The samovar is one of the examples of the influences that the country has suffered. It is a mix between a water heater and a pot of tea that is presumed to have developed from the Tibetan hot pot.
Instead of heating the tea water, the Russians burn the tea herb inside the samovar, in a pot on top, and in it a dark concentrate called zavarka is prepared. With hot water, this tea is only diluted when it is served.
Black teas from India and China are commonly used there, pure or mixed with herbal and fruit teas, with the blend of black teas with a light smoky aroma known as Russian Caravan is a favorite.
In the early 17th century, Russians discovered tea in China when Chinese ambassadors presented Tsar Mikhail Romanov with several cases of tea that were grown on the borders of what is now Hubei and Hunan provinces. Tea was transported to Europe and reached Russia via the Orient. With the great Asian influence that the country had on its culture over the years, it ended up becoming a tradition.
It is believed, when it comes to the samovar, that it was taken to Europe for the first time by Emperor Peter the Great. Other sources refer to the appearance of this tea method after his death in the Urals.
The samovar industry only appeared, however, around the year 1778 in Tula, a city that is approximately 200 kilometers away from Moscow, which was a center of tea trade and iron ore extraction between the 17th and 19th centuries.
The city had approximately 28 samovar factories with a capacity of 120,000 of them a year in the mid-19th century. There is even an expression that means “you don’t take samovar to Tula”, which in Brazil would have the same meaning as “you don’t take a sandwich to the banquet”.
There were also samovars for tea houses, for travel, nickel and family members. Tea then became one of the main beverages offered and consumed on home visits.
the tea ritual
The Russian ritual is centered on the samovar, which is in the center of the table when serving. Next to it, there should be a pot in which a strong infusion is prepared, allowing each guest to pour in the desired amount of infusion and complete with hot water. In the past, drinks were sweetened with sugar pebbles, a habit inherited from Siberia. The Russians also serve tea with thinly sliced lemon and honey, as well as various sweets and it is always consumed very hot.