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5 Steps to the Ultimate Russian Tea

In most cases, brewing the perfect cup of tea is as simple as adding boiling water to a couple tablespoons of tea and steeping for 15-45 seconds. While Russian tea needs a little more finesse, we’ve distilled the process to the essentials and the result is a superb black tea recipe that will dramatically improve your tea brewing vocabulary.


The Process
Russian tea combines zavarka, concentrated black tea, with kipyatok, hot water served (when possible!) from a samovar, a traditional Russian tea kettle.

1. Prepare the Kipyatok

  • This is just a fancy way of saying, bring water to a boil. Be sure to prepare enough for your whole party.

2. Prepare the Zavarka

  • Rinse the inside of your teapot with boiling water, then while the teapot is still hot add 3 tbs. Tolstoy’s Sip Black Tea. Immediately cover and allow the steam to condition the leaves.
  • After 5-10 seconds, add kipyatok, your boiling water.
  • Stir in 2 tbs. of the best strawberry jam you can find.

3. Be Patient

  • As Tolstoy wrote, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” You are making a black tea concentrate so steep for at least 15 minutes. If using the Vivid Brewpot, you should see all the leaves sink.

4. Serve

  • Add equal parts zavarka and kipyatok to your teacup.
  • Add milk and sweetener to taste.

5. Expert Tip

  • Create an endless pot of tea by keeping at least half the tea concentrate in your teapot, and simply adding more boiling water–and jam–to keep the tea going for up to 3 hours.


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