Tea in Moscow or St. Petersburgh

Greetings!  I'll visit both cities in December and am checking on shops to visit in both places.  I've already asked in a couple of other groups so I'd expect that I could write a one-page post that covers the subject in more detail than I'll hear back but I wanted to check anyway.  If there's interest I'll write about what I've learned, or what I experience in visiting.

Per the general background I've ran across tea is popular in Russia but Russian tea isn't necessarily common there.  Russia doesn't make all that much tea, only a little in the Sochi area.  A tea blogger friend reviewed a few Russian-produced teas and they sound ok but reading between the lines it seems like most of what is being produced is pretty far behind related to Chinese tea standards.  The better exceptions to that still might be really interesting.  The Russian tea tradition is really based on Chinese and Indian teas, again per my understanding, with some overlap with the Turkish style of preparation, related to making tea very strong based on a long brewing time and then diluting it.  Others have mentioned that tea mixed with jam isn't unheard of.

About me, I write a tea blog based out of Bangkok, Thailand (Tea in the Ancient World), but I'm from the US.  I suppose I'm really more excited about actually seeing Russia and soaking up just a little Russian culture, to the extent that works on a short vacation, but there isn't much to discuss about that.

Hi bbk tea blog,

Your post is very interesting.

Thanks! I haven't spent that much time on the trip but I can pass on an update, which reduces to finding one best source so far in the Moychay chain shops.  Perlov in Moscow also seemed nice for blends and basics,  decent upper-middle range teas, but for what tea enthusiasts drink Moychay seemed right. I should add that although I bought four teas from them I've not actually tried one yet, so until I do try them it's still an informed guess.  I'll try to remember to check back in here about that later.

You are welcome.

I finally did try a Russian tea, and lost track that I never added any update here.  That one from the end of December was still in the middle of the trip, so we hadn't been to St. Petersburg.  I'll tell a lot of the story here, to save anyone from needing to click to a write-up elsewhere, but three related to travel and tea do tell a fuller story.

Moychay shops worked out best, which I visited in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.  Perlov in Moscow is nice, and that's the only place I found any actual Russian tea, which I just reviewed, a green tea version.  Green tea is my least favorite category, so I can tell which are good and which are so-so but it's easier to evaluate black teas, oolongs, white, and pu'er according to how it matches my own preference (and hei cha, but you already get the point).  I did buy decent Georgian black tea at a Moychay shop in Moscow, and a nice Nan Nuo sheng pu'er cake at a Moychay shop in St. Petersburg.  I was in couple other shops but didn't really get far.

It was nice having more loose tea than we tend to there than in Thailand, even though I don't drink a lot of what is grocery store level tea.  Here Thailand produces rolled oolongs, so those are around, teas in the same style most common in Taiwan, but better grocery stores in Russia sell decent Ceylon (not great, but ok orthodox tea, teas clearly a step up from the ground-up CTC processed versions, and more blends than we see here).  I bought a Ceylon for me I haven't tried yet, and did drink an Earl Grey, and they liked getting a floral black tea blend at work.

That's most of it.  Shops I saw, Perlov and Moychay, are similar to shops anywhere else in the world.  Teas are more from China than Japan, India, Taiwan, or Sri Lanka (Ceylon), but those can turn up too.  I love Chinese teas best myself so it matches what I like.  I suppose it's a just a subjective judgement to say that Chinese teas are better than those other places but according to my preference they are better.  I loved Russia too, the things we saw and did, even meeting the people, but all that is a broader story that's not connected to this theme. 

I'll mention a few links here, on trying my favorite of the teas first (a Chinese sheng), and then on the only Russian tea, a green, and one that's really just a travel blog.  One last link is to a vendor site, a mail-order option site from a tea producer I've not checked out myself yet.  I reviewed three other teas from that trip but these links tell plenty of the story, and someone in Moscow or St. Petersburg could get a fast start on trying interesting teas from looking at them, or order online from two different sources mentioned (Moychay's outlet and that direct producer link). … n-nuo.html … -from.html … ow-st.html


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