Russian Samovar - the tradition of tea making

3 june 2020

“The hot beverage, to be worthy of the name, should be made with Samovar”

The next time you plan to visit Russia, we can assure you that along the way, you will come across the Samovar.

Russian Samovar, being decorative and also dispensing good cheer, still is the centre of much-loved social activities in Russia and as popular and widely used in different parts of the world, especially among Russian background communities. Whether it’s taken on picnics or occupies a place of honour on the festive table, the samovar is simply the best of Russian traditional tea drinking.

The name “Samovar” translates as “self-cooking”. History of the samovar goes back to 1740, when the first “water heating machine” was a copper samovar made by Demidov Manufacturer in the town of Suksun, in the Urals.

Since the 18th Century, the manufacturing of the most distinctive samovars is regarded of the city of Tula (180km from Moscow). Tula has been and still is the main centre of Russian samovar productions, with Tulа samovar being the brand mark of the city.

Tip: While in Tula, try the “Tulskiy pryanik” –very tastefully made cake in various shapes with ornamental symbolic patterns. The main ingredient is –honey.

The founders of the first registered samovar trade mark were the Lisitsyn brothers. Since their childhood they were engaged in metalworking at the factory of their father, Fydor Ivanovich Lisitsyn. In 1778 they made their first samovar and the same year registered the first ever samovar making factory in Russia. Their various and beautiful samovar designs became very influential throughout the later history of samovar making.

Russian men traditionally preferred to drink their tea from so called “podstakanniky”, beautifully crafted, from various metals, glass holders. The actual drinking vessels called “stakan” were made and still is from plain glass or from beautiful handmade crystal. Woman drunk their tea from porcelain cups with saucers, which considered to be the elegance of tea drinking.

Nowadays, not every Russian is as old fashioned as the traditional version of Russian Samovar, tea drinking at the private “Dacha” (holiday house), but the Russian woman, hosting the tea party, never looks so graceful, so charming as when she is presiding at the urn – Samovar.

There are many monuments to celebrate the Russian Samovar. Monuments can be seen in the home of the samovar - the town of Suksun in the Perm Region, and of course in Tula. A magnificent four-meter bronze samovar with a bundle of bubliks (russian bagels), was erected in the former town of Elabuga. There are also some lovely monuments of samovar in Kungur, Perm Krai in Ural Mountains (1200km from Moscow), a town regarded in the 19th Century as the tea capital of Russia. Some very interesting monuments are in Gorodets, Nizny Novgorod region and in Mytishi, Moscow region.

The collection of famous Russian Samovars of all shapes and sizes can be viewed in Tula Samovar Museum. There is also the collection of the smallest, one glass samovars made in 1909 for the children of Tsar, Nicholas 2. Those little cute masterpieces called – “The Egoist”.

We sincerely believe that your journey to explore Russia will always be one of the most memorable and by including the tours of Traditional Russian Samovar – you will never forget the atmosphere and the magical experience of traditional Russian tea.