Traditionally a Zavarka Russian Tea Recipe (заварка) was made using a Russian samovar, which is an early version of a Russian style brass tea kettle. Samovar translates to self boil which traditionally the water was heated from coal or charcoal. The zavarka tea concentrate brewed on top in a small teapot. Obviously there are now electric versions of a samovar, and the regular tea kettle. But the process for making Russian Tea Zavarka is the same.
How to Brew Russian Tea
What makes this Zavarka Russian Tea Recipe (заварка) different from the English tradition of drinking tea? The zavarka is the strong tea concentrate made with loose leaf tea . It’s then diluted with kipyatok (кипяток) which is boiling hot water. The dilution allows the drinker to control the strength of their tea. Fill about a quarter of your cup with the Russian Tea Zavarka brew, and top up the rest with hot water (kipyatok). Adjust according to your taste.
Russians love drinking tea, and consume 3 pounds of tea per person a year! That is a lot of tea leaves! Drinking tea is a very social Russian thing to do. You invite people over for tea (чай), and sit, talk and drink tea for hours. Usually while eating baked sweets (сдобное) with jam. Making Russian Tea Zavarka ensures the tea concentrate keeps getting topped up with more kipyatok. The tea and conversation goes a long way.
Zavarka is a very concentrated strong brew, and shouldn’t be drunk without dilution. I’m sure the amount of caffeine would definitely send your heart racing. Always use a quality loose leaf tea, instead of tea bag (which are considered floor sweepings from the tea factory). The quality and flavour of loose leaf tea is superior, and I find doesn’t get bitter from the tannins the longer it sits.
When making a Russian Tea recipe, it’s usually made with any black tea, and sometimes sweetened with a teaspoon of jam. Russian Caravan Tea mimics the original smokey flavor of long journey the tea took to get to Russia, but any quality loose leaf tea works beautifully.
And this traditional Russian Tea Recipe has nothing in common with an American invention called Russian Tea, a citrus based spiced tea popular during the holidays. I love both styles of tea, but I drink zavarka almost everyday. Which is your favorite? Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Zavarka Russian Tea Recipe (заварка)
How to prepare authentic Russian Tea. Russian tea culture uses a Samovar to brew a tea concentrate. Russians know their tea and consume among the most tea in the world! Zavarka Russian Tea Recipe (заварка)
- 4-5 heaping teaspoons loose leaf tea
- 1 cup boiling hot water for tea concentrate
- boiling water for tea
- small tea pot
Bring a kettle of water to a rolling boil.
Place the loose leaf tea into the small tea pot and add the boiling hot water.
Allow the tea concentrate to steep for at least 10 minutes, ensuring all the tea leaves have sunk to the bottom.
Pour some tea concentrate into a cup, and fill the rest of the cup with boiling water. The ratio of tea concentrate to hot water is about 10:1 or depending on the color and strength you prefer.
Add milk and sugar if you prefer. Keep topping up the zavarka with hot water and enjoy drinking tea.