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Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Kusmi Tea’s Russian Evening No. 50 Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.

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The Subject:  Russian Evening No. 50
Company:Kusmi Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:185°F - 195°F
Steeping time:3-4 mins.
Tea type:Black
Aroma, dry leaves:  Nondescript, no real character

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Lightly smoky/fruity
Taste, plain —Mild, not bitter, smoky/fruity
Color, plain —Orangey brown
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —Lighter
Taste, plain —Lighter
Color, plain —Lighter

What tea vendors put on their Websites to describe the appearance and taste of their teas is often at odds with reality. This tea is another example of that. Overstating things on the site might convince people to make that initial purchase, but the gap between their write-up and your experience can result in a lack of repeat business, at least for those teas that fail to live up to the hype.

What Kusmi says about this tea:
Blend of black teas from China and Darjeeling
Appearance: furled whole leaf
Color: very dark and coppery green, verging on black
Tasting advice: delicious plain or sweetened, this low-caffeine tea is ideal for the evening.
My take:
  • The leaves are not whole but broken, as is clearly visible when they are dumped out of the cloaking muslin bag they come in.
  • The color description on their site is not specified as referring to the dry leaves or the liquid. The dry leaves match their description, but the liquid does not. It is much lighter and orangey brown.
  • Hubby and I do not recommend sweetener. The light flavor would be obliterated. We cannot either dispute or affirm their claim about the level of caffeine in this tea.

This is a very contemplative tea and goes well with smooth jazz music playing on the stereo, like Tom Scott’s “Lost in Love,” which just happened to come on the satellite TV music channel while we were trying the tea. The smoky sax blended seamlessly with the smoky/fruity character of the tea.

Sipping from a bone china teacup decorated with lots of roses makes this a real color-coordinated teatime, a setting reminiscent of some homes in France in which I’ve was a guest. Kusmi may be a company founded in Russia, but it’s now headquartered in Paris, with a CEO of Egyptian birth, and so the French air seems natural. Little Yellow Teapot wanted me to put a beret on him, but hubby and I thought that was a bit corny.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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