This was one of the teas in a six-set Kusmi sampler that my parents brought back from their recent trip to Paris alongside some Damman Freres (although no Mariage Freres or hand-blown French tea pots . . . thanks, Mum!) although it is one of about ten Kusmi teas I have been interested in trying.

On initial inspection, the tightly rolled Gunpowder pellets are fairly even in size. The scent is rather strong, reminiscent of traditional boiled sweets or stodgy-English puddings and desserts. It’s not quite citrus and not quite caramel. The scent intensifies when hot water is poured into the tea pot.

After brewing for just under three minutes, the colour is a beautiful, light-caramel colour. My initial impression is that it’s an interesting blend, perhaps rather too complex to make more than the occasional appearance at afternoon tea. Perhaps future tastings may change this, but I find red fruits in my tea a little too intense to drink on a regular basis. The sweetness of the caramel tempers the earthy leatheriness of regular gunpowder tea and gives a full-bodied mouthfeel, the red fruits leaves a tingling sensation on the centre of the tongue between each mouthful, but I can’t really detect the vanilla.

It’s rather fitting that I’m drinking this very French tea – despite it’s Russian origins – out of those ubiquitous French espresso glasses which are just perfect for white, green and fruit teas. I would be interested in learning of any real connection that this tea has to St Petersburg, or is just one of a series of Kusmi teas bearing a Russian name? At any rate, I will definitely be trying this tea again, perhaps at a French-themed afternoon tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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I always find intros difficult to write. Where to start . . . Sydney-sider working in insurance who has lived in London for ten years but returned to Australia in 2012. Despite coffee being the drink of choice in Oz, I come from a family of dedicated tea drinkers. Although I enjoy all teas – both black and green teas, either flavoured/scented or pure single-estate teas – I have a special fondness for Earl Grey and Ceylon teas.

With a cup of tea in hand, I love settling down with a DVD. I love cult films, anything visceral and slightly surreal – Shaw Brothers Kung Fu, Giallos, Spaghetti Westerns, Eurohorror, Hammer Horror, etc. If I’m not watching a film, I’ll be watching classic British TV like 70s Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, The Avengers, Danger Man as well as Prisoner: Cell Block H and the occasional Showtime or HBO series.

As much as I enjoy reading or art, I just don’t have the time for either these days.

My current favourites:

The Tea Centre:
Ceylon Pattiagalla
Darljeeling Selimbong FTGFOP1 1st Flush
Japanese Lime
Orange Blossom Pai Mu Tan

Oolong Fresh

Earl Grey De Luxe – Madame Flavour
Gunpowder – Temple of Heaven



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