Oh, it was a long holiday weekend! Actually, it was a very nice weekend. The turkey on Pre-Xmas Feast Day was divine. (If you want fool-proof supremely moist meat and aren't wedded to a whole bird and crispy skin, I would highly recommend this Braised Turkey with Gravy recipe.)
But there is one problem with a long weekend: My wife is home all day and she hates the smell of smoked teas!
However, with the end of the weekend comes Monday and a return to smokey goodness. So let's talk about some of the smokey goodness at Discover Teas!
The base of all things smokey is Lapsang Souchong Butterfly #1. Basically, the tea is smoked over wood, in this case, oak. You can also get Lapsangs which are smoked over pine. Lapsang is available from pretty much any tea purveyor. Hell, nowadays you can get Lapsang teabags at the supermarket. Long ago, before Discover Teas was around, I did an extensive taste test of several Lapsangs. They would vary from too weak to so strong that they left a sour taste on your tongue. The Lapsang at Discover Teas is solidly in the middle of that range. It's strong enough to be bracing, yet not so strong that it's sour and off-putting. It works for me.
But what you really need to do is try a variety of them, from different sources, and see which works best for you.
Lapsang is a base for a blend called Russian Caravan. Typically, Russian Caravan is simply a blend of Lapsang with other strong black teas, often a Keemun. It's sort of a Lapsang light. I'm not a big drinker of Russian Caravan, any Russian Caravan. For me, the Lapsang obscures the other teas while the other teas just server to blunt the goodness of the Lapsang. But, if you like Lapsang but simply find it to be too damn smokey, a Russian Caravan might be just the ticket. In that case, the one at Discover Teas is plenty good, just not my... wait for it... cup of tea.
What is my cup of tea? That would be Ken's Karavan, their own take on a Russian Caravan. It's a blend of Lapsang and a Keemun Panda. Keemun Panda is also a rich black tea and a common component of a Russian Caravan. To this standard blend they add Rooibos, which is an herbal tisane from a bush in Africa. This addition rounds out the flavor of the blend without blunting the strong flavors. They also add some tiny caramel chips, which add subtle caramel overtones. It's not a distinct additional flavor, just an overtone that complements the blend. I just love this stuff and I doubt you can find it anywhere else. The dry tea also has this wonderful aroma which reminds me of BBQ. I know, that sounds weird. It's not. It's wonderful.
And, yes, I know that
smoky is the preferred spelling these days. Don't care.
Also, if you're reading this the day I posted it, it's Cyber Monday and all online orders over $50 are 25% off. So go get some!