PROFILE : Caravan Blend
Country of Origin: ChinaRegion: Fujian Province
Altitude: 1500 ft. 6000 ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Infusion: Bright cup with hints of coppery orange.
Ingredients: Luxury black china tea
Presenting a tea that owes as much to politics and diplomacy as it does tea husbandry. The existence of Russian Caravan, a smoky blend of black teas, (traditionally comprised only of Chinese teas) is the direct result of a 1689 treaty between Qing Dynasty China and Russia.
The trail from the Chinese border to Russia covered more than 6000 km, (3728 miles) through harsh and unforgiving mountain passes, deserts and rivers. Caravans comprised of horses, camels, mules and men took more than a year and a half to complete the journey with may men and beasts perishing along the way. One of the most important commodities on the trail was Chinese tea, imported to fulfill Russia's growing demand. As can be imagined, the tea took quite a beating on the grueling trip and often had an entirely different character by the time it was unloaded in Moscow. One of the most notable was the rich flavor of smoke, absorbed from a year and a half of campfires along the caravan trail.
Russians grew to love the smoky tea and dubbed it caravan tea. Eventually, with the advent of rail travel, the old trading routes died out and with them, the naturally smoked tea. To compensate, tea blenders began to create blends of Lapsang and other black teas to fill the void.