How do Russians drink tea

Tea in Russia

In the 19th century the population across Russia is enthusiastic about tea. Customs of its own developed around this drink, which radiated far beyond the borders of Russia. We owe the “Russian” tea to this, but above all the samovar, which has become a symbol of hospitality.
© Getty Images / Hulton Archive - Traders drink tea together from a samovar, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 1905

Tea came through the caravans from Mongolia Russia. It remained a drink of the nobility for a long time and was only drunk in the cities. In the 19th century however, its expanded success, and tea consumption found its way into all walks of life. You drank several cups a day - at home or in public places, with family, among friends or to discuss business matters. Tea is in Russia without that Samovarunthinkable - even in the simplest hut. The tea concentrate can be kept warm in the samovar for hours. Russian and foreign writers describe the drinking ritual around the samovar and the well-being it arouses.

The samovar: thermos and teapot

The system the samovar is nifty. In the lower part, water is heated by a heat source. The teapot filled with the tea concentrate is on top of the samovar and thus remains warm. If the water is hot (it must not boil), the concentrate in cups or glasses is filled with the hot water from the samovar tap and diluted to drinking strength. In the 18th century the first samovars were made in Russia. The most prestigious came from Tula (south of Moscow). They were made of copper, bronze, or silver; Even rare pieces made of porcelain or glass have survived to this day. The success of the samovar is not limited to Russia: it can be found in Turkey, Iran, Morocco and Azerbaijan.

The taste of Russian tea

The Russians traditionally preferred one strong black and stimulating teawho came from China. They let a spoonful of sugar or jam melt in their mouths before drinking. In his Great Dictionary of Culinary Arts, Alexandre Dumas wrote: “The best tea is drunk in Saint Petersburg and in all of Russia in general”. Mixtures of different types of tea (including the famous Lapsang Souchoung, a black smoke tea) were created for this country and came in the 19th century. in fashion all over Europe. One spoke of "Russian taste". Even today it is possible to have tea with "Russian taste“Commercially available, but the mixes are no longer the same. The most famous was created about fifty years ago. Tea was made with Bergamot, originally not a component of Russian teas, flavored to Earl Gray, a mixture that found many enthusiasts. Additional citrus notes could also be added.

Reported in his large dictionary of culinary arts Alexandre Dumasthat the first teacups in Kronstadt (west of Saint Petersburg). They showed the cityscape on the floor. Some unscrupulous hosts poured only a little tea concentrate out of economy, so that the guest could see the view of Kronstadt through the too weak drink. Instead of offering stronger tea that would have blocked the view of the city, a trader came up with the idea to drink the cup through Glass without replacing picture. Maybe that's just a legend - but it's true that tea was also drunk from glasses with holders and handles.

TOUSSAINT-SAMAT, Maguelonne, 1997. Histoire naturelle et morale de la nourriture. France: Larousse

PERRIER-ROBERT, Annie, 1999. Le thé. Paris: Éditions du chêne - Hachette Livre.

CHA SANGMANEE, Kitti, DONZEL, Catherine, MELCHIOR-DURAND, Stéphane, STELLA, Alain, 1996. L’ABCdaire du thé. Paris: Flammarion.


History of tea

Tea enjoyment has a very long tradition in China, and tea has become a typical drink in the Far East. Even in Europe it is met with great enthusiasm, even if this is a little less the case in the Romance countries. Luxury objects are created especially for tea enjoyment, and tea salons are opening up.


Tea today

The spread of tea in the western world, which began several centuries ago, is not yet complete. Even doubters are gradually being won over by this drink, which offers so many possibilities and adapts to changing trends. There are a thousand and one ways to prepare and enjoy tea.


Japanese tea ceremony

In Japan, under the influence of Zen Buddhism, a tea-based ritual arose, which developed into a strictly regulated ceremony. The master of ceremonies, the preparation of the drink, the gestures and the decor: everything serves only one purpose, namely to create a unique moment full of harmony and tranquility.


Tea in the UK

Tea enjoyed unprecedented success in Great Britain and quickly spread to all walks of life. As passionate tea lovers, the British adapted the different types of tea to suit the taste of the time of day. And they developed a tradition that has become an integral part of England: afternoon tea.


Tea in the Maghreb

The Maghreb tea culture is relatively young. Today it is hard to imagine the region without this drink, which is closely related to social life. It is prepared according to a set custom.

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