Tea Center

Recent Tasting Notes

67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
158 tasting notes

Another of the teas that Jillian sent me. Actually, this is the one I was curious about when we discussed a tea-swap, and with guests in town and PAX and all sorts of craziness, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and actually try the stuff.

At the time I’d asked for it, I’d not had another Russian Caravan. Now I’ve had A&D’s, and while I can say that I prefer that one, this is a pretty good alternative in a slightly different way.

It doesn’t have the same ‘bottom end’ as A&D’s Caravan. It’s a milder, brighter tea with more lapsang at the front end, but less on the tail end, of the sip. It feels thin but not watery; I never forgot that I was drinking tea. Maybe the additional brightness and general ’tea’ness comes from the darjeeling?

A good cup, all in all, though I think when I turn to smokey teas I’m specifically looking for something more robust and full-bodied, not necessarily gentle and on the weaker side, so there are probably other teas I’d reach for in order of preference…but it was an interesting tea to try!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1310 tasting notes

Night and stars above that shine so bright
The myst’ry of their fading light
That shines upon our caravan

I don’t care if that’s supposed to be a desert caravan and not a russian one, it still pops into my head whenever I see the name of this blend. Rather like JacquelineM’s River Shannon blend inevitably makes my brain go Oh Shenandoe, I love your daughter… Even though it’s not even the same river. Or the same country. Or the same continent. Can’t help it.

This one was put in the to-be-finished-off pile due to it being sample-sized and, I’m sorry to admit, quite forgotten.

The aroma right now just after pouring is pure bonfire and a hint of what I think Auggy and Takgoti mean when they say ‘burnt sugar’. Just a little bit. Not so much that you really recognise it as sweetness, but it’s enough to make me stop an wonder what that was. The more I sniff at it, the more clearly it comes out along with a note of dark chocolate.

I steeped it only four minutes (using the phenomenal steep.it site), and the flavour here strikes me as rather smokey. There’s something else too. I can’t quite identify it but it’s sort of like a middle thing between nuts and flour, or perhaps borderline cocoa-ish. Which weirdly is an entirely different flavour from both nuts and flour. Yeah, I don’t know either.

It certainly has a good kick, but I do think it’s a shame I did that shorter than usual steep just to see what would happen. I’m wondering what would have happened with that sweet note in the aroma if I hadn’t done that.

ETA: As I make my way down through the cup and it cools off a little bit, the unidentifiable flavour is turning out more and more cocoa-y, I think.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1310 tasting notes

Okay, so tidy-ness plans for New Year’s? Not gonna happen. But Lexitus should be used to the level of chaos that constitutes as ‘tidy’ around here, so he’ll just have to deal with it. I’ve only had that foul dentisty christmas tea so far today and I want something proper.

So I’m jumping into the last of my Jillian-teas. I can’t remember where or what the situation was, but Jillian said something somewhere at one point about what actually went into a russian caravan blend and it made me think that if you took a russian caravan and stuffed a measure of green tea in it, you would get something similar to my dearly beloved Gunpowder blend (which, again, has nothing to do with the green tea known as Gunpowder), so now I’m probably going to have a few difficulties with not imagining this containing an unknown green tea and comparing. Did any of this make sense?

It’s a golden colour, much lighter than I had expected. I was expecting something reddish. The aroma is dominated by Lapsang Souchong and the smokiness. It’s not as prickly as a plain Lapsang, but I still can’t really find anything else in the aroma. Maybe the best way to describe it is that it smells a bit like a Lapsang Souchong with milk in it as opposed to a Lapsang straight up.

Nope, it’s definitely nothing like my gunpowder blend (which has nothing to do with Gunpowder as in the green tea). This seems thinner and weaker for one thing. It doesn’t have the same kick in the backside. I’m picking up some strong Darjeeling notes in the flavour and the Lapsang seems only barely there. I’m only getting the smokey prickly sensation in the very beginning of the sip and after that it’s just Darjeeling.

It’s been a good while since I’ve last had a russian caravan, but this tastes nothing like I remember it. It’s good, yes. But it’s not really what I was looking for.

ETA: The second cup, somewhat harder steeped, now THAT’S what I’m looking for. It’s much more pronounced on the smoke and the Keemun is coming into play too instead of just being dominated by the grassy Darjeeling.

Note to self. Oversteep on purpose in future.

EvaPeva

wow….so many abstract observations here! Very intriguing.

Angrboda

Heehee, when it comes to rambling, one does one’s best. ;)

Ricky

The combination of all these teas sounds ehh intriguing… lapsang and darjeeling.. doesn’t sound like it would mix well together.

Angrboda

I wouldn’t call it entirely successful, but it’s not a disaster either. I think, if I hadn’t been expecting something different, I’d have liked it a lot better.

EvaPeva

i know….makes me super curious..so much going on! but im guessing Lapsang was just a faint hint? (as you mentioned)..so maybe its alright?

Angrboda

It was for me on the first cup. I came out much better on the second cup which had had a longer steep. I got it from Jillian, though, and if you check out her notes on it, she got something entirely different out of it, which I think was pretty interesting.
If you like or tolerate Lapsang, you might like this. If you absolutely don’t like Lapsang at all, I’m not sure you would appreciate this one much either. Depending, of course, on how long you steep it. I didn’t think I gave it a particularly short steeping time on the first round, I’m pretty sure it got at least five minutes, but there you are. (I don’t time it, so I wouldn’t know for certain)

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

Well this is the last of this, so long Russian Caravan! It was a decent tea, but I don’t think I’d buy it again, it’s a bit too smokey and it lacks something in terms of body.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Gander

I usually don’t like smoky teas, but the name is very attractive… Russian Caravan! Every time I hear a name with “Russian” in it, I want to try it… except I never have!

