Coffee Hour, Russian Style

IMG_0598One of the big temptations in traveling to another land is to expect many of the familiar things there from your home country. Or if those things do not live natively in the host culture, the temptation is to somehow import them. Such a tradition for us is the great American church custom of coffee hour. Yes, that’s right, coffee hour is not a given at churches around the world but is a distinctively American custom for Christians to gather after a Sunday service for at least coffee and donuts and sometimes a whole lot more.

One of the churches we consider our home away from home in Moscow has long held the tradition of refreshments and social mingling after the Sunday Liturgy, but they don’t call it coffee hour and they don’t claim that the custom is borrowed from America. Continue reading

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“Perhaps We Could Drink Some Tea…”

I have given up finding the perfect cup of coffee in Russia. Such a thing just does not exist in a culture so based on drinking tea. A wikipedia article I researched reports that 82% of Russians drink tea on a daily basis.

Sure they have coffee available for the token foreigner who shows up and prefers it, but it is always an after-thought, a concession, appealing only in its exotic qualities. Tea is the native drink for Russians. Has been for over 300 years, and it is always available in large doses, the larger the better. Continue reading