Russian Caravan from Tea Queens. . . .

I usually reserve my smokier teas for cool or cold weather since I find them very comforting, but cloudy, rainy days spent gazing out the window qualify, too!

Tea Queens sells through consultants, and you can host a tea break or a tea party to learn about tea and to taste some of their offerings. If there is no consultant in your area, the website instructs you to call customer service, so I assume you can order directly from them.

This Russian Caravan is a blend of Assam, Keemun with lychee, and Lapsang Souchong. There are no steeping instructions on the website so I went with 200F and four minutes just to pamper the Assam a bit.

The resulting tea is so light I thought perhaps I had made a mistake, but I have another Lapsang blend that comes out a similar color.

This went very well with our breakfast of blueberry scones. The company sells scone mix, too, by the way! And teapot cookie cutters and colorful decorating sugars.

There is a touch of briskness from the Assam, and it is nicely smokey. I like smoke, and a few Russian Caravan blends have disappointed me by being a bit too tame, but this one was just right. I really don’t taste much lychee, even the cups I drank after the scone was long gone. I think mainly I pick up a general fruitiness from the the Assam and lychee together.

I have made a lot of new friends by having people over who want to learn about tea, where it is grown, how it is processed, how to prepare it, why to drink. I think the idea of hosting a party where an expert comes to conduct your own personal tea flight is marvelous! Especially since it gives you a discount on your tea, and real teaheads know how outrageous the tea budget can get!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Tea Queens
Description

A blend of Assam and Keemun with Chinese lychee tea imparts a wonderful fruitiness. Lapsang Souchong adds a gentle touch of smokiness to this one of a kind blend.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas might be known for the fandom-inspired blends submitted by their users, but the tea company also offers their own seasonal blends.  One of my favorite flavors they have created is a fall blend called Bonfire.

This blend is mainly comprised of honeybush herbal tea, which brings the perfect caramel, woodsy notes to start as a baseline.  If you are wary of red rooibos teas, don’t worry about this blend, the honeybush is much more gentle and less medicinal than the rooibos. The honeybush is paired with just a smidge of smoky black lapsang souchong.  There is little enough lapsang souchong to keep the caffeine level low, and to not overwhelm you with its bacon-like scent. Truly, the smokiness is relaxed and minimal, if you are on the fence, give it a try. Personally, I’ve grown to like smoky teas, so I add an extra scoop of lapsang souchong to the Bonfire loose leaf to really pump up the robustness.

What takes this blend to the next level are all the other herbs and additions.  Apple pieces add some juicy sweetness and their trademark fall flavor. Aniseed and cacao nibs add some dessert tones to make this brew feel like a treat.  Orange peels and cloves bring their wintry spice combination, and red peppercorns add a pop of color and just a hint of cracked pepper flavor.

This tea is delicious on its own, but also goes well with lemon and honey, or could be a tasty starting point for a hot toddy.  The blend is not available all year round, so I always make sure to stock up and make it last.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush and Black
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Description:

Crisp autumn nights call for warmth and comfort and little can better provide them than an autumn bonfire. Behold our bonfire blend: Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while lapsang and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat. A perfect tea for fireside enjoyment or downtime dreaming.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lapsang Souchong from Twinings. . .

Chapters & Cups – The City of Brass’s Perfect Tea

Welcome my dear readers to a new segment exclusive to Sororitea Sisters! Here I will discuss my latest reads and what tea goes perfectly with the said read. I welcome your comments about new reads I should look into, what tea you would also think goes well with the read, or anything else you would like to add!

.Within the past few months, I have become the proud owner of S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel, The City of Brass. To give you a little bit about this book before I get started, this book focuses on a young Egyptian woman who lives in poverty and to make ends meet she uses her impressively deft hands and the mysterious ability that allows her to heal the sick. Now since this is set in the 18th century her abilities mark her as unholy but regardless she is still called on by the population of Cairo to heal their ailments. While doing this she foolishly summons a several centuries old Daeva warrior that quickly pulls her into the world of Daevabad that is unseen to the human eye full of ancient magic and dangerously confusing court politics.

To say the least, I devoured this book and now I have to wait until 2019 for the next installment. And while this book is commonly referred to as a young adult because the protagonist goes on a journey of self-realization I think it will be more apt to call this an adult novel because of some of the themes in this book. There are violent and sexual themes but it is not to the level that the Game of Thrones series is. I would say that this would be good for someone who is 18 and up.

Now the tea that I believe that is the perfect companion is Lapsang Souchong. More specifically Twinings Lapsang Souchong but I am sure that any other tea brands will do. I think this tea is a perfect companion for this read for it is as rich and smoky as the mood is that Chakraborty crafts. From the smoky djinn and daeva to the richness of the history and the populace of Daevabad. Also not to mention there is a part where a certain magical tea is described and it reminded me instantly of Lapsang Souchong.

As you can probably guess reader, I give this book 10/10 cups of tea. This book is perfect for any fantasy lover that enjoys traveling to a new world inside of our familiar world. The protagonist is strong and clever and the cast of characters that are presented in the book are fully fleshed out and are memorable.

See you for the next read!

Kara


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Twinings
Description

Lapsang Souchong, also referred to as smoked tea, is one of the worlds’ oldest and most distinctive black teas. The tea is grown in the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China and is made by only a select number of estates. Once a very secretive process, Lapsang Souchong is prepared using the same manual techniques today that have been passed down from generation to generation.

After the tea is plucked, the leaves are withered over cypress or pine wood fires. They are later placed into barrels so that the smoky aroma intensifies. As a final step, the leaves are placed into flat wicker baskets and positioned on bamboo trays over smoky pine fires, where they dry and absorb even more aroma. The finished tea leaves are thick and black and when steeped in hot water, produce a rich tea with a unique, smoky taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hot Cross Bun from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

I was too chicken to order a full supply of this springtime blend, but I did get a free sample so I got to get a taste risk-free.  Hot Cross Bun is one of the Easter flavors released by Bluebird Tea Company. This is a black tea and rooibos tea blend, though rooibos makes up the majority, so you won’t be overloaded with caffeine.

The scent of this blend was vibrant and noticeable right out of the bag.  Some of the black tea was clearly a smoky lapsang souchong, but the smoked flavor was closely followed by a powerful, sweet vanilla scent.  Quite the flavor duo.

Brewed, this tea continued to open up and show off its delicious ingredients.  The smokiness cooled off, and became more like the suggestion of a fire in the fireplace.  The creamy vanilla was heightened to the decadence of buttercream icing. Both flavors were nicely balanced by sweet and tart orange zest to bring it all together.

This is a great tea for those days that you want a sweet dessert blend, but don’t want to feel too much like a pastry chef.  The whiff of rugged lapsang souchong brings a unique boldness to this brew and makes you appreciate favorite flavors like cream and citrus in a new light.  Don’t be a chicken like me and the next time you can-order a full bag of this springtime tea before it’s gone!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Rooibos
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Description:

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!