Tuesday, July 22, 2008
HOW DID THE RUSSIANS COME TO ENJOY TEA?
(Oh--you didn't even know that they enjoyed tea?)
If you enjoy a little tea trivia, read on and I'll tell you about the Russians taking tea and how it got to their country.
Linda Osborne, in her All About Tea Knowledge Cards, tells us that tea was an exclusive privilege of royalty in seventeenth-century Russia: the grueling journey from China by camel caravan raised the cost beyond the commoner's reach. This tea was carried in cloth bags; in the course of a year's worth of nights near campfires, it acquired a smoky scent and taste.
Smoked Russian Caravan tea is still popular, and Russians also drink Imperial Russian tea, flavored with bergamot. Available to all Russians after the Trans-Siberian Railroad opened in 1880, tea quickly became a mainstay of daily life, as exemplified by the samovar, the centerpiece of a Russian home.
The samovar is a metal urn with a heating ring beneath it. A teapot rests on top, and the tea brewed within it is very strong. Hot water from the urn dilutes the tea to drinking strength.
Traditionally, tea is served with lemon in Russia, and Russians often drink it with a sugar cube in their mouths, or after adding jam.
The Republic of Georgia began growing tea in the mid-nineteenth century, and tea production later spread to other areas on the Black Sea.
Hope you enjoyed that bit of history and trivia. It tells you who else is drinking tea and how, besides us Americans and the English in Europe.
Have a good week.