So I brewed Petali’s Lapsang Souchong and Margaret’s Russian Caravan side by side to do a little comparing and contrasting. All I can say now is that I want BBQ. I’m seriously thinking about doing a slow cooked carnitas recipe involving one of these teas.
The leaves of both teas offer up a hint as to the flavor: the lapsang is camphor-smelling, while the caravan is sweeter, more like a BBQ sauce.
Lapsang Souchong: The smoky smell is strong with this one, but as usual, it doesn’t come out as strongly in the flavor. That’s not to say that it isn’t a strong smoky flavor, because it is. The camphor smell is reflected in the flavor of the tea, along with a menthol flavor.
It kind of reminds me of Carmex, which I kind of don’t mind, but after a while, it starts to lessen the experience overall. Perhaps menthol is not the flavor for me.
After I swallow, it leaves a little tickle in the back of the throat like I just inhaled a little too much smoke at the campfire. I imagine some people might find that unpleasant, but I think it makes the experience more authentic.
Russian Caravan: I like the vocabulary to describe the difference in the smoky flavor. It’s just different. Maybe a different kind of wood was used for the smoking? It’s still very prevalent, but definitely not as strong as the Lapsang. There’s no camphor flavor or menthol, for which I am grateful.
The flavor of the tea is sweeter, which reflects the smell. There’s a bit more astringency to the tea itself, and it’s leaving a bit of dryness on the back of the palate. It’s like having a BBQ party instead of a campfire.
I don’t recommend doing two smoky teas at the same time. Sure, you’re able to really compare and contrast flavors, but after this much tea, I feel like I just smoked a pack of cigarettes! Definitely to be enjoyed in small doses from here on out.
Flavors: Astringent, Char, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla