Tea Customs of Russia
Russians have a custom of brewing tea in two steps. The first step is to prepare the tea concentrate named “zavarka”. For this, a slight amount of loose tea is put in a small teapot. For the second step each drinker pours a bit of this concentrate into their own cups and mixes it with hot water from a kettle. This allows for each participant to make the tea according to the strength they prefer. After the tea is prepared, sugar, honey, or lemon is added. Some add jam as well.
Every family has their own Samovar. The teapot is usually kept on top of the samovar to be brewed. Tea is usually offered with snacks and sweet items like hard cookies. The snacks include cheese and even meat items. Their cookie is known as “sushki”.
As a general principle Russians don't mix their tea with milk. They gather to have tea as a family. Russian families will chat over tea and a selection of pastries, confections, jams and other snacks for hours. During these gatherings tea bags are not used at all. Sugar cubes are offered but most of the time it's either bitten off before taking a sip of tea rather than being put to the tea and stirred in. Jam is served customarily, and it is a peculiar tradition in Russia to serve tea with jam.
In snack front, Russia pairs their tea with sliced charcuterie (prepared meat products), cheese, and sweet items such as “Sushkie” - a cookie in a ring-shape eaten after dipping in tea. Sweets from the Soviet era such as Kozinaki (seed and nut bar), and soya bars are still enjoyed with other sweets while having tea like Chak-chack, pastels, Snow cookies and yummy vatrushka.