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How do Russians like their tea?

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Ever wondered how tea is drunk in Russia? Well it is, as you might expect in Russia, taken very seriously. In early January the Russian Orthodox Church stages a traditional feast on the 6th January. Hot Tea from the samovar is used to keep everyone warm while Kissel is toasted.

But what tea do they drink? Well since 1638 the tea of choice of the upper class Russians is black tea from China, whilst those with less money have tea infusions with a variety of fruits and herbs from Siberia including hopcones, chamomile, bearberry (a wild form of cranberry) and a popular medicinal compound called comfrey.

There are two things that Russians love most: vodka and tea. The history of this country tells us that it was along the Bolsheviks’ victory at the Civil War that soldiers and industrial workers started to get free tea, which until that point was considered an upper-class product. Today most Russians enjoy what they call Zavarka, a very strong tea prepared in a separate tea pot that allows hosts to serve the guests in several rounds.

If you ever travel to Russia, don’t hesitate to have your tea with a piece of cake, as it is considered quite rude to serve the tea “naked”.

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