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29.08.2017 16:14
stpetersburg, coffee, tea, culture, history
898
This weekend in St. Petersburg: The International Festival of Coffee and Tea

This weekend, the International Festival of Coffee and Tea will come to St. Petersburg! In preparation for this event, read this article to learn more about Russia’s tea and coffee traditions! You can also find a copy of the festival’s programme in English at the bottom of this post.

 

A short history of tea-drinking in Russia

Tea is an integral part of Russian culture. Whatever the time of day, you’ll find Russians drinking tea - often in very large quantities!

Many say that tea was introduced to Russia in the 17th century when, in 1638, Tsar Mikhail I was given some tea as a gift by a Mongolian ruler. However, in actual fact, the tea tradition dates back as early as the 12th century, when Russians made a tea called ‘Ivan Chai’ by fermenting rosebay willow-herb (also known as ‘fireweed’) leaves. With its unique flavour that comes from the plant leaves, this caffeine-free tea was popular in Western Europe at the time, especially given the fact that trade links with China had not yet been established.

 

Ivan Chai, sat beside its flower (fireweed)

 

Nonetheless, it was not until the 17th century that tea became popular in Russia. In 1679, Russia signed a trade treaty with China, allowing for tea to be regularly transported from China to Russia via a camel caravan. The tea that was transported on this trip came to be known as ‘Russian caravan’ tea. This tea still exists today and it stands out due to its unique smoky flavour (which originally came about due to the leaves being exposed to the caravan’s campfires; today, this flavour is recreated by fermentation).

When it was first imported in the 17th century, tea was very expensive and so was only really consumed by the upper classes; however, by the end of Catherine II’s reign, tea imports had increased enough for the price to lower, and so it became possible for people of lower classes to buy it.

 

How Russians drink tea 

Today, Russians will often make tea using a two-brew process: first, they brew a substantial amount of tea in a pot, resulting in a very strong brew (called a заварка); then, they pour each guest a small amount of this strong brew, and allow the guests to add as little or as much hot water as they want. Tea can be served black, and also with sugar, lemon, honey or jam. And, of course, a small snack of some kind is very often served on the side!

 

A traditional Russia teatime

 

You might have seen people serving tea from a large, metal urn - this is called a ‘samovar’, and it used to be the main apparatus used by Russians to prepare tea. With its first appearance in the 18th century during the reign of Peter the Great, the samovar became the staple item of any aristocratic home in Russia. Samovars have fallen out of use now, with the majority of Russians using kettles instead. However, you might see a samovar in a Russian home if it has been passed down as a family heirloom.

 

 

 

Did you know? The Buryat people (an indigenous population of Russia, based largely around Siberia) do not drink their tea black, like most Russians - they drink it with milk, just like the Queen in England!

 

Buryat people

 

Coffee and Russia

The history of coffee in Russia is a little less interesting than that of tea. The coffee tradition in Russia began with Peter the Great. During his travels around Europe, the ruler came across coffee in Holland and he decided to bring it back with him.

Nowadays, the coffee craze in Russia is stronger than ever. In St. Petersburg, for instance, coffee houses can be found on almost every street in the city, and it's becoming more and more fashionable to grab a cup of well-brewed coffee from a small kiosk on your way to work.

 

 

Did you know? The first ever coffee house in Russia was called the ‘Four Frigates’ and was located inside the Peter and Paul’s Fortress in St. Petersburg. It opened in 1720, following Peter the Great’s discovery of the beverage in Holland.

 

International Festival of Coffee and Tea

Are you a big fan of tea? Or do you prefer coffee? Whatever your answer, don’t miss out on St. Petersburg’s very own Coffee and Tea Festival this weekend!

Where? Moskovskaya Square (Maps: https://yandex.com/maps/-/CBUBYOGgkD)

When? 1st - 3rd September 2017

FREE ENTRY

Website: http://www.festea.ru/english/

The International Festival of Tea and Coffee, 2014

 

The festival organisers have decided to hold the festival in order to encourage healthier ways of life, to revive an interest in traditional ways of preparing tea and coffee, and to teach people about the tea-drinking traditions of other cultures. Visitors will be able to take part in ancient and modern tea and coffee ceremonies and tastings, as well as listen to ethnic music and some stories about the customs of these cultures.

