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.
  1. Imperial Label
    I'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.
  2. St. Petersburg
    I'd fuck this. Blend of Earl Grey, caramel, red fruits, hint of vanilla. I'd fuck this. But I'd fuck anything.
  3. Sweet Love
    The 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.
  4. Rose Green Tea
    I 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.
  5. Kashmir Tchai
    Their 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.
  6. Spearmint green tea
    Simple. 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.
  7. Be Cool
    Another 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.
  8. Ginger-lemon green tea
    Exactly 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...
  9. Anastasia
    This 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?
  10. Prince Vladimir
    Vladimir 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.
  11. Jasmine green tea
    Classic. 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?
  12. Detox
    Maté, 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?
  13. BB Detox
    Did 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.
  14. Strawberry green tea
    This would be good in an Arnold Palmer, but on its own it is sickly sweet bullshit. Fuck this one. Fuck everything.
  15. Euphoria
    Saved 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?