To be honest, I approached this tea looking for a challenge and preparing to walk away thinking I had just purchase a few ounces of a tea that I ultimately would not enjoy.
The reason for this preconceived notion is simply that I don’t usually enjoy smokey flavors. I don’t enjoy it in food, rarely drink a smokey scotch and for teas it is a far stretch for my pallet to find one that I enjoy.
There was something about the name when I placed the order online that grabbed me. Gypsy Caravan. It reminded me of one of my favorite James Bond movies “From Russia with Love”.
Somehow in all of the posts leading up to this review, I don’t think I have ever shared my love for James Bond movies with you. Even more specifically, my love for Sean Connery as Bond. His style, charm, accent; I love it all.
So here I am placing an order for tea and really just added it to my cart because of my love for a movie which has nothing to do with the actual tea. Real smart of me.
The very first thought I had as I opened the bag was nervousness. This aroma has some serious smoke to it. Like a sweater the morning after a camp fire (which is actually the only kind of smokey that I enjoy 100% of the time). I almost didn’t make the tea because the smell was so intensely smokey!
As I poured out the tea and looked at it I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be really beautiful. I think this was the saving grace that got me to drink it.
Still cautious, I poured a cup in what is actually one of my smaller mugs. I picked this one out because it has an old map of Yale/downtown New Haven on it and I thought the pink in the cup would really make the pink in the dried rose pedals jump out while brewing and somehow trick me into thinking it was not so smokey. At this point I was just plotting to confuse my senses and hope for the best.
Turns out Gypsy Caravan by Bellocq is delightfully smokey and incredibly delicious. Maybe it was my initial skepticism but I really enjoyed this Indian and Chinese black tea. The tea is self was a very dark caramel hue and maybe it was the cup or maybe it was the tea but I really felt like the rose gave good balance to the heavy smoke. It is an adventurous tea most certainly, one that I think I would enjoy after Thanksgiving dinner or even on a Sunday watching football. Not an everyday tea for me for sure but definitely great for special moods and moments.
As for the initial James Bond reference that led me to the purchase. I have to say that I can’t wait until the next time I pop that movie on and make a cup of this to enjoy while watching it.
Currently listening to: Go out and love someone by Pogo