260 Tasting Notes
This review is going to be right on suit with my Lipton black tea review; while that one goes more into semantics of Lipton as a staple I will keep this more brief.
This is a one-dimensional green tea, it gets a little bitter as some reviewers point out, but really there’s only one thing that brings it down.
A tangy aftertaste that has a sense of tannin coating the tongue which is tough to shake. Ironically I still feel as if they would equate this to all the supposed health benefits of drinking Lipton Green Tea, but more likely it’s just the product of a mass-produced offering that does not have the same penchant for small-batch perfection that many others do.
You know that mystery tea that the Japanese or Chinese restaurants somewhere in town serve? It’s probably better, or at least putting up a fight when it comes to flavor.
It’s a plain green tea, and there are many other options that would be superior in flavor and experience.
I would not buy it personally, but I got a box for free and I’ll likely still drink it.
If this was the only option on a tea cart on a train, I would still sip, enjoy, and stare out the window at anything to add to the experience of this tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Dry Grass, Tangy
Wow, all right.
Brewed two cups to be sure, this review is on a second infusion with boiling water, long-steeped for 8+ minutes to pull as much essence as I could from the leaves.
Let me preface this by saying this is the first loose leaf tea I have had in a while and also the first blend with Lapsang Souchong (whose aroma I have sought out.) This is also the first loose leaf tea I have purchased for myself.
With that out of the way, this is a fantastic old world tea. The dry fragrance is all woody campfire, it reminds me of a war reenactment with just a hint of gunpowder in the air.
The flavor profile is surprisingly mild. When steeped strongly, as I enjoy, it offers a deep but translucent red color. At first sip you are greeted by the LS smokiness, but that yields to a lovely Irish Breakfast tea. (Assam) Then there’s Keemun (Oolong) to ensure the maltiness of the Assam does not overpower, even when you brew as long as I did.
The finish mixes smoke with malt and just a kiss of sweetness for a smooth and slightly tannic finish that lingers. None of these notes overpower or become bitter, even when steeped for long periods of time. This will come in handy as my original intention with this blend was to share with my lady, who would be turned off by overpowering flavors.It does not need milk or sugar to suit my palate but would probably take well to them if that was your preference, without ruining the already great balance.
Reviews of this tea elsewhere criticize the lack of smokiness that you would usually get with a pure LS tea. The important thing to remember about Russian Caravan is that it was originally supposed to be a dignified black tea with a hint of smokiness, the folk tale is that merchant campfires smoked the original crates of tea bound for St. Petersburg from China. I would personally prefer more smoke in a tea, but that is where Lapsang Souchong in itself shines. I am looking forward to trying it.
I think this tea hits all of the marks, it’s even affordable. For my 8oz bag I only paid $15 which to me is a steal for the quality and consistency offered. I can only dock a few points for the possibility of more depth in the perfect tea.
Planning to keep this blend around as a staple for years to come, especially if I’m camping out or spending time under the moonlight.
Flavors: Campfire, Tannin, Wood
Steeped 4min at slightly lower than boiling.
Started feeling tired, so I enjoyed this brew just before bed.
Very mild concoction with mostly spearmint, and some chamomile undertones.
As it cools I am picked up a touch more hibiscus in the background. For this I am interested in steeping it longer to see if more flavors develop.
The tea certainly grew on me as I continued to drink it and it cooled. I would steep it longer when I try again but overall it is a light, pleasant herbal tea which brings back memories of my youth.
Steeped with just boiling water for 9+ minutes. (Tried at 6 minutes before but not enough taste, bag recommends 7 minutes.) Served in enamel tin mug.
Notes of ginger and lemongrass on the nose. I’m not getting much lemon to be honest, perhaps this is just my palate. In retrospect with this comment, it may be better off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice as one might add to a good black tea.
Unfortunately the thing that sticks to me with this tea is a syrupy sweet mouthfeel that lingers on the tongue. I have a poor sense of smell but this coating shines through that fact to re-coat my cheeks with each sip. Perhaps the ginger? But it doesn’t have any of the pleasant qualities that a good ginger chew might, which leads me down the path of feeling that this is a wellness tea instead of a pleasant herbal infusion.
That ginger though, I do enjoy. Far from the initial bite of a prominent herbal tea like tumeric, the ginger when steeped at 5 minutes creeps in.
Albeit at the finish of each sip, and after the drinker acknowledges the described coating, then in a flash it fades back.
These redeeming qualities of ginger within the tea raise the rating and add to the aroma/flavor but I can’t help leaving this on the shelf if there are other options as the tongue feel just gets ruined by the odd notes that pass over the tongue, and in not getting much lemon at all.
A quick aside from the commercial description; Yogi mentions “tart lemon” and “refreshing peppermint” right in their description alongside Ginger. Where are those flavors? It’s more like someone dropped a hard candy in hot water and threw some ginger on top. At least it’s relatively inexpensive.
My secret? Add a half shot of Brandy for a faux hot toddy.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemongrass, Maple Syrup
10oz from a tea for one pot/mug set.
I was surprised by just how much I like this tea, especially considering my initial impressions. The nose is a bit floral but once brewed has distinct notes of a lemon cough lozenge or syrup. It’s not off-putting by any means, despite what may be your initial reaction. More so, those notes offer a sense of comfort if you are feeling down, this tea is a great companion if you feel stuffy or sick. I can tell already.
This lozenge scent turns into an inviting bouquet similar more to boiled sweets than a medicinal chemically-laden concoction.
The taste is much smoother than the smell leads on, don’t judge this cup from the surface. At first sip it yields into a warm mixture of lemongrass, rosehips, and lemon verbena with just enough tangy bite on the finish.
You aren’t biting into a lemon, but rather enjoying a delightful herbal infusion with real health benefits from Vitamin C when steeped to their recommendation.
I would stock this as a wind-down cup or for those who enjoy the thought of tea but not the tannin associated with black or strong green tea leaves. It’s very good for boxed/bagged/commercial.
Flavors: Citrusy, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Rosehips
10oz out of tea for one pot/mug.
Let’s be honest with each other here, this is not a pomegranate tea.
This is a green tea with apples and hibiscus, but it’s easy-drinking and tastes surprisingly good. My review is biased as this was in my tea cabinet at work, up for grabs.
The base is a nice green tea, something you might find at an Asian restaurant. If there is any bitterness in the green tea portion, it is immediately masked by crisp tart apple and biting hibiscus. And that’s where my review ends actually, same as the flavor it just falls a little flat after those notes.
That being said, if this lives in your work tea cabinet and you want a green tea fix that’s out of the norm, grab this instead of the Lipton.
I used to have a box of Ceylon apple tea with this same slightly-overpowering fruit flavor. Maybe chasing that feeling of a tea I enjoyed as a teenager skewed my rating.
Flavors: Apple, Hibiscus, Jam, Tart