An interesting fact - tea appeared in Russia earlier than in England. Although in our country the tradition of drinking tea is not so ancient. For a long time in Russia, they drank various herbal decoctions, which were in no way inferior to tea in taste and health.
And for the first time, the Cossacks Petrov and Yalyshev, who visited China in 1567, spoke about tea. But their stories about an outlandish drink that is consumed in a distant country did not arouse much interest. Our national sbitni were more familiar to the Russian people.
In 1618, Tsar Mikhail, the first representative of the Romanov dynasty on the Russian throne, had the opportunity to taste tea in person. Chinese ambassadors who arrived in Russia brought several samples of tea to the ruler. Probably, Mikhail Fedorovich was not delighted with the drink and they forgot about tea for another 20 years.
Most likely, the year 1638 can be considered the beginning of tea history in Russia. The Russian ambassador Vasily Starkov returned to Moscow from the Mongol ruler Altyn Khan and brought 4 pounds of tea leaves as a gift to the Russian tsar. Starkov explained that these leaves need to be "boiled in water."
Mikhail Fedorovich decided to treat the boyars with tea, who liked the drink. So tea began to penetrate into Russia, although due to its rarity and, accordingly, high cost, for a long time it was available only to the elite of Russian society.
In 1698, the Nerchinsk trade agreement was signed between Russia and China, and soon trade between the two countries became duty-free. Cue tea has become a common commodity at Russian fairs.
At the end of the 18th century, the price of tea became available to the general population and the Chinese drink began to compete with the traditional Russian kvass. Tea was delivered from China to Russia via a land route called the Great Tea Route.
The writer Alexander Dumas, the father, who once visited Russia, noted that "The best tea is drunk in St. Petersburg and throughout Russia in general." This was due to the fact that tea was delivered to Europe by sea, and the transportation of dry leaves in damp holds significantly affected the quality of tea.
The caravan route was the only way to supply tea to Russia before the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, attempts have been made in Russia to grow tea. In 1814, the first tea plantation was established in the Crimea. But the experiment ended in failure - the new culture did not take root. Since 1847, tea began to be grown in Georgia, and later in the North Caucasus on the territory of the modern Krasnodar Territory.