Russia winters, hot tea, and avoiding glass in your cup

“You’re probably doing this wrong.”

Don’t you get tired of these stupid headlines?

I too!

  • You’re Eating Apples All Wrong
  • You’re Making Beans All Wrong
  • You’re Eating Pizza All Wrong
  • You’re Eating Tofu All Wrong

I could go on.

Why would you eat tofu?

Regardless, let me share why you’re probably making sweet tea all wrong.

You’re welcome!

Once, I was in Russia and I just wanted sweet tea.

That’s all.

As it turns out, they don’t drink cold sweet tea in Russia.

I don’t know why?

Maybe the communist indoctrination against all that’s good and right.

We stayed in a dormitory in Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi Republic (or state) and home to a university full of Russian and Komi students studying foreign languages. There was one Princess in the whole lot. Could things get any better?

But that is another story.

Like most Alabamians, I love snow – for about 10 minutes.

And then it’s time for short pants and flip-flops.

After being in the apartment for a while, what I really wanted was cold Sweet Tea.

Of course, it’s assumed to have ice. Who’d drink tea hot?

Apparently, Russians and, well, a lot of the world.

Who knew?

I need to get out more.With this desire for sweet tea, I plundered through the communal kitchen and found a Siberian sized glass jar.

With this desire for sweet tea, I plundered through the communal kitchen and found a Siberian sized glass jar.


I boiled some water, threw in some Lipton tea bags that I had smuggled into the communist enclave (for emergency purposes), and emptied a five-pound bag of sugar into the boiler.

It’s a Paula Deen recipe.

Then, I needed a cool place to complete the whole sweet tea cycle of life. The refrigerator in the kitchen was either too small or too crowded to house my newly created sweet tea. I wasn’t deterred. I knew a cool place.

Did I mention that I was 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle?


I was.

The good thing was that I got to see Polar Bears wander occasionally out the window.

There was one window in the room; a double window. You open one window and there’s another window about a foot away to open, if you dare. The only problem was that your skin would freeze and fall off your face when you smacked it on the window frame upon your quick retreat.

But don’t get ahead of me.

The jar of sweet tea sat on the outer window ledge for less than an hour waiting for me to bring it in from the cold and enjoy sugary sweetness.

Let’s just say that placing the hot Siberian jar in the sub-zero weather turned out to be a tactical error. Obeying the laws of science (which happens in Russia too – who knew?), the glass jar failed to adequately contain the quickly expanding tea, water, and sugar, which, not surprisingly, had a beautiful crinkly-crushed-cellophane pattern.

It reminded me of my daughter’s screen on her iPhone after a face-first landing on the pavement.

You get the idea.

So, no sweet tea, unless I wanted it with crunchy glass crystals.

I decided that it was probably a good time to join the rest of the world and learn to drink hot tea.


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