Russian Caravan

Such a tasty tea. Go get some. It doesn’t taste strongly like lapsang souchong, so don’t be deterred by that at all. It’s much tastier, bolder and more flavorful than its components. 

Russian Caravan is a blend of oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong teas, all produced from Camellia sinensis[1] the Chinese tea plant. It is described as an aromatic and full-bodied tea with a sweet, malty taste. Although a Chinese tea,[2] its name originates from the 18th century camel caravans that facilitated the transcontinental tea trade from tea-producing areas (namely India, Ceylon and China) to Europe via Russia. “It took at least half a year to make the six-thousand-mile journey from the Chinese border to Russia, and the voyage was harsh.”[3] Some varieties do not include lapsang souchong, thus having a less smoky flavor.[4]

When I bought this, they said it’d be “really intense” and it is, if you let it steep for too long. Nonetheless, it’s very pleasant to drink and not too intense at all. The flavor is perfect and while it probably overpowers the black tea, it’s not so much that you feel like you’re drinking a cup of Red Hots. A very nice change from conventional black teas if you’re interested.

Samovar Hawaii-Grown Black tea

I was amazed to see an American tea review over at Teaviews, so I had to make it the first tea I posted here for that reason even though I haven’t had it yet. I won’t regurgitate their entire review, you can read it yourself, but the description was intriguing to me.

The liquor colored brilliantly to an amber-brown infusion with a nose that struck me with a comparison to Yunnan Gold. Taste-wise, it had the body and maltiness of an Assam but went down much smoother. There was almost zero bitterness and only mild astringency. Along with a creamy aura all around, there was also a chocolate note and a floral hint. The aftertaste was Keemun sweet.

This is not a cheap tea, so it’s not something I’d recommend from the outset unless you’re just sure of your particular tastes and want to indulge yourself. I’m thinking you could find a substitute, as it sounds like it’s a unique cup and not the sort of thing you’d want to drink all of the time — especially at $25 for less than an ounce.

But that’s just me.