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Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

"Zherebchik" - the Siberian "Colt" Tea



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2007, 05:08 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Posts: 144
Default "Zherebchik" - the Siberian "Colt" Tea

I was reminded by my Russian friends that I never mentioned on this forum a
very unusual tea brewing method that is used by field geologists, hunters,
reindeer herders and other old-timers in Siberian taiga. Its called
"Zherebchik" tea (zhe-'reb-chik with emphasis on -reb-) or "Colt tea". In
Russian "zherebchik" is a diminutive from "zherebets", which means -
stallion and in its diminutive form sounds very homely, playful and tender.

This is how you do it: every self-respecting "taiezhnik" ("taiga man" -
similar to what would be a "mountain man" in American West) keeps with him
or knows how to find the good ones on the banks of Siberian rivers, a bunch
of thumbnail sized washed stones". These are heated on the campfire coals
usually inside an old burned tin can. You need two of such cans usually. Tea
(almost always black, brick or loose) is put into a large (1- 2 liters)
ceramic teapot (usually this would be an old beat-up medium thick walled
ceramic or mass-produced white clay variety similar to what is used here in
cheap Chinese restaurants). Then it is filled to 1/3 or 1/2 with COLD spring
or clean stream water. Some people wait a bit to allow tea leaves get
thoroughly wet, some do not wait at all.
After that the first batch of almost red-hot stones goes in and the art of
making a good zherebchik is to watch closely how water behaves and do not
allow boiling by stopping adding stones at the right moment. The sound of
that operation reminds one of the sounds colts and horses make, and this is
how (I am guessing here) the tea got its name.
I short time later more COLD water is added and the second batch of hot
stones goes in. Some people allow quite some boiling, some just a touch,
some not at all. The tea is covered and after a minute of two is served.
This is a rough style tea ceremony - the teapot is usually look like it
outlived Hiroshima attack, the tea is served into beat-up, rough, ugly metal
mugs, the uglier the better, etc. Usually people keep silence while an older
guy makes the Zherebchik, but this is not a rule - just comes as a natural
reaction to the whole process after a long, hard day's work or long
exhausting walk along treacherous banks of Siberian rivers.
I always asked locals if and where a wild variety of thyme can be found and
add fresh thyme to zherebchik (just add several long twigs after its
completely done for 1 minute with their talks sticking out into the teapot
and take them out), which makes usually cheap rough black tea much finer.
Actually fresh thyme makes even fine black teas very interesting, especially
after heavy meal - and this is from me, who hates all "aromatized" teas.

Choosing stones for zherebchik is not as simple as it may sound - the stones
has to be able to withstand many cycles of heat and fast cooling without
breaking, which requires some geological knowledge (plus you do not want
stones that may have even specs of auripigment or cinnabar in it, let alone
uranium, which are much more common that one may think! White "sugar" quartz
(not clear, transparent variety) fine-grained diorites, olivinites and other
sturdy rocks are good. Granite, sienite, gabbros or any rock that is non
monomineral will be cracking, bursting, falling apart due to the difference
in heat expansion coefficients of neighboring mineral grains.
If you decide to make the zherebchik tea at home - do not heat the stones on
gas - the tea will smell foul. You can heat them on an electric stove or, if
gas is your only option, put them first in a previously burned to the
brown-blue color tin can. I actually use such a can when I heat the stones
on an electrical stove too because they are easier to handle that way.
Zherebchik has lots of variables - to wait or not to wait for tea leaves to
get wet, to allow first batch to boil the tea or not, to boil or not and
for how long, etc. So zherebchik tea allows for you to show off your art.
I am trying to convince some of my Russian friends to develop it into a true
restaurant tea presentation keeping the rough nature of the zherebchik, its
Siberian spirit and campfire nature.

Anyway - I hope you guys try this one day.

Sasha.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2007, 06:47 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 226
Default "Zherebchik" - the Siberian "Colt" Tea

Sounds infinitely more complicated than the gongfu brewing we do.

