Russian Hospitality: Tea Time in Russia

RU_TeaTeaTea_intext2After reading various reviews and opinions of foreigners about Russia, I realized that many of them consider Russians as very hospitable people. In Russia you can actually come to visit without any invitation and, surprisingly, you will always be welcome! Russian hosts consider it their duty to feed guests with anything edible that they have in their house, even if they do not have anything left to eat the next day. The table is promptly laid with different bits and pieces of food in just a few minutes and the familiar sound of a boiling kettle informs the guest about the upcoming tea drinking.

Actually, coming for a visit and NOT drinking a cup of tea with the host is impossible. For Russians tea is not just a drink, but a whole culture, art if you want. Tea bags did spoil this tradition to some extent, but there are still plenty Russians who think it is very important to brew natural fragrant tea in a small specialized teapot. Tea is brewed sometimes with mint, sometimes with lemon and is always enjoyed with a treat on the side, something “for tea”. This “for tea” term has become a quite well-established word-noun for Russians, and everyone knows what it means. “Go buy something for tea”, “do we have anything for tea?” – means something sweet, like chocolate candy, cookies, cakes or just a bun with jam.

Writing this article has made my mouth water and pleasant memories fill my mind. To tell the truth, after three years of living abroad, I have seldom had the chance to drink tea with a Russian person who would enjoy this ritual as much as myself. Although samovars are now obsolete, tea will always be something special for Russians. Even if it is a regular tea bag, brewed in just 10 seconds.

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