The samovar was placed in the center of the table, and next to it was the teapot. In the old days, Russian people knew only black tea and only one way to have it. First the hostess put tea leaves in the pot, added boiled water from the samovar and covered the pot with a hand-made rag-doll. After the tea had been brewed, the hostess poured some amount of it, according to the preference of a guest, in each cup and added water from the samovar. This procedure could be repeated several times, and the hostess didn’t even have to leave the table. Tea was usually served with such treats as pastry, fruit preserves, candies and even pies, so a tea ceremony often looked like a regular meal. Sugar and lemon were essential additions to have with tea and that is why sweet tea with lemon got called “Russian tea” abroad.
Even though the old tea ceremony doesn’t exist any more and the samovar turned into a souvenir, Russians still can’t live without tea, and have it several times a day. You may find all the brands of tea that are popular today among Russian people on the website RussianFoodUSA.com, as well as traditional Russian desserts. Enjoy your tea!