Russian Country

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves, Lapsang Souchong
Brown Toast, Caramel, Leather, Malt, Marine, Pine, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Wood, Fishy, Licorice, Salt
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Bulk, Loose Leaf, Sachet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Patrick G
Average preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 9 oz / 273 ml

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51 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I got this because I was missing my Russian tea from the Covent Tea Garden. It smells smoky in the tin but not overwhelmingly so. There is a bit of lapsang blended in this tea. It has a slightly...” Read full tasting note
  • “Sipdown no. 30 of the year 2014. Revisiting the delights of tea after some time away feels in some ways like being a tea virgin all over again. I remember the first time I encountered smoky tea...” Read full tasting note
  • “Special Thanks to Amy Oh for this one – I got your envelop today! Thanks so much! This smells like a gentle LS. I agree with Amy Oh on this completely! With the gentle LS – it seems to be paired...” Read full tasting note
  • “1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped six minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare. Yep, lost track of time again. The tea did not get bitter. It did get POTENT. I am very awake right now. Holy snappin...” Read full tasting note

From Harney & Sons

A blend of four teas along with an additional touch of Lapsang, this is a softer version of Smoky Lapsang Souchong. This tea is reminiscent of the teas that were carried by camel across the Asian deserts to Russia. As Norwood Pratt quips: “the only choice was one hump or two.”

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

51 Tasting Notes

479 tasting notes

I finally managed to finish a tin of this blend yesterday afternoon. My agency had scheduled our annual staff picnic at the closest state resort park yesterday, but we had rainstorms move in Thursday and it rained all day. I didn’t want to go anyway, so I used the weather as an excuse to skip it. Instead, I spent the day getting a couple meetings out of the way and then went home early to drink tea, play with my cats, and rest. Days like yesterday make me miss the time I spent working from home. I used to hate it because I found it boring, but now I miss the freedom of being able to work at my own pace whilst sitting around in my boxers and a t-shirt and drinking tea all day.

I prepared this tea in the Western fashion. I steeped a full teaspoon of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of malt, smoke, wood, and pine. After infusion, I began to pick up on touches of brown toast and sea salt. In the mouth, I mostly detected strong top notes of malt, smoke, and pine underscored by subtler flavors of sea salt, brown toast, leather, roasted nuts, and caramel. The finish was smoky, woody, and malty with touches of roasted nuts and leather.

This was a nice, hearty blend. It was not particularly deep or complex, but it was a great blend to just knock back. Though I kind of wish there had been something to better balance all of the wood, smoke, and malt, this was still very solid.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Caramel, Leather, Malt, Marine, Pine, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Working from home sounds nice. Especially on days when it’s +30C or more. Or in the winter at -30C…

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15 tasting notes

Boy, does this have pronounced aromas. Its taste is smooth. A nice morning cup.

Flavors: Fishy, Licorice, Salt, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100 tasting notes

A very good tea from Harney & Sons. I’m a recent convert to Lapsang, so was excited to see the description of this one blended with that tea for a smoother version.

It is smoky but slightly, and all the teas blend together to make a smooth, smooth tea that has no bitterness, no astringency, and a subtle but very there flavor that’s not artificial at all.

When I’m drinking this I find myself hoping for a little spice or something – it feels like that’s missing here, even though it wasn’t really supposed to be spicy. The smell is great and pops as soon as I put the tea in the water.

It’s a good blend that’s a breakfast tea but not really for strong Lapsang fans looking for that kick by itself. For some reason this also has a slight fishy taste to me in every sip. Not sure if it’s just this batch or what, I don’t see that as a note for anyone else but it’s definitely there for me.

Next brew I’ll experiment with a stronger steep. A nice wakeup feel from this one!

Flavors: Fishy, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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353 tasting notes

I’m not sure what the other tea that was blended with the Lapsang Souchong was because I couldn’t taste anything but the Lapsang. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but I would have liked a bit more subtly to the flavor.

Flavors: Smoke

3 min, 0 sec

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3 tasting notes

Tasty! A blend of various black teas, the smokiness from the lapsang souchong only comes in at the very end. A nice lightly smoky tea that offers something different than usual.

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367 tasting notes

I was cleaning out my tea cupboard when I came across a whole set of Harney & Sons samples I had forgotten about from ::mumblemumble:: years back. So I might be reviewing a bit more in the near future. However, I must note that even though the packets are air tight, this tea is a few years old and therefore maybe not the most accurate.

