Monday, June 30, 2014

Tea in a Russian Glass Holder
Photo by zzmeika / CC BY

Camel Caravan circa 1900
Photo by The Powerhouse Museum

Map of Regions, 17th century CE 
Light Purple: Russia (long narrow area)
Bright Yellow: Chinese (left side)
Photo by University of Duisburg-Essen

Russian Caravan is one of the most traditional and well-known black tea in Russia. [1] However, Russian Caravan was not quite originated from Russia. It originated and was named after the trading route between China and Russia called "Camel Caravan."


It is well-rounded with a full, smooth, ever-so-slightly smoky flavor. Russian Caravan is a blend of Chinese teas: oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong. In the old time, this tea was only transported through the trading route, “Camel Caravan,” which took at least half of a year to deliver. While the tea stays on the route for so long, it acquired a distinctive smoky flavor from the caravan's campfires. 


Tea was firstly introduced to Russia in 1638 by a Mongolian ruler. [2] In 1679, Russia concluded a treaty on regular tea supplies from China via the 10,000 kilometers long trading route, Camel Caravan. (**Locations of regions were different in the 17th century, see Map on the left side) Due to the harsh climate of Mongolia and Siberia region, traveling time varies between at least half a year to at most 14 months. [3]

Because of the long travel distance, travelers needed to camp outdoor with campfires. The smoky campfires eventually alter the flavor of tea along the way to Russia. 

Today, Russian Caravan can be easily found and purchased through tea retails such as Peet's Coffee and Tea or Twinings.  


      1.       For each cup of Russian Caravan, add 1 teaspoon of tea loose leaf. (Follow direction of your tea if included on package)
      2.       Boil hot water and let it sit until temperature lowers to approximate 95 degree C. (200F)
      3.       Steep tea for 3-5 minutes with hot water. (approx 200 degree F or 95 degree C) [4]
      4.       If desire a stronger tea, steep for an extra 1-3 minutes. *Note that most black tea intends to get bitter if steeping for too long. [5]
      5.       Enjoy with jam, lemon, and sweets! 

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