How far south does this practice extend? What I'm saying is, how far
into Siberia do I have to go to see this done?

MarshalN
http://www.xanga.com/MarshalN

Alex Chaihorsky wrote:
I was reminded by my Russian friends that I never mentioned on this forum a
very unusual tea brewing method that is used by field geologists, hunters,
reindeer herders and other old-timers in Siberian taiga. Its called
"Zherebchik" tea (zhe-'reb-chik with emphasis on -reb-) or "Colt tea". In
Russian "zherebchik" is a diminutive from "zherebets", which means -
stallion and in its diminutive form sounds very homely, playful and tender.

This is how you do it: every self-respecting "taiezhnik" ("taiga man" -
similar to what would be a "mountain man" in American West) keeps with him
or knows how to find the good ones on the banks of Siberian rivers, a bunch
of thumbnail sized washed stones". These are heated on the campfire coals
usually inside an old burned tin can. You need two of such cans usually. Tea
(almost always black, brick or loose) is put into a large (1- 2 liters)
ceramic teapot (usually this would be an old beat-up medium thick walled
ceramic or mass-produced white clay variety similar to what is used here in
cheap Chinese restaurants). Then it is filled to 1/3 or 1/2 with COLD spring
or clean stream water. Some people wait a bit to allow tea leaves get
thoroughly wet, some do not wait at all.
After that the first batch of almost red-hot stones goes in and the art of
making a good zherebchik is to watch closely how water behaves and do not
allow boiling by stopping adding stones at the right moment. The sound of
that operation reminds one of the sounds colts and horses make, and this is
how (I am guessing here) the tea got its name.
I short time later more COLD water is added and the second batch of hot
stones goes in. Some people allow quite some boiling, some just a touch,
some not at all. The tea is covered and after a minute of two is served.
This is a rough style tea ceremony - the teapot is usually look like it
outlived Hiroshima attack, the tea is served into beat-up, rough, ugly metal
mugs, the uglier the better, etc. Usually people keep silence while an older
guy makes the Zherebchik, but this is not a rule - just comes as a natural
reaction to the whole process after a long, hard day's work or long
exhausting walk along treacherous banks of Siberian rivers.
I always asked locals if and where a wild variety of thyme can be found and
add fresh thyme to zherebchik (just add several long twigs after its
completely done for 1 minute with their talks sticking out into the teapot
and take them out), which makes usually cheap rough black tea much finer.
Actually fresh thyme makes even fine black teas very interesting, especially
after heavy meal - and this is from me, who hates all "aromatized" teas.

Choosing stones for zherebchik is not as simple as it may sound - the stones
has to be able to withstand many cycles of heat and fast cooling without
breaking, which requires some geological knowledge (plus you do not want
stones that may have even specs of auripigment or cinnabar in it, let alone
uranium, which are much more common that one may think! White "sugar" quartz
(not clear, transparent variety) fine-grained diorites, olivinites and other
sturdy rocks are good. Granite, sienite, gabbros or any rock that is non
monomineral will be cracking, bursting, falling apart due to the difference
in heat expansion coefficients of neighboring mineral grains.
If you decide to make the zherebchik tea at home - do not heat the stones on
gas - the tea will smell foul. You can heat them on an electric stove or, if
gas is your only option, put them first in a previously burned to the
brown-blue color tin can. I actually use such a can when I heat the stones
on an electrical stove too because they are easier to handle that way.
Zherebchik has lots of variables - to wait or not to wait for tea leaves to
get wet, to allow first batch to boil the tea or not, to boil or not and
for how long, etc. So zherebchik tea allows for you to show off your art.
I am trying to convince some of my Russian friends to develop it into a true
restaurant tea presentation keeping the rough nature of the zherebchik, its
Siberian spirit and campfire nature.

Anyway - I hope you guys try this one day.

Sasha.


  #3 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2007, 09:49 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 144
Default "Zherebchik" - the Siberian "Colt" Tea

Its not how far south , its whom with. Citifolk have no idea. You have to
know some "trappers"

Sasha.


