Traditional Russian tea caravans began to die out in the 1880’s, after work on the Trans-Siberian Railway had begun and the first leg was complete. The Trans-Siberian Railway was a great asset to the ongoing tea trade between Russia and China, in which merchants would have to suffer through long treks that could take up to a year and a half. This reduced the overall importation time to under a fortnight in length, making it the prime method of transport.
Russian tea caravans were made completely defunct by the railway by 1925, and during Chinese tea’s decline in the 1900’s, alternate sources were sought out, including those from London and Odessa.
Much like in the British Isles, Russia gained a taste for drinking its tea with milk and sugar. A trend in the 1900’s was to hold a cube of sugar between one’s teeth and to drink the tea through it. Lemon is also commonly served with tea.
Despite centuries of traditionally using only black tea, recent statistics in Russia are showing an increase in the consumption of green tea, whilst black tea consumption remains stable.