“I’m an afternoon tea type of girl. I come from a Russian background where we love our teas. So between lunch and dinner after training I come home and I love a nice cup of tea with jam in it, as we drink it there. Black English Breakfast with raspberry jam is my favourite.” Maria Yuryevna Sharapova
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova, a well-known Russian professional tennis player, ranked World No. 2 as of October 22, 2012. She is correct – Russians love tea! Tea is the most popular beverage with over 80% of Russians drinking tea on a daily basis. An essential part of the Russian tea culture is the samovar, the Russian tea brewing apparatus made out of metal. It may be their cold climate that has given tea the title of Russia’s national beverage, but I think it is their history and culture that has forged a tradition that has become a symbol of hospitality and congeniality. One legend records that tea was first introduced in the 1630’s when a Mongolian ruler was said to have donated four poods (65-70kg) of tea to Tsar Michael I. It wasn’t long before there was trade, via camel caravan, between China and Russia: tea for furs. I can only imagine the stories that were told along the journey.