KUSMI TEA, RANKED (A SCARY LIST FOR HALLOWEEN)
My conversion into full-on fucking "tea guy" is complete. Around the same time I quit coffee and was given a Kusmi Tea "Collection" box of 15 loose leaf teas as a gift. Each night I cold brew some tea in the fridge for the following day. I've sampled all the tins of Kusmi (15 of their 70 varieties), and shall now rank them.
- •Imperial LabelI'd never dreamed that tea could be this flavorful. It's a Sencha green tea blended with orange, cinnamon, licorice root, and sea buckthorn berries in it. It is supremely comforting. And I will be buying some very soon, as the tin is almost empty. AND... I want to make it very clear that I cannot identify a sea buckthorn berry by sight, taste, or any other method beyond spelling. Lest you think I'm more pretentious than I am.
- •St. PetersburgI'd fuck this. Blend of Earl Grey, caramel, red fruits, hint of vanilla. I'd fuck this. But I'd fuck anything.
- •Sweet LoveThe name is EMBARRASSING! But the tea is excellent. This is my favorite of the 5 "Wellness Blends" in the box. By a mile. I brewed this hot a few times when I was sick this last week, and it worked like a charm. Nice and spicy, thanks to some pink peppercorn. Also: guarana seeds? Okay! Hopefully not intended as an aphrodisiac.
- •Rose Green TeaI was nervous about this one, because it was overpowering when I cracked the tin and took a whiff. But the floral notes mellow out upon brewing. God I sound horrible. This is my favorite of the 5 flavoured green teas in the box. They spelled it with a u.
- •Kashmir TchaiTheir T, not mine. Apparently this is one of Kusmi's oldest blends. I'd never had a chai without milk and sugar, but this one is very nice on its own, even brewed cold. Is the T a Russian thing, like Tsar? That's my guess. Meanwhile, on the weekends I've been cheating and having a little coffee. I go to Intelligentsia and get an iced almond chai with a shot of espresso. This is me living dangerously. This is as punk as I get. Jesus. "My conversion into 'tea guy.'" What a pussy.
- •Spearmint green teaSimple. Classic. Great on ice. Takes me back to my days as a regular at Café Gitane. "Avocado toast, and an iced mint tea, please," I'd say to one of the beautiful servers I thought I might have a chance with but definitely did not.
- •Be CoolAnother embarrassingly named "Wellness" blend. Elmore Leonard should sue. This one's essentially Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime, which was probably the first tea I ever had. This stuff is better though; chamomile and peppermint like woah. Takes me back to when I thought 10pm was SOOOO LATE! Actually, now I'm back to thinking that 10pm might be pushing it. God I'm old.
- •Ginger-lemon green teaExactly what you'd expect. Very nice. I love ginger AND lemon, and weirdly I have nothing to say about this tea. Makes sense, as it's almost exactly in the middle of this list. It's good. Probably my least self-loathing entry in here. Good. Moving on...
- •AnastasiaThis black tea blend dates back to Kusmi's start, in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1867. Smoky, bergamot-y. A fine tea. Not as flavor-forward as some of the other black blends, but elegant, understated... is there a way to do this without sounding terrible? Why am I even doing this? I must make it through this. What else am I supposed to do tonight? Like get dressed up and go to a party? What's less depressing: drinking alone at home on Halloween, or going to a bar alone on Halloween with no costume?
- •Prince VladimirVladimir and Anastasia are Kusmi's "emblematic couple" and I'm comme ci comme ca on them both. And on Halloween too. When did I become such a Scrooge? I used to love this shit. I dressed as Arnold in Terminator 2 when I was 8. I was Arsenio Hall a year later. Why didn't my parents stop me from doing that? Maybe I lost interest in Halloween because I've always wanted to do a couples costume but never had someone to do it with. If only I could find my tea-gal... we'd go as Vladimir & Anastasia.
- •Jasmine green teaClassic. You know. Nothing bad to say about it. This is the last tea I will speak on positively. 11 out of 15 is pretty effing good. I can't believe I'm home making this list right now. Pathetic. Should I get back on the dating apps? List App is seriously overwhelming right now. It feels like a train of people I don't know, just... speeding by. Or maybe I should just go get Thai food? Will the servers laugh at me if they're all in costumes and I'm not?
- •DetoxMaté, green tea, lemongrass. I wanted to like this but I did not. Name is embarrassing in its straightforwardness. Do I even like tea? Or is this just posturing? Like "being a 'coffee-guy' is so played out." Should I just become a "weed guy?" Or a "coke-guy?" No that would be terrible. What if this was a ranked list of 15 different varieties of blow?
- •BB DetoxDid you think detox was disgusting? No? Well we put dandelion and rooibos and a bunch of grapefruit in it, and gave it a cutesy name. How bout now?!? Oh the BB stands for "Beauty Beverage." If you ever see me drinking a Beauty Beverage, please push me off the nearest ledge. Thank god I only had this once.
- •Strawberry green teaThis would be good in an Arnold Palmer, but on its own it is sickly sweet bullshit. Fuck this one. Fuck everything.
- •EuphoriaSaved the worst for last. Maté, chocolate, orange. I opened the tin, smelled this, and threw it in the garbage. It's trash. Okay I'm done with this list now. Maybe I will go out after all. I think I just figured out my costume: self-loathing tea drinker. Trick? Or treat?