Global Gulp: Kusmi Tea
Paris is not typically the first place that comes to mind when you think of sipping tea, but master tea blenders at Kusmi Tea have been brewing signature teas for 140 years.
The drink: Flavorful tea blends that include Rose Green Tea (Chinese tea flavored with rose petals), Be Cool (a blend of verbena, licorice root, and peppermint), and Boost (a blend of maté, green tea, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom). Kusmi Tea has more than 70 types of tea blends and teas, including exclusive Russian blends along with black and green flavored and unflavored teas.
The tea’s origins: Founder Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff, the eldest son of a peasant family, left home at 14 to work as a delivery boy for a tea merchant in St. Petersburg. The shop manager realized the boy’s potential and taught him the art of blending tea. After Kousmichoff married the daughter of a successful paper merchant, the tea merchant gave him a small teahouse on Sadovaïa Street. And that is how the P. M. Kousmichoff teahouse started in 1867.
Soon, Kousmichoff’s Bouquet of Flowers tea blend, named for his son and daughter, was being drunk by the czar. Kousmichoff’s eldest son later took over the business and, just before the Russian revolution, he moved the teashop to London and opened a workshop on Avenue Niel in Paris, Maison Kusmi-Thé. Today the company is owned by the Orebi brothers, who have been in the tea business since 1935.
Who drinks it: Lady Gaga drinks Kusmi Tea’s best-seller, Detox, a blend of maté and Chinese green tea flavored with lemon and lemongrass.
Where to buy it: Kusmi Tea shops are located at St.Germain des Prés, Le Marais, and Place Vendôme. The Opera and the Champs Elysées flagship stores will open this summer. If you’re not in Paris, Kusmi Tea has boutiques in Montreal, London, and New York and sells its collection of teas on its web site.