Not a lot to say about this tea. If it were my first smoky tea, then I think that I wouldn’t be very impressed. It’s fine and held up after I oversteeped it a bit. It has a distinct earthy aftertaste — not bad. It’s fine, but I won’t order a full tin. NE

4 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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103 tasting notes

Really nice lapsang. My stomach says it’s strong, but there’s a nice mellower aftertaste, but yeah still smoky. I think I encouraged Shmiracles to get this one because of the name, and because it’s Harney, and because I know she likes lapsang too. I like all novel Russian things, and I have a few Kusmi tea collections in my Amazon wish list that are kind of a dream buy. Someday!

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513 tasting notes

Ah I’m posting this note hours after consuming this tea, which feels a bit wrong because I want to do it justice. I do remember, however, my first experience with a smoky black tea-it was the keemun hao ya a (which is somehow different from a keemun hao ya b, etc…?), and it was from art of Tea. I remember the distinct impression that the tea smelled of barn yard, and unfortunately that association persisted until I finished the sample. I posted about it to you fine folk, and one of you implored me not to give up on smoky teas, and so I did my best to soldier on. I loved the Queen, and she’s got a smoky element to her, and this one also came highly recommended from ifjuly whom I like a great deal.

This tea did smell predictably smoky as soon as I opened the package, although I can’t say I immediately envisioned a barn, which I suppose is a good thing. Once brewed, it retained its smoky smell, but I was also getting hints of burnt chocolate, along with…another smell that I can’t really place. It sort of smelled as though a house was burning-you know that smell that will drift about a most unfortunate neighborhood when a house is burning down? sort of that salty smell that, if not for being born to you on crisp fall or winter air, might actually be more upsetting? I mean, of course it’s upsetting-the thought of anyone’s home burning down is very tragic…oh my god, how the hell did my tasting note feature a burning family home? aaahhh. But basically, there’s an almost salty aspect to the burning chocolate smoke smell of this tea. That particular facet of the smell doesn’t translate into the taste, however. The tea tastes lovely, with hints of dark chocolate, malt, and campfire, and I loved it. I don’t actually know what’s Russian about smoke, but hey, I’ll take it. I also realized that for me (and others, I imagine), enjoying a good smoky tea is a bit of an acquired taste. Mr. Keychange took a sip of my tea this morning and said that it seemed weird but that he could get used to it. I pretty much inhaled the cup alongside my double vanilla buttercream cupcake, and would be happy to have a tea like this in my collection. There’s probably enough left in the sample for another cup.


Hahaha omg I know I shouldn’t have laughed at the “oh my god, how the hell did my tasting note feature a burning family home…” but I did. And good for you for soldiering on into the territory of smoky teas.


I’m glad I soldiered on also! and yeah…I was like, trying to describe a burning home for the sake of the tea, but then I was like am I really using a tragedy to describe how this tea smells? and then I was tripping all over myself and aaahh!


Ahahaha. This made my day. :P


Haha I’m glad!


Yeah, I felt bad laughing, but this note cracked me up…!


Well, if it makes you guys feel any better, I felt awful comparing my tea to a burning house, too…but that really is what it smelled like! ha


I think the Russian element comes from the common name for smoke tea blends, Russian Caravan, which was a reference to the way lapsang souchong, keemun, and other Chinese teas used to be transported (in Russian caravans) for the long journey to the West by land (which took ferfarkingever of course, so associated only with teas processed to withstand such long routes, like smoky ones). But like most tea trivia and lore, that might not be accurate—just a common explanation though (IIRC I learned it from an Upton catalog).

I enjoy your notes. (:


Hey, that explanation souns as good as any! :D


Oh goodness your note made me laugh. :)


LMFAO kechange… this was so random and hilarious at the same time.



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1 tasting notes

A substantial blend with just the right amount of smoke for my tastes. This is one of my go-to teas when I need a sturdy cuppa, something comforting and consistent. It’s a really perfectly balanced tea.

Additive note: I used to drink it with some rock sugar and milk and it was brilliant. Recently I went off dairy and sugar, have severe nut allergies and as yet, I have not been able to recapture the previous perfection. It isn’t bad with agave or honey, but it isn’t the same. And coconut milk is really not a great addition to the flavor profile. Neither was soy. We’re going to try some rice milk in this and see how that works.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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197 tasting notes

This tea smells very strongly of Lapsang Souchong, but doesn’t deliver it in the taste, which surprisingly had a bit of licorice to it. As it cools, there’s more smoke, but it’s not a particularly good tea

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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