Russian Caravan/Grace Tea Company

Photo Credit: Grace Tea Company

I am a fan of smoky teas, whether they are smoked over a fire like lapsang teas often are, or whether they are teas with natural smoky notes like some Keemun teas.

Russian Caravan teas are usually less smoky than lapsangs. As tea traveled the great distance from China, India, and Ceylon to Russia in camel trains, the evening campfires of the caravans would gradually scent the teas with a light smoky flavor, and this flavor was so delectable and such a part of the tea that it is recreated today.

Too often, tea companies use inferior leaf for teas that are going to be flavored or scented. I find many lapsangs to be weak and watery as far as the base goes, for instance. While I love my smoke, I don’t want to sacrifice quality in the base. Russian Caravan by Grace Tea delivers with this pure China blend, consisting of mostly Keemun with a bit of Lapsang.

Normally I would review this as a fall tea because I always reach for smoky tea on the first chilly or darkish days of autumn. The campfire/fireplace vibe is so comforting. But I made quite the discovery a couple of weeks ago.

SMOKY TEA IS AN AWESOME PAIRING WITH ICE CREAM! Granted, the first ice cream I tried it with was a s’mores flavor one, so there you already have the suggestion of campfires. It was the power of suggestion when eating the ice cream that made me jump up and make a pot of Russian Caravan to have with it. But I have now tried it with other flavors of ice cream and must declare it to be an awesome foil for the rich, cold sweetness. One bite of freezing sugary decadence, one big sip of smoky, hot comfort.

Alas, I have emptied my tea tin before I ran out of ice cream, so tomorrow night I will be trying a nice, strong lapsang with my vanilla chocolate chip.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Grace Tea Company

Description

Being a pure China tea blend, our Russian Caravan black loose leaf tea comes close to the luxury teas that were transported by camel train from the tea-producing areas of India, Ceylon and China to Europe, via Russia during the 18th century.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Wild Monsoon/teakruthi

Photo Credit: teakruthi

In one year you probably couldn’t taste all of the different types of tea. I would be highly impressed and maybe a little worried if you did.

The differences that one can find from one plant is astounding.

Even the region of Ceylon, which is generally known for its black teas, has a variety of different types. Take a Ceylon green, a Japanese green, and a Chinese green and you will get many different flavor profiles! It’s amazing!

So far in all of the Teakruthi samples I’ve tried I have discovered most to have astringency but this one doesn’t have a bit. There is a bit on the second, though I am also using a smaller steeping vestibule.

A unique mix of woodsy and earthy notes. Some nutty notes here and there. Wet forest floor in the wet leaf aroma after steeping but the most amazing smell as soon as the water touched the leaves. (There needs to be a term for this)

Instantly my nostrils were filled with wet warm jungle. Like I wasn’t standing in my kitchen anymore. What an amazing feeling that was.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  teakruthi

Description

We harvested our Wild Monsoon tea from the Southern province of Sri Lanka in the Ruhuna tea district. This tea grows in an area nourished by high humidity and monsoon season, and surrounded by diverse wildlife. The forests of Ruhuna are home to elephants, leopards, bears, wild boar, deer, giant flamingos, and of course, the finest teas. The area is teeming with life; it is never dull. Dark gold in colour, this tea is mild, malty, and fine, and delivers to your pallet a lively flavour that tastes like adventure.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

East Frisian/Harney and Sons

I purchased this tea to use as an enrichment lesson for some young ladies to whom I am teaching elementary German. Tea and cookies make for a fun lesson! And who knew that if East Frisia was a country instead of a region, they would have the highest per capita consumption of black tea in the world?

I wanted to be as authentic as possible and did a test run today. Their “Teetied” is different from any other.

First, a large piece of rock sugar (Kluntje) is put into a porcelain or china cup. Then the rich tea is poured over it and the rock sugar should crackle. After the tea is poured, a small ladle of cream is added to the tea gently, pouring along the side of the cup so that the cream makes a cloud (Wolkje) in the tea. You must never stir!

It is considered polite to drink at least three cups of tea, although more than that is fine. When you finished, you place a spoon (the one you definitely did NOT use to stir your tea!) in your cup or you can turn your cup over on the saucer.

The tea is usually a strong Assam blended with a bit of Darjeeling and some Ceylon. This one is very dark, earthy, and bready. It is a tad brisk but less so than I expected.

