Posted in Kafevend Blog

Of course, most of us carry a plethora of stereotypes around with us and there can be few who fail to link Russia with vodka. However, it turns out that tea is the number one drink in this vast nation. A study conducted in 2005 found that 82% of Russians drink tea on a daily basis. Black tea is the norm, though green tea has gained in popularity because of its associated health benefits.

Tea arrived in Russia during the 1600s and has been a highly popular beverage ever since, though it only became affordable to the masses over time. In 1689 the treaty of Nerchinsk sealed Russia's sovereignty over Siberia which allowed the creation of a useful 'tea road' from China and then Catherine the Great did her bit by increasing the regular import of tea. By the time she died in 1796 over 3 million pounds a year was coming into the country and the price came into the reach of even lower class Russians. The love affair with tea was well and truly established.

Whilst Russians use teabags for convenience and speed, traditionally tea is made in a samovar, which is often shaped like an urn and made from metals such as copper or brass. The main body of a modern samovar contains an electric heating element for heating the water and there is a spout at the bottom to let out water as needed. A teapot usually sits on top of the main body to keep the tea inside warm. A high proportion of loose leaf tea to water is brewed and this tea concentrate, or zavarka is then poured into a cup and topped up from the water spout below to achieve each person's preferred strength.

by Kafevend

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