Russian Tea Concentrate
The tradition is centuries old…
Dating as far back as the 17th century in Russia, tea drinkers made tea concentrates to dilute with hot water.
The traditional process of preparing Russian style tea starts with heating water in a metal container called a samovar. When the water is boiling, some of it is transferred into a teacup that sits on top of the Samovar. The water in the teacup is mixed with a large quantity of tea and brewed for an extended period of time. This creates what is referred to as the zavarka tea concentrate.
When the drinker wants to enjoy a cup of tea, they mix some of this tea concentrate with hot water from the samovar. The ratio of zavarka concentrate to water can be adjusted to make the tea stronger or weaker.
Since it is served from concentrate, the tea can be enjoyed long after brewing.
Why tea concentrate?
Firstly, the method allows you to brew the perfect cup of tea. You can be more particular than you would perhaps wish to be on a daily basis.
By going through this lovely ritual only once or twice a week, you can have the perfect cup of tea in just moments — every day.
A tea concentrate allows you to have iced tea quickly. Simply shake the concentrate, pour over ice, and add extra filtered water. That’s it! Tea concentrates are more economical. You use fewer leaves to produce more tea.
How to make concentrate at home.
Now that you know the reasons to make tea concentrate, let’s discuss how.
First thing to note is that the rule when making a tea concentrate is this: for every ounce of water, use 1 teaspoon of tea.
The ratio gets adjusted slightly for larger quantities. Therefore, for a quart-size Mason jar of concentrate, about 1/3 cup of tea leaves are used, depending on the variety of tea.
The temperature of the water is important.
Black teas respond well to water that is 210 degrees Fahrenheit. While this specificity may seem fussy, a candy thermometer does the trick. Skip this step if the thought of it makes you grumpy.
210 degrees Fahrenheit can be spotted visually — water that has just come to a boil but isn’t yet rolling. Steep for 2 to 3 minutes.
For green tea and herbal tea, 170 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, allowing 2 to 3 minutes of steeping time. The lower water temperature provides a potent brew without any bitterness. Water at 160 degrees is steaming hot, but not yet simmering, with bubbles at the bottom of the pot.
Java Mommas favorite method is to use a tempered teapot infuser like the one below.
For this method, simply fill the basket with your tea of choice. Boil your water to the temperature on the back of the bag and fill the pot with water. Steep for the desired amount of time.
- When ready to serve hot tea, fill a mug 1/3 of the way with tea concentrate and add boiling water until full.
- For a tea latte, use warmed raw milk or coconut milk instead of water.
- For iced tea, fill a 16-ounce glass with ice cubes and add 3/4 cup tea concentrate. Then add filtered water to the top, or use milk for an iced tea latte.
Some other ways to make tea concentrate at home without going to Russia?
- Mason Jar and filter
- Large tea bags you fill with tea
- Cold brew in any pitcher and strain
- For iced tea use our herbal teas. The berry teas are always a hit.
- Instead of water, use your favorite clear carbonated beverage such as sprite or ginger ale.
- Add in some of your favorite fruit for a little splash of color and sophistication.
- Put your iced tea in a wine glass for a non-alcoholic tea sangria
- Try a mason jar for that southern down home tradition.