Before I share some Russian tea recipes with you, I thought I would take time to share some of the rich and wonderful history that is behind this tasty, fragrant and loved beverage.
Tea was first introduced into Russia from China in the seventeenth century. Since then it has been Russias favorite drink. The Russians have developed a tea ceremony that has become a cultural tradition.
Even the special tea pot used is unique
The original Russian teapot was egg shaped with a long curved spout and a strong handle. When Russians drink tea, they drink two or three different kinds at one time. They mix herbal and black teas together, and then dilute this mixture with hot water.
It is necessary to use two or three teapots at one time. Because of this system, the Russian teapots sit on top of one another to keep the teas warm for a long time. The bottom tea pot is the largest pot and holds the hot water for diluting the tea.
The middle pot contains a very strong black tea concentrate called zavarka. The top tea pot is the smallest and usually has an herbal tea in it.
The Russian tea ceremony today is symbolized by the Samovar. In fact, the Samovar is a hallmark of the Russian way of life and hospitality. The Russian expression "to have a sit by samovar" means to share tea and a leisurely talk while sitting next to the samovar. Of course, served with the tea are some unforgettable Russian tea cakes.
Traditional Russian Tea Recipe
Traditional Russian tea is brewed differently from what most folks in the west are familiar with. In England and the U.S., tea bags or loose leaves are placed in a pot, hot water is poured over the tea and it is allowed to steep for an allot period of time. The tea leaves are then removed and the drink is consumed immediately.
The Russian Tea process is much different
A considerable quantity of tea leaves are placed in a small pot, many seen on top of the samovar, and covered with boiling water. The resulting dark, concentrated brew is known as zavarka. Zavarka is used throughout the day and even for the following morning for breakfast. When someone wants a cup, a small amount of zavarka is poured into a cup with a greater quantity of hot water to dilute the brew.
The type of tea used is what makes the difference in Russian tea. If you used black or green English tea for this procedure, it would become quite bitter if left to stand for several hours. A favorite blend, known as Russian Caravan, was a black tea that was transported from China to Russia. The trip took 18 months by camel caravan. During the trip, the tea acquired a smoky flavor from the caravan campfires.
Today a dark loose leaf black tea from India, or a Chinese black tea such as Keemun, coupled with a natural herbal or fruited tea is a nice mixture.
Tea for dessert
Tea as a dessert is also popular in Russia. It is not uncommon to take a spoonful of your favorite jam with each sip of unsweetened tea or serve fine chocolates with the tea. A real treat!
It is important to remember that tea time in Russia is all the time. Tea is offered at every meal and through out the day, especially when family and friends gather. There is nothing like Russian tea cakes with Russian tea.
Where can you buy Russian tea? We recommend you search Adagio Teas you would need to type either Russian Caravan or Lapsang Souchong tea into their search box on their site.
Recipe for Russian tea cakes coming soon to a web page near you. Tip it will appear on this very site.
Please go to our Russian Tea Cakes recipe page.
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