The cloud in the tea fascinated me and really made this Teetied a mindfulness session as I watched the cloud roll and change shape after each sip. The cream coats your lips and takes the edge off the strong tea, then the tea dominates, and at the last you get a small sip or two that is incredibly sweet. The rock sugar should be large enough to last through all three cups of tea and each cup that you drink should be finished completely so that the subsequent cup doesn’t look muddy when you add the cream.

I think this lesson will be a success, and I can hardly wait to try it again with some cookies or pastries!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Harney & Sons 

Description

Fortify yourself with East Frisian, our popular full-bodied black tea blend of Darjeeling, Ceylon and Assam. It’s named for East Frisia, Germany’s cold, wet, and dreary North Sea coast – the ideal spot to drink hot tea, and the East Frisians do! They consume more black tea than anyone else in the world. They do drink it with cream and crystalized sugar.

(Credit- Harney & Sons)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Bourbon Vanilla Black Tea/Paromi Full Leaf Tea

After not sleeping so great the last few nights, I made time in my work day for tea time.  I know that doesn’t seem to out of character for someone that adores tea like I do, but after starting a new job about a month and some change ago- I’ve been more focused on onboarding than enjoying my daily cuppas.

But not today.  Today I knew would be the perfect day to enjoy a cuppa from Paromi Full Leaf Tea along  with my new snack of pumpkin spice graham crackers.

Paromi Full Leaf Tea has been a company that I have wanted to try for some time but due to my overstocked tea stash, I always left those teas on my wish list.  So when Paromi Full Leaf Tea reached out for a review of their teas, I was delighted and couldn’t wait for the teas to arrive.

Today I brewed up a lovely cuppa of their Organic Bourbon Vanilla Black Tea (single sachet) and I couldn’t be more pleased! This tea has a lovely soft brisk black tea base with a beautiful layer of sweetness that more reminds me of a red rooibos than vanilla.  The description of this tea notes a buttery aroma and that is a spot on description.  Not only do you pick up on those buttery notes in the aroma of the steeped cuppa but the tea itself has this buttery feel that leaves you wanting more.  The touch of the caramel like notes just provides a wonderful dessert overtone.   I am already imagining this tea as a latte tomorrow morning for my traveling companion when I take the kiddos to school.

Do want to point out that as the tea cools, the briskness of the Assam tea does pick up- I would recommend enjoying this tea while the tea is on the hotter side.

All in all, a perfect simple but very enjoyable cuppa to enjoy to break up the day or to give you the oomph you need to get you through the afternoon.  I spied a Pumpkin Spice tea on their site.  I think its time to make an order!

Thank you Paromi Full Leaf Tea for the lovely tea to check out!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Paromi Full Leaf Tea

Description

Vanilla tea? The beauty of vanilla is that it builds up the flavors around it; nature’s equivalent of that friend who gives you lots of well-deserved compliments. We blend bourbon vanilla beans from Madagascar with our full-bodied Assam black tea and a delicate note of caramel to bring out this brew’s intensely smooth, decadent side. Even before your first sip, its buttery aroma will have you saying “vanilaaah.”

Organic Bourbon Vanilla Black Tea is the perfect balance of full-bodied black tea and mouthwatering vanilla from Madagascar.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Agave Chai/Spice & Tea Merchants – TeaEqualsBliss

Agave Chai from Spice & Tea Merchants was MADE with vegans and diabetics in mind! I have to say I was thrilled because I’m vegan and my father is diabetic and we are both tea fans!

This black tea base hails from Australia and contributes to this unique black chai. It’s blended with healthy natural ingredients – without any additives or preservatives. It’s a chai created with vegans and diabetics in mind because it has low GI, is fully consumable by vegans, and is a healthy substitute for diabetics.

One thing I did notice and knew right away I had to mention is upon opening the package of loose leaf there was a stickiness to the leaves and other ingredients but I knew this was because of the agave in the mix. Just a heads-up in case it takes you by surprise!

Ingredients include: Ceylon back tea, organic light agave syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, peppercorns, cloves, fresh ginger, and salt.

I’m pretty sure the reasoning for the bit of salt is to do a nice yin and yang with the sweetness of the agave. It wasn’t noticeable…that is how little they used of the salt. The spices were nicely done. I wouldn’t change anything with the ratios of the ingredients they used.

This tea was TOTALLY worth it at $6.99 per ounce and was as fresh-as-fresh-could-be! Sweet, Semi-spicy, delicious!

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Spice & Tea Merchants

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!