You have become a Grand Theft Auto V widow. You wake up to sounds of gunshots being fired and inappropriate use of ‘n’ and ‘c’ words, and I’m not referring to ‘nice’ & ‘cuppa’ being banded around in the same sentence as Tetley. You make your lunch time brew to the sounds of a character named Franklin attempting to allure a lovely young woman named ‘Inferno’ to spike his ‘like-ometer’ at a rather special tea house where ladies are allowed to dance, dress provocatively AND drink tea (I believe). You assume that Franklin’s enthusiasm for said young lady is so he can take her out the back…to invite her to a wonderful little cafe for afternoon tea and countless #teagasms later that day. By the time you make your pre-bedtime brew, you decide to give in and actually see why Miss Steph ‘Yorkshire Tea-Unit 4 lyf Y2K’ is fascinated by this game, and has taken to calling you her ‘bitch’, referring to friends as ‘homebois’ and been unable to navigate anywhere in real life as there isn’t a little map with flashing dots on the periphery of her vision.
After ten minutes of watching this grotesque excuse for entertainment, you are strangely hooked. You begin to wonder: why couldn’t you just hijack someone’s car outside simply because you the colour vaguely matched your shoes? Is there actually a coffee house called ‘Tw@’ that you need to review? And would you look good with an arm sleeve tattoo of the PG Tips monkey being Chinese water tortured by a loose leaf tea infuser that looks like Biggie Smalls? You prise the controller out of your square eyed partner’s hands after their GTA session of 19 hours straight. You operate a character that looks like the next gangster rap star Brew-Pac Shakur complete with a bandana that doubles up as a weapon, bandage and handy travel tea strainer. You punch a man in the street because he drank an oolong with milk, midway through a mission to get Peter to pay Paul, who borrowed money off Preston to pay back Percy who owed Pablo for some product that he got from Prince to sell to fund his ex girlfriend’s, aunt’s, cousin’s transsexual lover Princess Penelope pilgrimage to a tea plantation in Sri Lanka…or something. You are now officially a gang member involved with some hardcore shit. You are compelled to do something rebellious to celebrate your new ghetto lifestyle, questionable morals and even more questionable friends. What will you do? Take up drugs?! Get a piercing?! DRINK COFFEE AFTER 6PM?!
No, better than that. You are going to enjoy a bit of a smoke. Yeah, a smoke blud. A big, fat, steamy one. More precisely, a big, fat, steamy…cup of Whittard’s Russian Caravan tea, ‘cos you is well gangsta now innit and can handle a smoky malty tea with your dangerous Kray-like buds from Chelsea.
So yes. That is how I ended up trying Whittard’s Russian Caravan tea – to commemorate my newfound virtual reality ‘ARD’ status in the most middle class and law abiding way possible. For those of you who are wondering, no, you don’t pour out tiny Cossack men doing the Kazachok dance, smoking a spliff on top of multicoloured horse drawn carriages, into your favourite novelty mug. Russian Caravan tea actually gets its name from the dark, smoky and almost definitely piss smelling tea trading convoys that transported blends from China through to Europe in the eighteenth century. You were just expecting smutty jokes and foul language weren’t you?! Well how about some cultured f**king history for a change you sex-tea minxes, before I make a tea pun out of every page of the Karma Sutra!?
Whittard’s Russian Caravan blend combines the malty caffeine punch-in-the-knackers of Assam, and the ‘I’m too terrified to try nicotine for real’ smokiness of Lapsang Souchong. I will be honest, I bought this to try because it was in the sale…and there was a shop assistant that looked like my future wife Christina Hendricks, so I had to impress by picking something that says ‘I’m dark, mysterious and fabulous in the bedroom’. (Although my bedroom prowess extends to reading, farting whilst murderig the correct form of yoga poses and generally being unconscious. Just ask Dame ‘PG Tips-get in my lips’. I will leave you to decide which ones.)
Initially, the history and claimed smokiness of this brew led me to believe that it might taste like the armpits of feral late teens who choose to live in tent-built festival slums in summertime and aren’t perturbed by the use of long drop toilets. However, upon brewing Whittard’s blend for around five minutes I was pleasantly surprised by its deep maltiness, warming and savoury smokiness and full bodied mouthfeel even without milk. Yes, it was stronger than a female Russian weightlifter that smokes 80 a day, but I thought it was a flavourful, top notch robust brew. Perfect to kickstart you on those mornings when you would rather listen to the back catalogue of Jedward in German whilst your nipples are in a vice, than go to work. With milk, it tastes like a woodier version of Birdhouse Tea Company’s Full Monty and is again good as a ‘get yo’ ASS TOGETHER’ tea for the first brew of the day. But I prefer mine without the moo moo juice and with a bit of White Stilton and Ginger cheese, as – y’know – I’m as dangerous as The Notorious B. I. Tea.
In the words of the esteemed rapper M Tea Hammer: ‘This is the brew, yo’ can’t touch.’ By this I mean that it is an excellent beverage of the warm variety, that one simply must try, what what. I like how strong and earthy this tea is, and it has become a morning staple at work for me as my colleagues will corroborate. They think the smoky smell is me secretly lighting up under my desk to get through spreadsheets that induce increased heart rate, sleepless nights and inability to cope with trivial matters like burning toast or misplacing your post its without collapsing into floods of tears.
So, if you need a tea to get you pepped for rollin’ with your daawwgs to keep yo’ bitchez in line, then spark up with Whittard’s Russian Caravan before it shanks you mugga cuppas!
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