Monday, March 22, 2010

Russian in the Rain

Today is a rainy day, a perfect day for tea. I have some Kusmi Bouquet of Flowers I bought to lift my spirits. This is a French company whose origins as Kousmichoff began in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1867. When the Russian Revolution began in 1917, one of the owners of the company fled to London and then Paris and continued their tea company there. I love their tins, which are short wide rounds, decorated with curlicues and arabesques – very old world looking. Their older line, originally for the Russian market, I assume, also seems very old world to me, as well. Bouquet des Fleurs (the French name)is one of those.

The dry leaves are on the small size, very dark, with almost a green wash over them. They give off a slight floral smell. I brewed them at 212 degrees for about 3.5 minutes. This is a blend of China and Ceylon teas, scented with bergamot, citrus and flowers. You can pretty much taste and smell them all, but it is so completely blended that I cannot sort them out one by one. I can smell and taste that the tea is fresh and perhaps the citrus dominates, but the flowers are not lost.

I really am sure there is some sort of secret ingredient that conveys “Russian” to me, as most teas that are labeled that way have a certain heavy undernote that just says that to me, even if it is not a tea by Kusmi. I find it pleasant and it immediately takes me across the sea to sit by a samovar, drinking tea from a glass, perhaps with a sugar cube or a spoonful of jelly.

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