Wednesday, November 07, 2007

the reputation of russians

My boyfriend makes fun of me for owning about, oh, probably fifty kinds of tea at any given time. It's true. I hoard tea assortments, even though I pass in and out of love with certain tea blends. A week or two ago it was golden Assam, which I think is an Indian tea, and recently, a surprising favorite is a line of Russian teas.

Yes, the current favorite in my tea cup is Kusmi which was introduced to me by my Russian literature loving friend, whom, I had no idea, also advocated drinking Russian tea.

Checking out the Kusmi webpage, I was highly amused that my two chosen and beloved tea assortments were categorized as having a "gourmand" flavor.

I was pretty astounded from the onset, inhaling the complicated scents which wind about each other in the tea blend called St Petersburg. The level of sophistication is what the sticker price pays for ... the mixture of citrus fruits, red fruits, and caramel, all blended with the masterly touch of experience in one tea. Their announcement that their tea company is having its 140 year anniversary is fully supported by the quality of their tea. The tea speaks for itself. I had no idea tea could be taken to another level.

Tea and I go way back together. However, not as far back as Japanese toddlers, who swill cold Oolong tea with their afternoon snack, but lunches out with with my parents at the local Dim Sum restaurant gave me many opportunities to drink jasmine tea, and when I finally reached living in Tokyo, I was hydrating myself daily with my favorite ice tea -- Itoen's Jasmine and Green Tea blend.

It's curious how many of my tea favorites are introduced by other tea lovers. Another friend tipped me off to green tea with mint. Crushing a few fresh mint leaves in a pot of steeping green tea makes a superb accompaniment to lighter Asian fare.

Featured above is the Kusmi Spicy Chocolate, which I couldn't resist because of how much it sounded like Chocolate Chai, which another friend and I rhapsodize about. Chocolate and Tea. Tea and Chocolate. At first, I was afraid of liking the St. Petersburg more than the Spicy Chocolate -- like secretly acknowledging who is your favorite child, but I realized that I like drinking my Spicy Chocolate-like Chai, doubly strong, filled out with milk.

There are many more gorgeous Kusmi tins to collect (treasure!), and the wonderful tea hunt continues.