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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Kusmi Tea’s Gunpowder Tea

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The Subject:  Gunpowder
Company:Kusmi Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:175°F (we even used our special thermometer to be sure we got the temperature right)
Steeping time:2 mins.
Tea type:Green
Dry leaves:  Mild aroma, tightly rolled “pellets” dark green in color, recommend that you briefly rinse “pellets” with hot water before steeping to open them up a little

1st Infusion:  
Aroma, plain —  Smoky, planty
Taste, plain —Smoky, planty
Color, plain —Pale yellow
2nd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Stronger smoky, planty
Taste, plain —Stronger smoky, planty, more satisfying
Color, plain —Darker yellow
3rd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Stronger smoky
Taste, plain —Stronger smoky
Color, plain —Darker yellow

What can we say other than “It’s gunpowder”? With a reputation as being a bit off the mainstream, Kusmi’s version of Gunpowder was expected to be likewise. Nope. It’s your basic smoky green tea. I don’t have a problem with that. But I do have a big problem with the price.

Now, I realize that hubby and I are fortunate in that we live in an area where there are Asian and Indian markets, carrying a variety of items, including teas like this one, for very reasonable prices. Still, the Kusmi price is out of line, especially considering the ordinary nature of this gunpowder version.

For example, a price comparison of the Kusmi tea with some virtually identical versions sold under other labels:

Temple of Heaven  10.58 oz.$3.99
Home Discount Store4 oz.$4.98
Kusmi Tea4.4 oz.   $15.95

See what I mean?

As you can see by the leaves, pretty typical.

We really wanted to like this tea, considering the reputation of the company. Maybe that was ultimately the source of our disappointment. The tea did not live up to that reputation. No brand bashing here, just a big dose of reality. If you like to be able to tell people that you get your gunpowder tea from a company that has been around for 140 years and that boasts about what celebrity drinks which of their teas, by all means this is the tea for you. If you are serious about tea or just want some gunpowder tea at a reasonable price, there are plenty of other, more reasonably priced sources out there.

Of course, this is just one of many, many, many teas offered by Kusmi. My suggestion is that you go for one of their more exotic flavored teas and get the more everyday straight stuff like this one elsewhere.

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

1 comment:

  1. I too am skeptical when I see a high price on gunpowder tea, and I appreciate that you are doing some critical comparison here. Some of the gunpowder teas I've sampled really do have a different and more subtle or sophisticated taste, and thus warrant a higher price. But others do not. And honestly, I think the temple of heaven brand (which is inexpensive, I just bought 125 grams of it for 69 cents the other day!) is really not bad. It's a good base-line to compare teas to...and I certainly agree that if you cannot tell the difference, you might as well stick with the best price! =)


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