< Dialog 3—Чаепитие (Tea Party)

Dialog 3—Чаепитие (Tea Party)

In Russian culture tea drinking is an important social activity enjoyed by both sexes. It is frequently done at the kitchen table. There will almost always be a light snack to go with the tea (к ча́ю). This might be sweets such as cookies or open-topped finger sandwiches.


Бу́дете чай?

Will you [have] tea?

Да, спаси́бо.

Yes, thank you.

Хоти́те са́хар?

Do you want sugar?

Нет, спаси́бо.

No, thank you.

Хоти́те молоко́?

Do you want milk?

Да, спаси́бо.

Yes, thank you.

Е́шьте пече́нье!

Eat a cookie!


Thank you.

Бу́дете ещё чай?

Will you have more tea?

Нет, спаси́бо. Бы́ло очень вку́сно.

No thank you. It was very tasty.

Usage Notes


If you decline tea, your new friends may ask “Е́сли чай не пьёшь, отку́да си́лу берёшь?” (If you don't drink tea, how to you keep up your strength?) They are teasing you to try to get you to change your mind.

Making Tea

While nowadays Russians may use tea bags, they still frequently make tea in the traditional way. They put several spoonfuls of tea leaves in the bottom of a teapot (зава́рочный ча́йник) and pour hot water on them. They choose the proportions so as to make a tea that is much too strong for drinking. This they call “зава́рка” (the brew). When serving the tea they pour about half an inch of the brew into the teacup (ча́шка) and fill the rest up with hot water. The hot water comes from a tea kettle heated on a gas stove, an electric tea kettle, or on formal occasions from a traditional самовар which is a self-fired tea kettle with a spigot in the side for dispensing hot water.

A Teacup


A Teapot

Зава́рочный ча́йник

An Electric Tea Kettle


A Samavar