What is Russian Caravan Tea? How to Make it?

what is russian caravan tea? how to make it?
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Russian Caravan tea is a perfect tea choice for tea lovers and people working to shed some weight. Most people describe it as a full-bodied and aromatic tea with a very sweet malty taste. It is a blend of Keemun, oolong, and lapsang souchong teas, which come from the Camellia sinensis, a Chinese tea plant. Perhaps, you already know that Chinese tea produce is an excellent choice. The Russian Caravan tea came into being in the 1600s when camel caravans transported tea from China to Russia. The name arose from the transportation.  

Even though the tea tastes like charcoal, campfire and chocolate, its lovers will tell you that it is exponentially delicious. Unlike the English breakfast tea and the Earl Grey teas that were an outcome of intent, the Russian caravan tea was an accidental discovery. Numerous unfortunate events that would have rendered the tea bad were witnessed, but instead, they extolled the good virtues. 

A brief history of the Russian Caravan Tea

As we have stated, the Russian caravan tea came into being during the Sino-Russian trade route that was established in the 1600s, during a period where the demand of tea from Imperial China to Tsarist Russia was high. Nearly one-mile long camel caravans carrying tea covered 10,000 kilometres through Siberia for 16 months. The traders bartered the tea for fur. Even though there was a shorter route that curved around Odessa borders, moist air originating from the tropical sea ruined the quality of tea. On the other hand, the Siberian path preserved the integrity of the Chinese tea due to the cold and dry climate looming over that route. 

The caravans travelling along the cold snow-covered roads spent their nights around campfires. Because they kept the tea near the fire, it acquired some woody smoke and it turned smoky after each day. By the time the tea entered Russia, it had a strong smoky taste. Fortunately, the Russians loved the taste because the strong smoky tea tasted like tobacco and firewood, which the Russian associate with comfort and warmth. Like cracking firewood on winter days, the tea evoked pleasant associations as good as the actual thing. 

The recurring associations were incident making. The growing popularity of the tea made the trans-continental trade to flourish and gave rise to a new class of tea that purists would have discounted as ruined. Possibly, the Russians were enjoying the first unofficial Lapsang Souchong tea, which is a form of black tea that producers smoke over pinewood fire. Tea producers from China’s Qing Dynasty created the first Lapsang Souchong tea many years later – the creation of this tea was also accidental. 

To process the tea faster, people quickly dried fresh tea leaves over smoked pinewood. The result was dark looking tea that offered a smoky taste. After its introduction to the international market, the tea-loving westerners loved the baronial smoky taste and some even paid twice the tea’s value. 

The Russian Caravan tea has developed over the years into a blend. In addition to the smoky Lapsang Souchong, people have used the Keemun black tea to achieve a rich body and smoothness and Yunnan black tea or oolong tea for woody roundness. The strong smoky taste has remained the highlight of the Russian Caravan tea. 

How to drink the Russian Caravan Tea

It is hard to drink the Russian caravan tea the Russian way, which involves the production of a strong tea concentrate in a samovar and pouring it into the teacups and then tempering the strong decoction with water. On its own, the Russian caravan tea is a volatile drink that will put you in caffeine fit faster than you would say the word but also a fine tea with Chinese and Russian heritage. 

Whether you are using Lapsang Souchong loose tea leaves or Russian Caravan teabags, you should not worry about the best way of drinking the Russian Caravan tea. You just need to buy your favourite tea brand and enjoy the great flavour it offers. The internet also offers many Russian Caravan tea recipes that will function as a good guide during your tea preparation sessions. 

You have to brew the Russian Caravan tea to match your taste. Experiment with as many recommendations as possible. When brewing, your top priorities should be the water temperature, tea quantity and the steeping time. Steep the tea for 3-5 minutes in water heated to the boiling point. For great taste, use fresh water when necessary and do not overboil it. If you steeped the Russian Caravan tea longer than necessary, you will extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. For stronger brews, use more tea and avoid steeping for a long time. Steep the tea leaves severally to get the most out of them.

Blending the Russian Caravan Tea

The commercially available Russian caravan teas are not consistent as the Earl Grey teas and blends vary largely from one vendor to the other. You find some vendors adding Lapsang Souchong tea to other forms of hongcha such as Yunnanor Keemun Gold and Assam. The maltiness of Asam pairs perfectly with Lapsang Souchong, it is less authentic because caravan teas originated from China. Some vendors will also add oolong tea and leave Lapsang Souchong. 

As you might be aware of, drinking any Lapsang Souchong tea from teabags or commercially available mass sources is a bad idea because the tar smoke might affect your health negatively. If you need quality tea, you would better make your blend. The joy associated with pinching together blends before you start the brewing process will help you match every blend to your mood. During the cold mornings, go for maltier blends with Lapsang Souchong tea and the Dian hong tea. In the afternoon, add more oolong tea for a light sweet taste or a fine grade AA+ with high-quality Darjeeling tea. You will enjoy the whole process of blending your Russian Caravan tea.


Russian Caravan tea is a historic blend that came into being during the 1600s after the people in camel caravans from China to Russia discovered it accidentally. Today, the market offers a wide range of blends comprised of herbs, teas, flowers and fruits of many varieties and origins. When choosing a tea blend, you should know the flavour profile you need. The quality of single-origin teas might vary from one harvest to the other but blended teas are consistent. 

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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