Samovar FAQ

April 16, 2009

To brew authentic Russian Black Tea: Pour hot water into a small tea pot, swish and let stand for several minutes. Pour out water and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of loose tea. Fill with boiling water. Steep for about 10 minutes. Use this “brew” as a concentrate. Add boiling water from the samovar to each individual cup. Serve with lemon and/or sugar.

The valve, or spigot on a samovar is of a very simple design. It consists of two parts: the spigot key and the spout (there are no gaskets and o-rings, etc.) When these two parts don’t fit together a leak will occur. To get rid of a leak, or reduce it to a manageable drip, first try to “seat” the key better. Do this by supporting the spout from below with one hand, and gently yet firmly pressing down on the key with the other hand, while at the same time moving it back and forth just a bit.

Often the valve works better (doesn’t leak, or leaks less) when the key is on one side or the other of the center positon. To check this, move the key back and forth slowly between the center “ON” position and the two “OFF” positions on either side of it. You may find a spot that works the best.

Because of the simple valve system samovars are often used with a sump bowl, or drip bowl, beneath the spout to catch the drips. This is especially true of those produced and used in the past when milling the two pieces of the valve was done using hand tools that are considered crude by today’s standards. However, though the tools may have changed, the design of the valve hasn’t changed, thus the last resort to fixing the leak (after trying out the two steps above) involves making and using a crude “handmill”. []


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