Have you ever heard of a samovar? Maybe this word sounds Chinese to you – or Russian, it would be more correct to say – but an electric samovar is a super-practical solution to a problem that is perhaps not very widespread, certainly: the preparation of tea in large quantities or for many diners.
The origin of the samovar is not entirely clear, but it is usually associated with a Russian origin, although there is evidence of the existence of samovars (or similar utensils for boiling large quantities of water) even further east in Asia. This is why the Russian samovar is always referred to as the Russian samovar.
It is true that using a samovar for tea at home may not be a good idea unless you want to reproduce some kind of ceremony or ritual. In some countries, this is more widespread, but in others, they are clearly more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers, and tea-drinking often takes place on an individual basis.
Still, as we say, the Russian tea samovar is a very popular instrument in certain regions, and we can buy a samovar on Amazon with relative ease. There is an interesting variety of both styles and materials, as we can see below:
What exactly is a samovar?
A samovar is a kind of giant kettle with a teapot, whose function is to prepare tea for many guests and to allow them to enjoy it at the right temperature for a long time.
It can be used in a similar way to coffee percolators in the coffee industry. In other words: samovars are very practical for brewing large quantities of tea and then keeping it warm for the guests to enjoy it for several minutes after brewing.
For this reason, electric samovars are most commonly found in the hotel and catering industry, samovars for breakfast buffets in hotels, specialised shops, meeting or conference centres, etc.
Characteristics of a samovar for tea
- An electric samovar consists of two basic parts: the tank and the teapot.
- They are available in different sizes depending on the capacity of the tank (3 litres, 5 litres, 6 litres…). The teapots are always around one litre in capacity. They are conventional teapots with an infuser.
- The teapot is attached to the top of the kettle and the two parts fit perfectly together.
- They have a tap like the percolators, so that hot water can be poured at will.
- They are usually made of stainless steel (the most modern) or we can also find copper samovar (more traditional). Less common, but also on the market, are samovar made of silver, porcelain or brass.
- Older samovars were heated with charcoal, which is the origin of the classic samovar with a chimney, but the modern ones you can buy nowadays are almost always electric. You plug them into the mains and they start to heat up.
- Modern samovars have a pilot light that tells you when they are out of water so that you can refill them.
How does a samovar work to make tea?
Surely the first question we ask ourselves when we see one of these things is: how do you use a samovar? And the truth is that the answer is simpler than it may seem. Let’s take it to step by step:
The time needed: 5 minutes.
How to use a samovar to make tea:
1. Filling the tank of the samovar
We have already said that they come in various sizes so that we will need 3, 4, 5 litres of water, or however many.
2. We heat the water
Simply plug in the electric samovar and let the heating element do its job.
3. Pour the tea into the teapot
While we wait for the water to heat up in the tank, we take the teapot and pour the tea leaves into the infuser. Very important: use more tea (leaves) than you would normally use for the same amount of water in a normal teapot. We want to make a very concentrated tea.
4. Fill the kettle with hot water
When the water tank of the samovar is already hot (usually a pilot light will warn us of this), we take advantage of the tap and fill the teapot to infuse the tea. Up to this point, it is as if we were making an ordinary tea.
5. Attach the teapot to the top of the samovar
Now comes the interesting part: as the tank of the samovar is filled with hot water, we attach the teapot to the top of the samovar and keep the tea at a good temperature.
6. We pour the tea (when we feel like it)
From this point on, each diner can take the teapot full of concentrated tea and pour as much as they need into the glass. But, wait a minute, Didn’t we say that this tea should be very concentrated? How are we going to drink it then? Quite simply: we use the rest of the hot water in the samovar tank to add to our cup and balance it in this way.
In short: with the kettle, you simply prepare the tea as you have done all your life, but with double, the infusion so that it comes out concentrated. And then, thanks to the hot water in the tank, you can adjust the concentration of your cup to the concentration you prefer.
What are the advantages of making tea with an electric samovar?
If you have read the previous section, the advantages of a samovar are already clear to you, but we will summarise them for you.
- It is the ideal instrument to prepare several litres of tea (a lot of tea for many guests).
- Each diner can serve himself the amount of tea he wants, with the concentration he likes the most. Totally customisable!
- The hot water tank ensures that the tea we serve will always be at the optimum temperature for consumption, without over-infusion. Even many minutes after brewing.
I want to buy a samovar online, which one do you recommend?
When it comes to buying a samovar on Amazon, we will find that most of the alternatives come from unknown manufacturers. This can generate mistrust in the buyer, but luckily we have some popular options such as the German brand Beem.
This particular one is the 3-litre Beem Samovar, with a well-balanced design (not too classic) and made of top quality 18/10 stainless steel. It has porcelain inserts, anti-scale filters, and the teapot has a capacity of 1.2 litres.
Other Beem steel samovars
As we have already said, Beem samovars are one of the widest and most varied ranges of samovars available (unless you are going to buy a samovar in Russia, of course).
Here are some examples where you can see Beem samovars in different sizes and with different designs: some more classic, others clearly modern and groundbreaking, such as the Beem samovar in the shape of a pyramid.
Antique samovars can be found in a variety of materials, but the most common are copper and stainless steel. As with Turkish teapots, the copper ones are more associated with a traditional aesthetic (and allow for more ornamental profusion), while the steel ones have a more modern look.
However, there is no difference in the way the samovar works. If you decide to buy a copper samovar on Amazon, these are some of the options you will find available:
Stainless steel samovar
Stainless steel samovars have a more contemporary and less cluttered look than the ones we have seen in the previous section. Because of their nature, they can also be less difficult for western users to clean and maintain.
If you are looking for a modern samovar, a steel samovar is probably your best option. There are some very prestigious brands, as you will see: