (1.25 tsp) to 8oz of spring water. I use only spring water for fine Darjeeling. The suggested steeping time was 2-3 minutes. I steeped for 2 minutes and 45 seconds at the recommended temperature of 95C. The result was a very richly flavored Darjeeling. There was a red wine sweetness reminiscent of a fine dessert wine with notes of dates, black figs and wildflowers. Positively splendid! Hands down one of the greatest Darjeelings I’ve ever had. And NPR said it would most likely never happen. Ha! Piffle! Stuff and nonsense!

I love What-Cha Teas. They are simply the best! Very fast international shipping. Plus a much appreciated kind and thoughtful note from Alistair, who happened to mention that Red Thunder Darjeeling is one of his personal favorites. He also included a generous sample of a Nepali tea that I cannot wait to try. Thank you, Alistair!

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Flowers, Red Wine, Sugarcane, Sweet

Preparation
2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
MrQuackers

The description of the tea was well worth reading on the tea’s main steepster page.

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80

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100

I happened upon this one at my local tea shop this afternoon. I’ve been experiencing the GI joys of diverticulitis and recently read that green tea can be helpful for that condition. Green tea seems to be quite the panacea, effective for a multitude of miseries.
What a wonderful medicinal – No spoonful of sugar needed to help this medicine go down!

The dry leaf smell is sweet and mildly floral. As the tea steeps the aroma is very strongly evocative of oolong. The flavor too suggests oolong, along with floral notes of chrysanthemums and wildflower blossoms with a bit of honey. There is a mild vegetal note – Just enough to remind you that it’s a green tea you’re drinking.
I was a little leery about the 190F brewing temperature, but no bitterness. I used 3 generous teaspoonfuls for a 16 ounce pot and steeped for four minutes.

Yunnan Orchid Green is a lovely green tea – One of the very best I’ve had. My tummy feels better already.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Fjellrev

Wow, 100!

Teatotaler

It really is a glorious green! :)

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Profile

Bio

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone

A Darjeeling kind of guy here, however, I must admit to having a great love of Keemun tea as well. Keemun is my favorite Chinese tea by far, and I am beginning enjoy and appreciate other Chinese teas more often. Really liking quite a few Yunnan and Fujian blacks – The unsmoked Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea from Teavivre is positivity exquisite and one of the best teas I have ever had!

Darjeeling is the apotheosis of tea!
Darjeeling tea is at the very top of my favorite tea list. It’s the tea that first inspired me to delve deeper into the wide, wonderful world of tea – My first love, so to speak. Margaret’s Hope second flush Darjeeling, my first Darjeeling, has a special place in my heart. Darjeeling will forever reign supreme in my tea pantry! I love all Darjeeling flushes for their unique characteristics but lean more towards second and autumn flush teas. Gopaldhara Red Thunder Gold autumn flush that I purchased from What-Cha is the most enjoyable Darjeeling I’ve had so far – An amazingly delicious tea!
I will always love Darjeeling above all other teas – Of that I am absolutely sure!
Favorite Darjeeling tea gardens -
Top 10:
Margaret’s Hope
Gopaldhara
Arya
Sungma
Jungpana
Makaibari
Glenburn
Happy Valley
Namring Upper
Puttabong

Teas that I especially enjoy:

Black Tea -

Darjeeling Tea – All Flushes!
Keemun Imperial Mao Feng
Keemun Panda #1
Hao Ya Keemun
Yunnan Dian Hong
Fujian Blacks
Assam Second Flush Tea
Nilgiri Winter Flush Tea
Ceylon High Grown Tea
Ceylon Low Grown Tea

Oolong Tea -

Darjeeling Oolong
Si Ji Chun “Four Seasons” Oolong
Formosa Oolong
Bao Zhong Oolong
Wuyi Oolong
Tieguanyin Oolong
Dong Ding Oolong
Ruby Oolong
Milk Oolong

My experience with white tea has all been very positive.
I especially love Kenya ‘Rhino’ Premium White Tea from What-Cha, one of my favorite teas.
White Peony is another white tea that I quite enjoy.

I am not very knowledgeable about pu-erh tea, but like my experiences with white tea, it has all been quite positive. I am really looking forward to broadening my pu-erh tea horizons!

I am ambivalent about green tea and seldom drink it, but there are exceptions. Of the Japanese greens I quite enjoy an occasional Hojicha. Of the Chinese greens I think that Yunnan green tea is very good. Yunnan Orchid Green from Rishi is quite lovely. I really love jasmine green tea too as I totally adore anything floral! Green tea is a favorite for iced tea.

Flavored teas that I particularly enjoy -

Almond – I love almond!
Vanilla
Caramel
Lychee
Coconut
Banana
Maple
Apricot
Black Currant
Blueberry
Strawberry
Cherry
Citrus – Orange, Lemon, Lime.
Spice – Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Ginger, etc..
Bergamot – I love Earl Grey!
I adore all floral flavors – Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Lavender and Violet – Yes!
I quite enjoy smoky teas too – Smoky Earl Greys, Russian Caravan and milder Lapsangs.

I really love my herbal teas! Chamomile, rooibos and honeybush tisanes are my favorites. Anise, linden and peppermint tisanes are extremely good too, I think. I actually enjoy a fairly wide variety of herbal teas, especially in the evening.

As an ardent Anglophile, I am a fan of British tea culture. British Legacy Teas are among my favorites, and I brew Western style almost exclusively. I have, however, been known to whip out my trusty little gaiwan to use with a fine Chinese tea. I actually enjoy brewing tea gongfu style quite a bit.
Also, I must admit to a having a real love of Russian tea culture as well and find it beautiful and fascinating. I would love to own a genuine antique Russian samovar!

I never add sugar, although I quite enjoy honey (raw, unfiltered honey only) in my tea. Summer thistle honey, orange blossom, mānuka and wild rose honey are my favorites, along with good old Nature Nate’s.
Occasionally, I will add a bit of strawberry, cherry, raspberry or blackberry jam to sweeten my tea Russian style – Yummy!

I choose organic tea whenever possible.

Favorite Vendors – Top 40:

What-Cha
Harney & Sons
Kusmi Tea
Upton Tea Imports
Steven Smith Teamaker
Mark T. Wendell Tea Company
Grace Tea Company
Golden Moon Tea Company
The English Tea Store
Adagio Tea
Rishi Tea
Arbor Teas
The Whistling Kettle
Mandala Tea
Verdant Tea
Teavivre
52Teas
Simpson & Vail
Bellocq Tea Atelier
Carytown Teas
Simpson & Vail
Vahdam Tea
Culinary Teas
Whispering Pines Tea
A Quarter to Tea
Silk Road Teas
Todd & Holland Tea Merchants
Mariage Frères
The Tao of Tea
Single Origin Teas
The London Tea Merchant
New Mexico Tea Company
The Tea Table
Tin Roof Teas
The Tea Spot
Tea Trekker
TeaGschwendner
Elmwood Inn Fine Teas
Capital Teas
Stash Tea Company

Rating Guide:

I only review and rate teas that I enjoy. Life is too short and time is too dear to dwell on subpar tea!
Anything below 70 is not something that I would tend to keep in my tea pantry or even drink again.

100 = Perfection! Teas that I cannot do without and will always be stocked in my tea pantry forever! An absolute must have tea!
90-99 = Excellent tea! I will definitely keep this tea around to enjoy regularly. Will most likely be found in my tea pantry.
80-89 = Very good. Tasty tea. Would gladly drink again but not necessarily on a regular basis. Not an absolute must have tea but could, perhaps, still be found in my tea pantry.
70-79 = Good, but nothing that sparkles. I would probably not worry about restocking this one, though it might be a serviceable tea for work.

Tea is my passion. It has become so much more than a hobby. For me, tea is a way of life. I do tinker around a bit with blending teas. My first blend, Virginia Breakfast, a blend of Imperial Keemun and a second flush Darjeeling, is sold at a wonderful French tea shop – salon de thé :) – here in Richmond. My own small claim to tea fame.

I work in the medical field – Charge nurse of an advanced dementia and hospice care unit. I am also a dementia care training instructor, so I stay pretty busy. I have a multitude of interests. Strong advocate of LGBTQ rights and animal welfare! I am a huge lover of cats – Crazy About Kitties! Very involved with helping feral cats. I love jazz, blues, classic rock, opera and Russian symphonic music, classic cinema, cooking, gardening, gemology, vulcanology, history – Especially English history and culture. Passionate Anglophile! Love to travel. Love Merry Old England, France (Paris is heaven!), Canada, New England, Northern California and the American South. Love day trips to D.C., and the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley of my beautiful Virginia. Aviation is another major interest – Love my flight simulator. I enjoy watching baseball and like to go bowling. Ardent bibliophile as well – Vast and eclectic library!

“While there’s tea there’s hope.” — Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Location

Richmond, Virginia, USA

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