Enjoy this recipe from Culinary Clues Around the World: Recipes from the Sandra Troux Mystery series for delicious Russian tea:
RUSSIAN TEA is brewed in a unique manner. The iconic samovar is a large container for heating water. The tea itself is brewed in a small teapot that sits on top of the samovar and is warmed from below. This small teapot produces zavarka, a dark, extremely concentrated brew of tea. A considerable quantity of tea leaves is placed in this small pot along with boiling water and brewed for at least 5 minutes.
When someone wants a cup of tea, a small amount of zavarka is poured into a cup from the teapot and diluted to taste with boiling water from the spout of the samovar.
The type of tea used is important. Since English tea becomes quite bitter if left to stand for several hours, a blend of dark loose tea from India or a Chinese black tea, such as Keemun, coupled with a natural herbal or fruited tea is typical. Another favorite tea is Russian Caravan, which is a blend of Indian black teas with a slightly smoky flavor. For a special treat, take a spoonful of jam with each sip of unsweetened tea or serve fine chocolates with the tea. Serve with slices of Sharlotka (apple cake) or apricot and raisin filled Pirozhkis.