19 December, 2015

International Tea day

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the InternationalTea day (December, 15).
The task of the session was to compare the tea drinking habits in the USA and in Ukraine, to explain certain details of Russian tea tradition to our American volunteer Mr. Jason.
The group was introduced to an important event in the American history the Boston tea party. The story was illustrated with the History channel video and comments of Mr. Jason.
The next was Starbucks’ video about Oprah Winfrey blending tea for launching Teavana brand. This allowed to introduce the popular US Brands and new vocabulary.
The second part of the session was dedicated to the Slavic traditions of tea drinking. The group was offered a display of artifacts about drinking tea in Ukraine: samples of iconic Ukrainian china cups, tea glass-holders, air-tight boxes for loose tea, etc. The group had to explain to Mr. Jason a lot of fun facts about the displayed artifacts.

In former times, there was a ‘samovar’ – a kind of kettle for boiling water and keeping it warm- and special glasses (not cups) used for serving hot tea. As china cups came to Russia much later than to other countries, Russians used to drink tea out of glasses with metal glass holders. The fine decorated holders were used both for esthetic and practical purposes preventing the palms from direct contact with hot tea. Those who travelled with the Ukrainian or Russian Railways a couple of years ago could have been lucky to see and even use them. Some rare examples can still be found in grandmothers’ cupboards.
The traditional Russian tea is very simple without any additional flavors. At the same time, it never comes on its own. Tea is always served with something sweet (ginger breads, bread rings “bubliki”), with jam, honey or condensed milk.
The topic was interesting and the session was enjoyed by all the participants.
At the end of the meeting we had a tea party.
Number of participants – 29 persons.

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