Has anyone tried the Kusmi/Kuzmi/Kousmichoff teas? I saw them at a
Williams-Sonoma store the other day but didn't buy any before I could
investigate. I went home and did a web search and found that the company
originated in St. Petersberg in 1867, then fled to Paris during the
Bolshevik Revolution, and remains the only "authentic" Russian tea firm.
Bert Fullerbejgr6$5of61$ snipped-for-privacy@ID-184524.news.dfncis.de7/10/03
I enjoyed browsing through Kusmi's web site, and feel a certain kinship with
him based on his description of his "Anastasia" tea (among others), to wit:
"Kusmi Anastasia Tea is a Russian blend of Ceylon and China Teas scented
with orange, bergamot, lemon and lime. Delicate, aromatic and
lime-flavorful. Traditionally served neat. 4.4 oz." **Neat?** That's a
term I've never heard applied to tea drinking, but often heard applied to
another beverage for which Russia is justly famous.
Other curiosities: A scent of "buffalo grass" in the "Zoubrovska," and the
use of muslin for the teabags. Buffalo grass????
The whole thing's intriguing.
I don't know about their claim but the Israel label Wissotzky was
founded in Moscow by Klonimus Wolf Wissotzky in 1849. They moved to
London in 1907 then Palestine in 1936. I don't buy tea from high
class department stores because it's more advertizing and packaging
than substance and my bottom line too expensive. These types of
stores have exclusive labels you can't find anywhere else. You know
you're in a fru-fru store when you sample their tea from a coffee urn.
"Bert Fuller" writes:
I got a gift certificate to be used at a coffee/tea place last
Christmas. The shop's bulk teas were stored in loosely sealed glass
containers and the atmosphere was dominated by the smell of coffee
being ground, so I had to choose prepackaged tea. What I ended up
with was 2 Kusmi teas:
- Bouquet de Fleurs: *aggressively* scented, citrusy-floral, but
nothing like an Earl Grey. I kind of liked it but would have liked
it better with less scenting/flavoring, I think.
- Samovar: more or less like a Russian Caravan tea, I think (I don't
have much experience with this type): smoky but less so than the
Lapsangs I've tasted. I was happy to drink this for breakfast.
Yes. It's my favorite brand of sented teas.
Their blends are scented with *exceptionaly good* aromatics originating from
Grasse, a famous French flower center. Some of them are heavily sented
("Bouquet de fleurs"). Maybe too much. But they are never heavily
It took me some time before fully appreciating their subtle nuances, but now
I think they are the best. The "Troïka" blend is a good starter.
Advice. You can buy Kusmi Tea in several kinds of packaging :
- metal tins (extra small, 4.4 oz, extra big),
- loose tea refills (3.5 oz boxes)
- tea bags.
Don't buy the metal tins. They are pretty but twice as expensive as the
loose tea refills and the covers are not properly sealed.
The story is true, but the "only authentic Russian tea firm" part is false
advertising. Kousmichoff *was* a Russian tea compagny. Now it's 100%
French. They can only have the pretense of making "historically correct"
Russian style teas.
Michael Plant wrote ...
Hmm, when I get through that bottle of Zubrowka I might just dry the
blade of 'bison grass', chop it up and mix with some keemun and ceylon
op and try it for myself ... what an incentive!
The French are the masters of scent and I don't mean daily hygiene.
Personally I like to see what is adding to the scent\flavor of tea in
the form of peel, petals, etc versus a chemical solvent passed as
perfume. I like visiting the herbal stores and picking my own tisanes
for tea. The popular French taste for tea is Vanilla. It's a scent
and not a tea varietal otherwise tea would taste like grapes.