"MarshalN" wrote in message
oups.com...
Sounds infinitely more complicated than the gongfu brewing we do.

How far south does this practice extend? What I'm saying is, how far
into Siberia do I have to go to see this done?

MarshalN
http://www.xanga.com/MarshalN

Alex Chaihorsky wrote:
I was reminded by my Russian friends that I never mentioned on this forum
a
very unusual tea brewing method that is used by field geologists,
hunters,
reindeer herders and other old-timers in Siberian taiga. Its called
"Zherebchik" tea (zhe-'reb-chik with emphasis on -reb-) or "Colt tea".
In
Russian "zherebchik" is a diminutive from "zherebets", which means -
stallion and in its diminutive form sounds very homely, playful and
tender.

This is how you do it: every self-respecting "taiezhnik" ("taiga man" -
similar to what would be a "mountain man" in American West) keeps with
him
or knows how to find the good ones on the banks of Siberian rivers, a
bunch
of thumbnail sized washed stones". These are heated on the campfire coals
usually inside an old burned tin can. You need two of such cans usually.
Tea
(almost always black, brick or loose) is put into a large (1- 2 liters)
ceramic teapot (usually this would be an old beat-up medium thick walled
ceramic or mass-produced white clay variety similar to what is used here
in
cheap Chinese restaurants). Then it is filled to 1/3 or 1/2 with COLD
spring
or clean stream water. Some people wait a bit to allow tea leaves get
thoroughly wet, some do not wait at all.
After that the first batch of almost red-hot stones goes in and the art
of
making a good zherebchik is to watch closely how water behaves and do not
allow boiling by stopping adding stones at the right moment. The sound of
that operation reminds one of the sounds colts and horses make, and this
is
how (I am guessing here) the tea got its name.
I short time later more COLD water is added and the second batch of hot
stones goes in. Some people allow quite some boiling, some just a touch,
some not at all. The tea is covered and after a minute of two is served.
This is a rough style tea ceremony - the teapot is usually look like it
outlived Hiroshima attack, the tea is served into beat-up, rough, ugly
metal
mugs, the uglier the better, etc. Usually people keep silence while an
older
guy makes the Zherebchik, but this is not a rule - just comes as a
natural
reaction to the whole process after a long, hard day's work or long
exhausting walk along treacherous banks of Siberian rivers.
I always asked locals if and where a wild variety of thyme can be found
and
add fresh thyme to zherebchik (just add several long twigs after its
completely done for 1 minute with their talks sticking out into the
teapot
and take them out), which makes usually cheap rough black tea much finer.
Actually fresh thyme makes even fine black teas very interesting,
especially
after heavy meal - and this is from me, who hates all "aromatized" teas.

Choosing stones for zherebchik is not as simple as it may sound - the
stones
has to be able to withstand many cycles of heat and fast cooling without
breaking, which requires some geological knowledge (plus you do not want
stones that may have even specs of auripigment or cinnabar in it, let
alone
uranium, which are much more common that one may think! White "sugar"
quartz
(not clear, transparent variety) fine-grained diorites, olivinites and
other
sturdy rocks are good. Granite, sienite, gabbros or any rock that is non
monomineral will be cracking, bursting, falling apart due to the
difference
in heat expansion coefficients of neighboring mineral grains.
If you decide to make the zherebchik tea at home - do not heat the stones
on
gas - the tea will smell foul. You can heat them on an electric stove or,
if
gas is your only option, put them first in a previously burned to the
brown-blue color tin can. I actually use such a can when I heat the
stones
on an electrical stove too because they are easier to handle that way.
Zherebchik has lots of variables - to wait or not to wait for tea leaves
to
get wet, to allow first batch to boil the tea or not, to boil or not and
for how long, etc. So zherebchik tea allows for you to show off your art.
I am trying to convince some of my Russian friends to develop it into a
true
restaurant tea presentation keeping the rough nature of the zherebchik,
its
Siberian spirit and campfire nature.

Anyway - I hope you guys try this one day.

Sasha.




 




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