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

I drank this tea this morning and forgot to log it. Go see my older tasing notes it you’re curious about what I think of this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

The weather outside can’t decide whether it wants to snow or rain so it seems to have comprised by doing both of those. The result is that it’s very wet, cold, and foggy outside and I have absolutely no desire to move from the couch where I’m snuggled up under a blanket with a mug of this tea. It seems to have become my go-to Miserable Weather tea. :D

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

I stirred in a bit of honey in the tea along with the usual skim milk I add. It gives it an…interesting taste. It’s an ashy, sort of slightly carmelized flavour, but to me it seemed pretty inconguous so I don’t think I’ll drink it this way again.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

Merry Christmas to everyone on Steepster!

I made a pot of this for me and the boyfriend as we opened gifts. We aren’t allowed a nice, crackling fireplace in our condo, but I think this tea is the next best thing. :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
PeteG

Happy Christmas to you…at least you have the smokiness and comfort!

takgoti

Merry Christmas!

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

A passable resteep of the leaves from earlier. However, for some reason it doesn’t seem to go well with banana. Blech!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

I would think very few teas would go w/ banana.

Jillian

I suppose you’re right, although I’m temped to try Adagio’s Banana-flavoured black tea out of morbid curiosity.

Cofftea

I’m not a black tea fan and I had WAY too much liquid medication as a kid. I can’t even look at banana runts. Although I am interested in trying guanabanana. And at 1st I thought it was guanobanana… So would that just be banana pu erh? LOL

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

This tea seems very appropriate on such a cold day of the year. I might not be able to have a roaring fire, but at least I can imagine one while tasting the smokey essences of this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

The first real snowfall of the year fell last night, covering everything with a cold, white blanket. I’m not a fan of winter and there’s something I find satisfying about being snuggled up in a warm house with a mug of tea when it’s chilly outside.

I don’t have a wood-burning fireplace but this tea calls one to mind, so I suppose it’s the next best thing. :D

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

I miss having a Russian Caravan. I’ve never seen it in Denmark. When my boyfriend is going back to the UK for christmas, I think I’ll make him shop for me. I know exactly the one I want.

Jillian

If it were me I’d send him with a list of teas a mile long! XD

Angrboda

Thing is, I don’t really know what they’ve got available in stores over there. :/ I only know this one because I’ve had it before. I’ll have to do some reconnaissance first and tell him what to look out for.

teafiend

I am so excited for snow! Winter is my absolute favorite. At school I obviously don’t have a fireplace, but this sounds like the next best thing.

Jillian

@ Angrboda, soem fo the places I’ve heard my Brti friends talk about are Whittard of Chelsea (http://www.whittard.co.uk/) and Taylors of Harrog

Jillian

(Ack! Sorry, I accidently clicked ‘Post’ before I was done, hence the bad spelling and cut-off post.) Here’s the rest: …Taylors of Harrogate (http://www.taylorsofharrogate.co.uk/)

Angrboda

Jillian: Yes, Whittard’s is the one I’ve tried so that’s what I’ll make him get for me if it’s an available brand in whichever shop he shops in over there.
I’ll have to check out the others. They have more options on Twinings than we have here too, but honestly it would have to be some pretty interesting selections on that since we have more or less the same things available from other brands here at the same price already. Thanks for the links though, it makes the reconnaissance so much easier. :)

LENA

no snow for us yet :(

Jillian

@Lena, you’re in Tennesee, right? Do you guys ever get any snow there? <

LENA

sometimes…

we close schools when we get a good “dusting”. half an inch and it’s mass pandemonium. everyone raids the grocery stores for the basics. HAHA!

Jillian

LOL! XD

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

It might not be my absolute favorite, but this is a great tea to drink on a cold, blustery day when I can practically feel winter stretching out it’s hands.

This is the first time I’ve tried brewing tea with those little T-Sac pouches. It’s less cleaning-up and fewer stray leaves left in my cup but I think it maybe ‘blocks’ some of the flavour a little bit.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

Steeped 4 minutes. Smokey.

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

Steeped for 2.5 minutes and added skim milk.

The smell might be BBQ-y but the taste is ever so faintly that of a campfire; there’s a trace of ash and smoke and hot embers in each sip. It’s not really unpleasent, just sort of intriguing, even if I’m not sure if I like it or not.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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67
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1629 tasting notes

Specifically Tea had to order this in from their supplier, The Tea Center, because they don’t keep it in stock.

This tea smells and tastes and lot smokier than I was expecting given that it’s a blended tea. It wasn’t bad but it smelled like it would be almost on par with some straight Lapsang Souchongs I’ve seen. The addition of skim milk dampened down the BBQ flavour somewhat, so it still made an enjoyable morning cuppa.

Preparation
Boiling
LENA

BBQ?!?! Someone offered to swap me some Russian Caravan today for my sample of Black Dragon Pearls, but now I’m having second thoughts. Are you sure about that thumbs up? Yikes!

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