Brewing Hints: Infuse in boiling water for three to five minutes
Leaf: Large black leaves
Characteristics: A reddy-brown infusion. It has a taste similar to that of Keemun, but milder and more cultured
Serving Suggestions: Drink black or with lemon at any time of day
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The name originates from the 18th Century camel caravans that facilitated the trans-continental tea trade from China to Europe via Russia. Russian Caravan Tea is a blend of China Black and Oolong Teas. The term Russian Caravan implies a high quality blend. Some blends of Russian Caravan Tea introduce Lapsang Souchong to re-create the original smokiness of this tea which developed as it was transported over the high mountain passes and was stored by fires at night. However our Russian Caravan Tea is pure and as the Chinese originally intended it to be.
Russian Caravan Tea is typically a blend of Oolong tea (semi-fermented), Keemun (black) and sometimes Lapsang Souchong (smoked) tea. The name comes from the 18th century camel caravans that would start at the beginning of the famous ‘tea road’ in China for the 6000 mile journey from the Chinese border to Moscow.
Due to the arduous and dangerous conditions the tea changed in characteristic over the journey. Typically at night, fires would be lit made from dung collected from the animals, around which would be placed the precious stock. The animals would have slept around the stock and the men would have slept around the animals with their hands on their swords thus, the tea would pick up a smoky taint from the fires and also a modicum of dampness from the often wet ground upon which it was placed.
Many blenders of Russian Caravan Tea today use a little Lapsang Souchong to impart this smokiness (usually less than 2% due to the pungency and strength of this tea) but at Northern Tea Merchants we believe that the tea should taste as it did when it left China rather than when it arrived in Russia. Therefore our Russian Caravan is not adulterated with Lapsang Souchong in any way. Russian Caravan Tea has a copper coloured liquor and a fairly heavy flavour with a very smooth and well balanced after taste. We personally brew our Russian Caravan for 5 minutes as we like our tea a little stronger.