This blend has been around since the 18th century and the one significant variant that accidentally came out of the Sino-Russian tea trade. A blend of Lapsang souchong black tea which renders the strong, smoky flavor; Keemun black tea that rounds and smoothens the rough edges; and Oriental Beauty oolong tea which contributes to the viscosity and sweet aftertaste.
Mile long caravans would make their way to Russia from China across the undulating Mongolian steppe through the cold, snowy tracks of southern Siberia, over the Ural mountains before arriving at Imperial Russia's greatest emporium in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. The trip would usually take 18 months to complete with thousands of camels (in winter) and ox-carts (during summertime) laden with millions of pounds of tea.
The blend was accidentally created when smoke from the nightly campfires were absorbed by the tea bricks giving it a stronger aroma and dimension that the Russians, numbed by the cold country they live in appreciate and thoroughly enjoyed.
When the first tracks of the Trans-siberian railroad was laid, the new mode of transport effectively rendered the camel caravan redundant and more costly. But the Russians hankering for smoky, strong, and malty tea birthed the Russian Caravan blend by incorporating Lapsang Souchong so they can continue to enjoy the particular flavors they so loved.
BENEFITS: Black teas are fully oxidized and have undergone several processes more than white & green teas. For this reason, its chemical properties also underwent changes but have not lost the many benefits derived from the Camellia Sinensis leaves. Black teas have Theaflavin and Thearubigin, powerful antioxidants that can protect the drinker from stresses of the modern life.
Steeping Instructions: Give the leaves a quick rinse of hot water before steeping. There are three ways to prepare and enjoy our Russian Caravan blend.
Do as the Russians do- Prepare a tea concentrate by steeping the leaves for 15 minutes instead of the usual 2-3 minutes. When done, place a dollop of fruit jam in your cup, pour about 1/4 to 1/2 of the way of the tea concentrate into the cup, then dilute with boiling water. You may or you may not put a sugar cube in your mouth to sip the tea through it.
Make it the Regular way- Put one tsp of tea leaves per person in the tea pot; give the leaves a quick hot water rinse; use freshly-boiled water and steep for 2-3 minutes depending on how strong you want your tea. Add sugar and milk.
Follow Option 2 but instead of milk and sugar, add a squeeze of lemon.
Note: High quality teas can be steeped for several more times. In the case of black teas, it can be steeped 2-3 times more! Now, hold your cup and enjoy your perfect cup of tea!