From Russia with Love
My tea from Russia was almost gone.
I decided to crank up, well, plug in, the Samovar, and make the last of the Russian tea in as traditional a manner as I know how.
A Samovar is a utensil consisting of a boiler with a faucet near the bottom, steam-holes and a teapot which sits on top, and some type of heating device. This is not just an ordinary piece of equipment, but a revered symbol of Russian hospitality.
The evolution of the Samovar is a study in technology and adaptability. Traditionally, a Samovar used charcoal to heat the water in the boiler. Today, nickel-plated electric Samovars reign. Only the Trans-Siberian Railroad has clung to the traditional smoky, charcoal heated Samovar.
I poured water into the base and plugged it in.
I made the concentrated tea for the little teapot on top. This step is very important and cannot be made with tea bags. Only good loose tea is suitable. The tea should be strong; the color of a chestnut. I delighted in the ritual of making tea and thinking of my tea from Russia.
A Mongolian ruler gave Tsar Michael I a gift of about 140 pounds of tea about 1638. Catherine the Great established regular imports of tea around 1736. The tea caravans brought more than 3 million pounds of loose tea and tea bricks by camel along the silk road. This amount of imported tea allowed the price to be lowered and thus in Russia, the lower and middle class could enjoy tea. Today, tea is grown in Georgia, and neighboring Azerbaijan, both countries a part of the former Soviet Union.
“Good tea takes patience and commitment.” ( Daniel Nagy)
First, I added the concentrated tea to my cup…..
The concentrate is very strong, and as one writer said, “Never drink it undiluted, because it has a strong narcotic effect, causing increased heart rate, hallucinations and restlessness.”
Next, hot water from the spout…..