Tea Customs of Eastern Europe
Tea plays a significant part in hospitality in some Eastern European countries, especially ones influenced by Russia.
In Latvia people are not happy unless and until they have had a cup of tea after every meal. They drink tea from glass cups which has holders named podstakannik. Most Latvians use a tea cosy which is called a “cloth baba”. Latvians never put milk in their tea.
In Poland the inter-war saw a heightening of tea trade with the opening of tea houses and tea shops. A new fashionable ritual developed called “faify” which was actually a tea party held in the afternoon. The term is derived from “5’O clock tea”. It was popular because it didn't require special preparations but was a comfortable gathering of people to have a discussion over tea. In 1936 a magazine wrote “some tea, a little rum, lemon slices, small canopies, cookies and biscuits served on trays” was a faify.
Herbal teas are considered a remedy for coughs and colds, and are taken as a customary medicine in Romania and Hungary. Croatians mostly drink black and peppermint tea, they have a unique take on it where tea is served with rum.
Albanians and Kosovars are familiar with the Arab tea which they call “çay”, pronounced “chai” which has its roots in Chinese. Following the Middle Eastern practice, they also gather around in shops to have tea in tulip shaped glasses, and discuss day-to-day issues.
Eastern Europeans enjoy their tea with “Kolachy cookies” which is type of a pastry made of cream cheese with a filling of jam. In Poland they serve tea with a dessert; herbatniki, a popular Polish biscuit, polish cakes or the famous dumpling in Poland, pierogi.