Organic Russian Caravan Black Tea

Medium-bodied black tea, with a rich smoky aroma yet not overpowering

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Russian Caravan Black Tea

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Organic Russian Caravan Black Tea

Backyard Compostable Tea Packaging

This Fair Trade Certified organic loose tea blend combines two of our organic Chinese teas: Keemun and Lapsang Souchong to produce a blend with a rich, smoky aroma. Its medium-bodied cup has a generous smokiness, but does not mask the organic black tea flavor. Aptly named "Russian Caravan," this blend is reminiscent of the long tea caravans that traversed Asia centuries ago, scenting their cargo by their nightly campfires.

Ingredients: organic and Fair Trade Certified Chinese black tea

What are Blended Teas?

Organic Tea from Jiangxi Province, China

Our delicious blended teas use the same top-quality organic teas and/or botanicals offered in our single origin varieties, but are comprised of teas, herbs, fruit, and/or flowers of multiple origins and/or varieties. When blending our teas, our goal is to create a cup with a specific flavor profile in mind. Unlike single origin teas, which can vary from harvest to harvest (just like wine!), blended teas trade seasonal variation for year-to-year consistency. As a result, the formula and/or appearance of our blends may change over time, but you can rest assured that you’ll always receive an organic cup of tea with consistent flavor.

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend black teas to be steeped for 3 to 5 minutes in water heated to a full, rolling boil. For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible, and avoid overboiling. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Chelsea

    "This is a great step down from the full smoky flavor of Lapsang Souchong, if you're looking for something less intense."

  • Jeremy

    "Excellent with a touch of lemon!"

  • Aubrey

    "This blend is always a hit at tea tastings, both for its historical significance and distinctive flavor."

Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Tea

Like all true tea, black tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels. Black tea specifically has been found to regulate blood sugar in diabetics better than other types of tea, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information about the health benefits of black tea and other types of tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Russian Caravan Recipes

Russian Samovar Tea

The Samovar and Traditional Russian Tea

Given the significant influence Asian culture has had on Russia through the years, it is no wonder that Russians are big tea drinkers. The samovar, which is somewhat of a cross between a hot water heater and teapot, is one of many examples of this influence - it is presumed to have evolved from the Tibetan hot pot. The function of this unique apparatus, and the Russian method of taking tea, is rather different than we are accustomed to in the west. Instead of heating tea water on the stove, wood or charcoal is traditionally burned within the samovar itself to accomplish this task (modern samovars often use an electric heating element, however). A small teapot sits on top of the samovar, in which a dark, concentrated brew is made, called zavarka. Hot water from the samovar is used to dilute this tea when served. Dark Indian or Chinese black teas are commonly used, often coupled with herbal or fruit teas and enjoyed with lemon and/or jam. Russian Caravan, a blend of black teas with a slightly smoky flavor, is a favorite. To this day, samovars remain a focal point of the Russian home.

For even more information about this and other traditions, visit our Tea Traditions Page!

Customer Reviews

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  • 5
    My OTHER go-to tea!

    Posted by Reggie on 30th Nov 2023

    I discovered smoky teas through Lapsang Souchon, and for a while I loved the powerful smoke that tea delivers (at least the Arbor version of it). After a while, though, I realized that I prefer a more subtle smokiness in my morning cup, and I gave Russian Caravan a try. I love the smokiness and maltiness of this tea. It's so earthy, it feels grounding and cleansing at the same time, not to mention both rustic and sophisticated. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the romantic idea that the style developed when camel trains from the East stopped on the Silk Road, their fires gently smoking the tea they transported as they made their way across the steppes, and now it's the product of careful and experienced life-long blenders cupping away to get the balance just right...

  • 4
    Fun! But low caffeine?

    Posted by Rebekah on 22nd Jan 2023

    I really enjoy the experience of this tea- the smoky aroma conjures the comfort of a morning campfire. However, I have found if it replaces my normal Golden Younan in the morning I will have a caffeine withdrawal headache. Better as an afternoon cup.

  • 3
    Holy Smoke, Batman!

    Posted by Skye on 10th Nov 2022

    When I was traveling in Russia, I fell in love with the tea that was served at the restaurants there, and I was hoping that this would be the same tea. It isn't. This tea smells like bacon to me. As a fan of whisky, I was reminded of the peaty, seaweedy, smoky flavors that some single malts can have. This was really fun to taste and I am so glad I bought a sample of it, but it is not for me. A friend of mine once told me that he hates drinking whisky because it's like drinking bacon and that's exactly how I feel about this tea - like I was drinking bacon.

  • 5
    Love the smokiness!

    Posted by Dedra Higgins on 30th Mar 2021

    In my cold brew ice teas I love to add this dramatic tea to my blend for its smokiness. Sometimes I need something bold and this is it! Fabulous flavor.