During the festival, an International Tea Contest and an International Coffee Contest will take place, with experts from both Russia and overseas coming to judge the entries. A key aspect of the programme will be the International Art Competition ‘World Art’, that will take place on the central stage.

For the duration of the festival there will be a functioning market, where you will find various products that are on sale, including a wide range of honey and other sweet treats.

 

The International Festival of Tea and Coffee, 2014

 

1st September: The Worlds of Tea and Coffee

Main stage ‘World of Art’

  • 12:00-18:00 - Contest between the winners of previous ‘World Art’ competitions, and also Russian entertainment for the whole family, coffee rituals and tea traditions from Russia.

  • 13:00 - The grand opening of the 10th International Festival of Tea and Coffee.

Red Pavilion ‘Tea space - SIMPLY TEA’ - history and traditions related to tea-drinking, a tasting-talk by Alexander Karasev

  • 15:00-17:00 - Typically Russian drinks from Ancient Rus: Ivan-Chai and Uzvar. Tasting Lesson.

  • 15:00-15:30 - China: the birth of its traditions. Alexander Karasev (head of the project ‘Simply Tea’ in St Petersburg) will treat you to some tea and stories.

  • 17:00-17:30 - ‘Five O’clock, or Tea-Time’ - tea traditions of the world: Africa, South America, India, England. Then, a master class in preparing the traditional Indian drink, Masala Tea!

  • 17:30-19:00 - ‘Evening stories about Puerre’ - myths and legends about Puerre. Indian and other tea-drinking traditions. Tasting session of different types of tea called ‘Puerre’.

‘Tea gazebo’ - master classes in wearing kimonos and in holding tea-drinking ceremonies

  • 12:00-14:00 - Chinese tea: tea ceremonies from around the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 14:00-16:00 - Japanese traditions: tea ceremonies from around the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 16:00-18:00 - ‘Five O’Clock, or TeaTime’ - Tea traditions from around the world: England. Master class.

  • 18:00-19:00 - Traditions of Russian tea-drinking.

Pavilion ‘Mysterious India’

  • 14:00-19:00 - Yoga Master Class

  • 14:00-19:00 - Henna Painting - Mehendi. Master classes in wearing a sari.

  • 18:00-18:30 - Musical therapy

  • 15:00-20:00 - Movement of Sahaja Yoga: master classes in Sahaja meditation and music. Mehendi (henna painting). Preparing and tasting Indian Masala tea.

Children’s Playground ‘Garden of fun’

  • 12:00-18:00 - Free master classes for all those who are interested in ‘Twisting’ (balloon modelling), ‘quilling’ (paper weaving), creation of voodoo dolls, and origami.

  • 12:00-18:00 - Master classes in painting, drumming, playing the electric guitar, doing makeup, playing pantomime.

2nd September: The World of Coffee

Main Stage ‘World of Art’

  • 12:00-18:00 - Art competition ‘World Art’ - nominations ‘Estrada’ and ‘Modern Choreography’ and also travels to the world of coffee - the world of energy, movement and drive.

Square ‘Art of the people of the world’

  • 14:00 - Opening entertainment by the company ‘Cryo Cream’ (fun, interactive display).

  • 14:15-15:00 - Traditions, culture and everyday life in Rus: master classes, contests in heating up the samovar as quickly as possible, competitions in sawing and chopping wood, races with pales, serving of tea from ancient samovars (interactive programme for kids).

  • 15:00-16:00 - performances by the Indian dance studio ‘Chakri Dance’.

  • 16:00 - ‘Doli Badje’ - an Indian dance in Bollywood style.

  • 16:10 - Performance of the song ‘Children of the earth - a world without war’ (music and lyrics by Ekaterina Komar)

  • 16:20-18:00 - Concert performance ‘Evening of the Bards’ by the music club ‘Musical Wednesday’. A repertoire of classic and modern bard songs will be performed.

Children’s Playground ‘Garden of fun’

  • 12:00-18:00 - Free master classes for all those who are interested in ‘Twisting’ (balloon modelling), ‘quilling’ (paper weaving), creation of voodoo dolls, and origami.

  • 12:00-18:00 - Master classes in painting, drumming, playing the electric guitar, doing makeup, playing pantomime.

