Tea is a staple in Russian life and is served after meals in a style reminiscent of British afternoon tea, but is enjoyed at any time of the day, and in any setting. It is also served to visiting guests and involves sweet and savory treats culminating in tea cakes, and perhaps even a shot of vodka!
Typically prepared in a samovar, or metal urn, Russian-style tea can easily be prepared without one. Follow these steps to enjoy the flavors of a cup of Russian tea.
How to Make Russian Tea
- Add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf black tea (lapsang souchong is typically favored by Russians) per person and add one extra for the pot.
- Pour a small amount (around 2 ounces) of boiling water into the tea pot.
- Brew the tea for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour a little of this concentrated tea into a cup and top off with hot water.
- Add a slice of lemon and plenty of sugar. (Russians rarely use milk or cream in their tea.)
- Optional: Serve with Russian varenye (or something similar, like black currant jam) to be eaten with a teaspoon while sipping the tea.
Fun fact: Russians tend to opt for smokier teas like lapsang souchong (like our Holy Smoke). It's believed that Russians' nostalgic preference for smoked teas dates back to the days when tea was transported from China by caravan, so would have been exposed to the smoke of the campfires along the way.