  • 2
    Not For Me

    Posted by Willie Dillon on 8th Mar 2021

    This one was too smoky for me. I couldn't finish the cup I made. But if you like smoky tea then maybe you'll like it.

  • 4

    Posted by David on 22nd Jan 2021

    What a wonderfully pleasantly different taste. When I first brewed it, the smoky (almost has a hint of gunpowder?) aroma put me off at first but the taste is unique. The more I drank, the more I liked it. Not an everyday tea but an enjoyable, occasional tea. I do take my tea with milk and sugar which probably mellows the flavor a bit compared to those drinking it black.

  • 4
    Smokey for Sure

    Posted by Steven Elliott on 29th Apr 2019

    This tea, as other reviewers have stated has a heavy smell of clean smoke, with a hint of fresh earth. I think this is something you like (and I do) or you don't. It gives a real sense of campfire without the smell lingering in your clothes. Combined with the hint of an earthy outdoors, this is a very evocative smell that borders on distracting Sugar and milk might reduce this, but I don't have any in my backpack, so I enjoy it as is. I might not want it every morning but on a day where my first cuppa is taken on the porch with sunrise, it is outstanding.

  • 1
    Russian Caravan

    Posted by Peter Eberl on 29th Sep 2018

    Extreme smokey odor and taste, I cut it down and mixed it with loose Ceylon tea but even then it's still too pungent and it overpowers, then I cut it with Assam tea and it's still much too smoky. I've had Russian caravan from other suppliers and it tasted great. I'm not satisfied with this tea and will not order it again.

  • 5
    Awesome Tea

    Posted by Samuel Godsey on 31st Jan 2017

    This an awesome tea! Got a sample with my very first order here at Arbor Teas and was blown away!!! Love the smokey taste and smell! A true delight!

  • 5
    Pleasantly smoky

    Posted by Yen-Wen on 14th Nov 2016

    This tea slowly grows on me. It's slightly smoky and light. It's complex taste yet pleasant. My taste buds have found a new sense that did not exist before. It's the slight pleasant tart taste that gives a well rounded overall taste. It's like the tea has very little bite to it, it's unusual character! Worth trying!

  • 5
    Subtly smoky

    Posted by Kara on 12th Apr 2016

    Lapsang Souchong tea is too smoky for me. How fortunate that this Russian Caravan tea is less smoky but enticing enough to imagine I'm traveling on the Silk Road with every sip. The only disappointment is that it's not a deep, dark brew, like I was expecting. However, I plan on purchasing a full-size bag soon.

  • 5
    What A Revelation!

    Posted by Charles on 18th Nov 2015

    Just received my shipment of Russian Caravan. Very Smoky aroma, apparent even before I opened the package. Brewed my first cup and I must say, what a revelation! Assertive aroma perfectly balanced by a surprisingly mellow taste. This tea glides across the palate and leaves your mouth filled with just the slightest hint of smoke. This is a wonderful blend that is transformative. It just feels good to drink. Thank you so much!

  • 5
    Strong like bull

    Posted by Ben L on 3rd Feb 2015

    This is my go-to tea for the winter months (and enjoyable beyond, for that matter). It has a hint of smokiness like a balanced Scotch but not to the degree of a Lapsang Souchong. It's also tolerant of longer steeping times. Where lighter black teas starts to turn bitter, the Russian Caravan blend just gets bolder.

  • 5
    Powerful cup to start your day...

    Posted by Nadia B on 22nd Sep 2014

    This is my favorite go-to black tea! It is very strong with the smokey/roasted sweetness - gives you a real kick in the pants if you're drinking this as a breakfast tea. The flavor is so unique and delicious. Sometimes I can't tell the difference between certain black teas but this flavor is not like the rest! If you're looking to change things up I highly recommend it. Its strong flavor also makes it very good iced, too.

  • 5
    What was thought lost is found....

    Posted by KH Rose on 20th Nov 2013

    I have MCS, which means that as much of what I intake as possible has to be organic. This meant it had been years since I had had a cup of Russian Caravan. There was a tea I had in mind to blend, but it needed Caravan as a base, so I began to search the internet. And found Arbor Teas. And this tea. The test cup not only gave me back one of my favorite teas, it put every variant of it I had had prior to shame. Thank you.

  • 2
    very smoky

    Posted by Unknown on 8th Dec 2011

    I have always enjoyed (plan to continue enjoying) Arbor Teas products. Unfortunately, it is just way too smoky for me. The aroma puts me in mind of a campfire or strongly smoked piece of meat.

  • 5
    This tea makes me purr.

    Posted by K Gaffney on 5th Feb 2011

    One of the first teas I ordered from this site and I'll definitely be back for more when I finish it up. When I first opened it and put it in my tin I was bowled over by the strength of it's scent. This tea is a joy to experience rich and woody and full of smoke and it has enough body to make an excellent latte too!

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