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Coffee Traditions vs. Tea Traditions      
Feb 21 2014 11:22AM Posted by Jenn

Coffee Traditions vs. Tea Traditions

With our Coffee vs. Tea Olympics underway, how did the top coffee and tea drinking countries come to such traditions?

In our Coffee vs. Tea Olympics the United States and Russia are neck in neck for most Olympic medals won in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.  With such heated competition, we found it befitting to look a little further in to the traditions of these top coffee and tea drinking countries.

According to Coffee, Americans have carved out many rich traditions in coffee drinking throughout the history of the United States.  Here are some of the top traditions:

The Coffee Percolator 
James Mason patented the first American coffee percolator in 1865. It still boils the coffee – over and over the boiling coffee is passed over coffee grounds in a basket until it gains enough strength. The electric percolators, which came out around 1910, were very popular with the day’s busy housewife because the coffee maker could now “watch itself” and be trusted not to boil over on the stove. Coffee percolators could also be scaled to very large sizes, making large pots of coffee all at one time.

Coffee and the Military 
During World War I, American soldiers were accustomed to drinking coffee - whether by large mugs from the mess hall percolators or dehydrated packets of coffee in their military rations – and heating it with the matches also included in the ration pack. The term "Cuppa Joe" came from "G.I. Joe" - who always had his coffee.

The Coffee Break 

The British may have invented “Tea Time” but America invented the “Coffee Break”. The practice began in WW II era war effort factories to give workers a brief rest and a jolt of caffeine. Thanks to a clever advertising campaign in the mid 1950s by the Pan American Coffee Bureau, 70-80% of American workers were taking a coffee break – both factory and office workers. General Eisenhower used the coffee break idea for “Operation Coffee Cup” during his presidential campaign to meet with voters, which continued to spread the social trend of the coffee break.

Tea Drinking in Russia is a long-standing and dutiful tradition.  
The History of Tea Drinking in Russia
According to William Pokhlyobkin, tea in Russia was not regarded as a self-dependent beverage; thus, even the affluent classes adorned it with a jam, syrup, cakes, cookies, candies, lemon and other sweets. Tea was made a significant element of cultural life by the literati of the Karamzinian circle. By the mid-19th century tea had won over the town class, the merchants and the petty bourgeoisie. This is reflected in the dramas of Alexander Ostrovsky. Since Ostrovsky's time, duration and the amount of consumed tea are appreciated in the tea-drinking. Alexander Pushkin in Eugene Onegin displayed the role of tea in establishing romantic relations:

Culture of Russian Tea Drinkers
In the Soviet period, tea-drinking was the sole embellishment in the life of office workers (female secretaries, laboratory assistants, etc). Tea brands of the time were nicknamed "the brooms" (Georgian) and "the tea with an elephant" (Indian). Tea was an immutable element of kitchen life among the intelligentsia in 1960s-'70s.

Within Russia, tea preparation differs, but usually includes lemon, and sugar or jam. Tea sachets are widely popular, but when a teapot is used it is very common to make a strong brew, then pour some into a cup and top it with hot or boiling water, adding milk and sugar afterwards.

In the 19th century, Russians drank their tea with a cube of sugar held between their teeth.

Ways to Prepare Russian Tea
Traditional forms of Russian tea ware include the Russian tea brewing urn called a samovar, the Lomonosov tea sets adorned with a cobalt blue net design and 22 karat gold, and traditional Russian tea glass holders. 

Enter to win a coffee or tea package in our Coffee Vs. Tea Olympics here. 

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