6 years ago
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I'm not shy about confessing: I like the occasional cup of tea you can stand a spoon in. I found my way to tea from coffee, like many Americans, and in order to make the transition, by God, it had to be strong effing tea. Black like coffee. Bracing like coffee. The kind of strong stuff that, as my dad would have said, puts hair on your chest (regardless of gender).
So I started with a lot of Russian blends. I still love an overbrewed mug o' Russian Caravan (a storied blend of oolongs, keemun and lapsang souchong). I'd give anything to own a real samovar, so I could spend whole days pulling from the same thick pot, or at least firing it up for parties. Anyone have a line on an affordable one?
Anyway, here's a gift idea for the holiday: The next tea brand that seems to be all the rage with the jet set is Kusmi Tea, a French supplier finally making serious inroads stateside. Given the company's history, they have a hearty line of Russian blends, currently spotlighted for the Christmas shopping season. I'm a sucker for their Samovar blend, which re-creates the caravan with a little extra camel power, and the Troika blend (black teas from China, Ceylon and India, flavored with multiple citrus, including bergamot) is a stand-out for the orange tea lover. Their Christmas tea is a spicy dream, too — it's got this cozy attitude that stops short of being just another chai. Makes me want to curl up and re-read the madcap misadventures of Raskolnikov (like this tea passage!).