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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: The English Tea Store’s Czar Nicolas Russian Caravan Tea

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The Subject:
Czar Nicolas Russian Caravan

The English Tea Store


Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings added: See comments
Aroma, dry tea leaves: Mainly smoky

1st Infusion (in the cup):
Aroma, plain — Strong smokiness
Taste, plain — Coffee-like quality, malty/smoky, not bitter, surprisingly tasty
Aroma, enhanced — Slightly smoky
Taste, enhanced — Smooth, light caramel with smoky undertones

Additional Infusion(s):
2nd infusion was weak, not recommended unless you steep the first one longer or start with more tea leaves

I had to get the vendor’s steeping instructions off of a video on their Website. It would be easier to include this information in the tea description area, like they have for many of their other teas. Ok, enough griping, on with the review. :-)

This tea combines the strong smokiness of Lapsang Souchong (see our review) and a malty Assam. It’s a flavor that hubby and I wished were more to the malty Assam side and quite a bit less to the smoky Lapsang Souchong side. The tea was still quite pleasant, both straight and with milk and sweetener. We could almost imagine ourselves around the campfire of the caravan as they stopped for the night from their travels to Russia with their load of teas.

You can see in the leaf pieces after steeping the two types of teas, with the larger Souchong leaves and the smaller pieces of the Assam.

The smokiness in the straight tea is one that tends to linger in the nose. Maybe it’s just my sensitive sniffer. This isn’t a negative, but I wanted to let you know. This smokiness is mellowed with the addition of milk and a touch of sweetener.

Overall, we consider this tea to be different tasting from the run-of-the-mill tea, a special and exotic flavor that’s rugged, one not to have every day (the smoky flavor could quickly become tiresome), and somewhat of an acquired taste, just as straight Lapsang Souchong is. You might try some with a sweet treat such as baklava, especially if you are drinking the tea straight. In fact, one of the best things about this tea is its flexibility. We liked it both straight and with milk and sweetener.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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