One of the teas I picked up at the Banff Tea Company ages ago was the Kusmi brand Violette tea. I had heard and seen a bit of Kusmi tea, but didn’t know much about it until reading a bit about it in the shop. You might remember I tried some of the Kusmi Almond Green tea last May as well.
Kusmi teas were first established in 1867 in St. Petersburg, and in 1917 the company moved to Paris where it continues using “high-quality teas with natural essences to create subtle aromas and flavours“. Teas come from India, China, and Ceylon, while the essences come from around the world.
I had seen some violet candies in the candy store only a little while earlier, (but not picked them up, as I was only getting things for someone else.. and no sweets for myself) and so the chance to try violet tea was too enticing to pick up (even if the cost was quite dear! eep!) According to the Kusmi website (the Canadian site is all in French, so I am referring you to the English USA site instead) the tea is from Chinese black tea leaves and violet petals.
Dry, the tea is distinctly a black tea, with a light floral violet scent. It doesn’t look particularly pretty – though the tin itself is especially pretty! Although the Banff Tea Co. website doesn’t list the Violette in-stock, they did have a few tins, though only the large size – they did have some smaller tins of different flavours and variety packs of smaller tins, so it’s worth calling ahead and seeing what they might have in stock before making the trip. I’m sure I’ve seen the tins on the shelves of other specialty tea/coffee shops as well, so you can likely find it locally as well… (though next time you’re in Banff, you know where to go!)
The scent while steeping is similar to any other black tea, with a slight floral scent – though the violet isn’t especially distinct.
Once I’d steeped up the tea, the flavour isn’t too different from the dry or steeping scent. It’s a black tea (which easily becomes oversteeped and bitter I’m afraid – it’s a very delicate black tea, beware!) with a very, very subtle floral flavour. I’d suggest that the taste is slightly more ‘violet’ than the steeping scent, but in a ‘blind taste test’, my companion could pick out that I was serving her a floral tea, but couldn’t distinguish the specific violet flavour.
The Kusmi Violette tea is overall ‘ok’ – it’s a nice enough tea, but I really would like a little stronger or more dominant violet flavour. On the Tea Review Blog, Elllyn reviews this tea as well, and gives it an overall very positive review. My Secret Home blog has a long background on the Kusmi company if you’re curious. Additionally on Steepster there are a few 50/50 reviews of this tea. Better still, there are four other violet teas listed – giving me hope that if I keep my eyes open, I might find other violet teas out there!
If you happen to know of any really nice violet teas (preferably locally acquired, rather than ordered!) please let me know in the comments below!