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Finest Russian Caravan

April 5, 2009

Today’s tea: Finest Russian Caravan by Upton Tea

Carried across the northern steppe by: goodtea

I’ve waited a long time to do this review, because it’s very difficult to explain how much I love this tea.

The loose tea itself is beautiful. Its twisted leaves come in various earthy shades, from a loamy black to a bark-like brown to a dry grassy green. Opening the tin is like opening a little treasure box full of multicolored gems. In the olden days, camel caravans carried this precious tea across China to Russia–a trip that took at least half a year–and thus the Russian Caravan tea earned its name.

Upton has two Russian Caravans, both blends of teas from China, India, and Formosa. I’ve only tried the Finest Russian Caravan, which apparently uses a higher grade of tea. While the Finest Russian Caravan sounds like it ought to be an exotic or decadent treat, it is simple (and affordable) enough for everyday enjoyment.  It stands out as one of the most reliable staples of my tea collection. This is a tea I can come back to again and again.

The tea needs about 3-4 minutes to steep (beware of oversteeping, as it doesn’t handle it well). It has a rich, dark brown color. The aroma is slightly smoky, like the smell of autumn leaves on a rainy day. The flavor, too, has earthy undertones that again bring to mind a pile of leaves, but really, it’s much more appetizing than that may sound.  This tea has a hearty but smooth taste. It’s very easy to drink and tastes good hot or chilled.

While usually an afternoon tea, this Russian Caravan makes a good cup in the morning to get you going.  It also complements savory meals very well, so I can literally drink it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I want to–and trust me, I often do!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sakurae permalink
    April 7, 2009 4:25 am

    I’m not usually into smokey teas but this sounds very tempting!

  2. April 9, 2009 11:40 am

    This sounds like Chinese Black Tea Lapsang Souchong, which has a very pleasant smokey, dried-fruit aroma.

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