Russian Language Blog

What Drink Is More Popular in Russia than Vodka? Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Culture, when in Russia

We all know that the Chinese love to drink tea. So do the Brits. Recent data collected and published by the Euromonitor International, listed the countries that consumed the most tea per person, measured in pounds, and Russia ranked fourth! They stated that the average Russian drinks just over three pounds per year. In comparison, the Turkish drink the most at 6.961 pounds per person – who knew? As one that drinks tea most days with breakfast, always with anything sweet, and again if company comes over, I know that I consume my share 🙂 . 

Since the early 17th century tea has been increasing in popularity at the Russian table. According to Russian Life, Tsar Aleksey Mikhaylovich was presented with tea as a gift by a Chinese ambassador and thus began the Russian craving for this tasty beverage. Initially, due to the price of tea, and in relation to the laws of supply and demand, it was a luxury only the elite could afford. During the next several centuries, more and more Russians were able to afford it. Some may say that tea has lost some of its social status because so many now drink it. According to a study published in Pravda, 62 percent of the Russian population will drink tea on a daily basis. This makes tea the most popular beverage in the country! Incidentally, about 31 percent will drink coffee daily. In the U.S., more will drink coffee each day than tea.

Many drink tea for its known health benefits, many drink it for the flavor, and many do it “just because its what we do.” Personally, I drink tea for all of these reasons. Each day with breakfast, I drink it. Each day with lunch, I try to drink it. Each day with dinner, maybe not so much; however, if there is desert on the table, you bet I’ll drink it. While I will not drink Da Hong Pao, the world’s most expensive tea that costs over $25,000 for about 20 ounces, I do enjoy different types ranging from white tea to black tea to pu-erh but never iced tea. Back in Russia, my grandmother still uses a samovar, while I use an electric kettle. A samovar is a Russian appliance that the tea is brewed in; it has a very unique “Russian” look and can be a great conversation piece. 

Sipping on tea always seems to help me relax, even if it has caffeine in it. In fact, it goes well with writing a blog too! If you are not a tea drinker and are preparing to go to Russia, remember that Mother Russia enjoys her tea! On that note I think I am going to make some yerba mate tea right about now 🙂 . 

Всего хорошего!


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About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u


  1. Moonyeen Albrecht:

    Jenya, I thought that in a language blog about tea you might give us the background and meaning of the word “samovar.” I know it, but maybe not everyone knows why it is called a samovar. I found it interesting. I leave it up to you . . . Thanks!

  2. Crystal Evans:

    Tea is a symbol well being for people who promote healthy living.

  3. خرید کریو:

    thank you

  4. خرید کریو:

    oh tnx for this
    your web site is very good

  5. خرید سی سی کم:

    Great. Thanks for this blog.

  6. خرید سی سی کم:

    It was very good, thank you from trouble. I hope to always remain on your site

  7. Natalia:

    Finally someone writes about Russians and tea! Thank you, Jenya!
    To tell the truth I already got tired of explaining to my foreign friends that I would rather drink a cup of tea instead of various kinds of alcohol they constantly offer me because – exact quote – “you are Russian”.
    I would say drinking tea to me has less to do with the healthy lifestyle. It’s more like a habbit. Personally I drink tea while working, studing, reading, cooking, gathering and chatting with friends, etc. It might be up to 6-8 mugs per evening, especially in winter when it’s cold.
    Speaking about the healthy lifestyle, many tend to drink herbal tea instead of tea of coffee.