Samovar is a pure Russian find for tea. Tea was firstly presented to a Russian tzar by Mongolian khans and later the samovar's "grandfather" came to Russia from Persia.
In old Russia tea quickly replaced favorite Russian drink - sbiten (mix of hot water, honey and herbs) and became a way of life. Tea was drunk all day long - you could find hot tea sellers on street corners, in trains, in offices, not talking about bars and restaurants.
The best way to serve tea was a samovar which was considered a staple in every home. The steaming samovar embodied (and still does!) by its smooth silver surface home comfort and Russian hospitality.
Samovars were made from nickel, copper, pinchbeck, in special cases - from silver. Skilled masters wanted to astonish customers and made samovars as a real art of work. Samovars were plated with gold, or silver and came in various shapes ("vase", "pear", cubic, many-sided) and sizes depending on their use. Most samovars were small for homes.
The first samovar was made in Tula. Later samovar manufactures were in the Urals, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Tula, in Vladimirskaya, Yaroslavskaya and Vyatskaya provinces. But Tula became known as the center of Russian samovar and there were about 40 samovar factories there by 1900. Tula samovars gained first prizes at the exhibitions not only in Russia, but abroad.
In fact, the samovar is an urn in which water is kept boiling for a long time, since charcoal or wood is burned in a vertical pipe through the center that heats water. On the top of the samovar a small teapot was held that provided a strong tea brewing. This tea is usually diluted with hot water from the samovar.
Nowadays Russians still serve tea with samovars quite often, electric ones though. Samovars can be easily found in kitchens, offices, and even cafes. The warmth of Russian samovar tea drinling will melt your heart with fluxing comfort and delight.
By Olga Timokhina