Leaf Type: Black & Oolong Teas
Where to Buy: Tippy’s Tea
Tippy’s own interpretation of the Russian caravan tea. Strikes a delicious balance between the oolong and black teas. Infuse multiple times for a full tasting experience.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve had a couple of Russian Caravan teas, I think that this one might be the best that I’ve tried! I think it’s because the Oolong in this blend really comes through in a very pleasant way. It imparts an almost creamy texture to the cup which is a nice contrast to the smoky notes of the Lapsang Souchong.
To brew this, I lowered the temperature. When I come across a blend like this that blends two different types of tea (like green and black teas, or in this case, oolong and black teas), I generally yield to the tea that requires the lower temperature. I’d rather have a slightly weaker flavor from the black tea than the bitterness that would result from a scorched tea leaf.
So I went with 190°F. I measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the basket of my Kati and poured in the hot water and let it steep for 3 minutes. After I had started the process, I thought to myself: “Maybe I should have done a quick rinse on the leaves!” But by the time that I had come to that realization, more than a minute had passed and it was a little passed the time to do a rinse. Maybe next time!
But as it is, it’s not too smoky. I don’t know if the rinse would improve the flavor or not, because I’m enjoying it as it is.
It’s smoky, but as I said before, there’s a really nice contrast between the smoky element and the soft, buttery/creamy element of the Oolong. It’s quite pleasant. Smooth yet smoky. Forward notes of caramel. Middle notes of fruit and flower mingling with the smoke. Hints of molasses and earth in the distance. It’s a beautifully complex tea!
In the past, I would shy away from Russian Caravan teas because of the smokiness of them – I’ve never been a big fan of something heavily smoked and when I would smell a Russian Caravan, even though they’re not nearly as smoky as say a straight-up Lapsang Souchong, there is still a strong element of smoke to the aroma and in my earliest days as a tea enthusiast I found that smoky note to be very off-putting. Now I’ve come to embrace it and enjoy it, but Russian Caravan teas are still not my favorite blends. The few that I have tried seemed to focus heavily on their black teas and not so much on the Oolong aspect, I like that this tea – The People’s Tea from Tippy’s Tea – brought some balance to the two tea types so that the luscious texture and creamy flavor of the Oolong could be enjoyed with the smoky notes of the Lapsang Souchong and the fruity elements of the Keemun.
It’s a very well thought out blend! Bravo, Tippy’s Tea!