I rolled an “8” on the die that RABS provided in the wonderful Geek Pride Tea Game Giveaway today. It was so exciting because I had gone two days in a row rolling numbers that were no longer valid. I did, however, congratulate myself on my virtuous failure to cheat.

So I opened the lovely package: http://www.flickr.com/photos/destro/4675967968/

It was the one marked “8” in the upper portion of the photo. And I was enchanged. Georgia Tea Company? Russian Caravan? I briefly thought that this tea might have come from Georgia SSR, but immediately returned to reality. I remember reading the reviews that Rabs had posted of this tea and I have it on a “to purchase” list. So I was absolutely thrilled to have it in hands and water on this afternoon.

The dry aroma is enchanting and robust—very smoky with a bit of tar, just the way I like it. Very smoky which I love. I felt tranported to a Russian troika where the horses are neighing as they approach the Kremlin and a very young Omar Sharif (transplanted to the 19th century) is guiding the reins and we are both wearing traditional Russian hats because it’s a universe in which we are oblivious to animal cruelty and the evils of the Tsar. Maybe we even are the Tsar? Or would that be the Czar?

This is the best Russian Caravan I have had. My typical response to Russian Caravan is that it stops short of its full smoky and flavorful potential. Not in this case! This one is no shrinking violet. As Rabs says in her review, there is a natural sweetness underlying the smoke (a delightful combination). Both the sweetness and the smoke are bold interpreters of the Russian Caravan concept.

Georgia Tea Company and this tea are on the top of my “to be ordered” list.

What a magnificent cup! Thank you, RABS! You are a genius!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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I really love big, bold, brash teas. Smokiness enthralls me. I don’t seem to do subtle.
I don’t do rooibos.

My rating system:
Never again in a hundred million years

31-55: This tea probably has some redeeming qualities but I won’t would not seek it out again.

Shows some promise but also has a fundamental flaw. I probably owe these a second taste but am unmotivated.

Good with at least one strong quality; I probably would not buy it but would drink it cheerfully.

81-90: Worthy contenders; they might be ranked 100 on somebody’s else’s scale. I like them a lot but have not fallen in love. Will probably buy and use.

91-95: These are the true loves, the chosen ones, the ones I dream about and crave. Unless they are in a limited edition—la! how you tease me!—I will always keep in my cupboard.

96-100: I cannot be separated from these teas and would develop a panic attack if I were to run out.

“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.”

Elderly dowager. Quintessential cat lady.

Tea which must be in stock always:

Black Dragon LS by Upton Teas: My choice every morning.

Florence & Lapsang Souchong by Harney & Sons

a good Gen Maicha

Samovar: Russian Blend, Maiden’s Ecstasy, Ryokucha

Mariage Frères: Confucious, Vivaldi, Eros, Aida, Marco Polo

American Tea Room: Brioche

Leland Teas: Bogart

Life in Teacup:
An Xi Tie Guan Yin Grade II modern green style & also Charcoal Style


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