Red Pavilion ‘Tea space - SIMPLY TEA’ - history and traditions related to tea-drinking

  • 15:00-17:00 - Typically Russian drinks from Ancient Rus: Ivan-Chai and Uzvar. Tasting session.

  • 15:00-15:30 - China: the birth of its traditions. Alexander Karasev (head of the project ‘Simply Tea’ in St Petersburg) will treat you to some tea and stories.

  • 17:00-17:30 - ‘Five O’clock, or Tea Time’ - tea traditions of the world: Africa, South America, India, England. A master class in preparing the traditional Indian drink, Masala Tea!

  • 17:30-19:00 - ‘Evening stories about Puerre’ - myths and legends about Puerre. Indian and other tea-drinking traditions. Tasting session of different types of tea called ‘Puerre’.

‘Tea gazebo’ - master classes in wearing kimonos and in holding tea-drinking ceremonies

  • 12:00-14:00 - Chinese tea: tea ceremonies from around the the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 14:00-16:00 - Japanese traditions: tea ceremonies from around the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 16:00-18:00 - ‘Five O’Clock, or Tea-Time’ - Tea traditions from around the world: England. Master class.

  • 18:00-19:00 - Russian tea-drinking traditions.

Pavilion ‘Mysterious India’

  • 11:00-19:00 - Yoga Master Classes

  • 16:00-17:00 - Rangoli

  • 14:00-19:00 - Henna painting - Mehendi. Master classes in wearing a sari.

  • 18:00-18:30 - Music therapy

  • 18:00-19:00 - Rangoli

  • 15:00-20:00 - Movement of Sahaja Yoga: master classes in Sahaja meditation and music. Mehendi (henna painting)

3rd September: The World of Tea

Main Stage ‘World of Art’

  • 12:00-16:00 - art competition ‘World Art’.

  • 16:00-19:00 - Award ceremony and then performance by the winners of the ‘World Art’ competition, as well as other performers.

Square ‘Art of the people of the world’

  • 14:00 - Opening entertainment by the company ‘Cryo Cream’ (fun, interactive display).

  • 14:15 - Indian, Iranian and Israeli dances.

  • 14:25-15:00 - Traditions, culture and everyday life in Rus: master classes in medieval style. Preparing of Ivan Chai and other teas, heating up of the samovar, and a lesson in the traditions of Russian tea-drinking.

  • 15:00-16:00 - Performance by the Indian Dance Group ‘Chakri Dance’.

Red Pavilion ‘Tea space - SIMPLY TEA’ - history and traditions related to tea-drinking, a tasting-talk by Alexander Karasev

  • 15:00-17:00 - Typically Russian drinks from Ancient Rus: Ivan-Chai and Uzvar. Tasting Lesson.

  • 15:00-15:30 - China: the birth of its traditions. Alexander Karasev (head of the project ‘Simply Tea’ in St Petersburg) will treat you to some tea and stories.

  • 17:00-17:30 - ‘Five O’clock, or Tea-Time’ - tea traditions of the world: Africa, South America, India, England. Then, a master class in preparing the traditional Indian drink, Masala Tea!

  • 17:30-19:00 - ‘Evening stories about Puerre’ - myths and legends about Puerre. Indian and other tea-drinking traditions. Tasting session of different types of tea called ‘Puerre’.

‘Tea gazebo’ - Master classes in wearing kimonos and in holding tea-drinking ceremonies

  • 12:00-14:00 - Chinese tea: tea ceremonies from around the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 14:00-16:00 - Japanese traditions: tea ceremonies from around the world, led by the Centre of Culture and the East, ‘Tea and Silk’.

  • 16:00-18:00 - ‘Five O’Clock, or TeaTime’ - Tea traditions from around the world: England. Master class.

  • 18:00-19:00 - Traditions of Russian tea-drinking.

Pavilion ‘Mysterious India’

  • 11:00-19:00 - Master Classes in the Yoga of Tea Qigong (Chagun)

  • 15:00-15:30 - Music therapy

  • 16:00-17:00 - Rangoli

  • 17:00-17:30 - Music therapy

  • 18:00-19:00 - Rangoli

  • 11:00-19:00 - Henna painting - Mehendi. Master classes in wearing a sari.

  • 15:00-20:00 - Movement of Sahaja Yoga: master classes in Sahaja meditation and music. Mehendi (henna painting).

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