Samovars (sometimes also spelled Samavar or Samaavar) are used to boil water for tea and are a staple in most Persian homes. Just like in Russian, Tea is a popular drink in Iran. Pretty much everyone begins their day with a cup of tea, drinks some more after each meal as well as some between meals.
Originally from Russia, Samovars found their way south to Iran and quickly became popular. Initially all Samovars operated with choral by placing the hot coals in the designated heating pipe. Gradually the water would heat up with the help of the rising heat from below. Strong tea is brewed in the small pot and placed on the top portion. The steam rising from the boiling hot water below keeps it warm. When serving tea, a glass cup is partially filled with the strong tea from the small pot first and then hot water from the samovar is poured over it.
Through the centuries Samovars have evolved and eventually electric ones were invented. There are different types of samovars ranging in different sizes, but most importantly the art work that goes into it can be very intricate and unique. Some can be amazing piece of art.
I remember the Samovar at my grandmother’s house was set every Friday morning and it stayed on all day so that tea can be served to the guests who came over t visit. Naturally, I have always dreamed of having my own Samovar. I think of a Samovar as one of those Persian items that makes your home, homely. Fortunately for me one found its way to my home a year ago when a Persian lady was in the process of downgrading her belongings and began selling some of her estate. She had four different Samovars and the two in the pictures above were my favorites. I picked the first one, which was more of a classic look for me.
I immediately fell in love with it and started salivating.
The lady told me that she was given this samovar in her youth and that originally it used to operate with coal. Years later she had it converted into an electric Samovar. I think it might be about 50 or 60 years old. I knew I had to have it when I saw that the on and off words around the knob were in Farsi.
The Sous Chef and I bought this more modern type of stove top Samovar a couple of years ago for our wedding party. I loved this combo because it is so perfect to have for gatherings. The Sous Chef was not too sold on it because it didn’t get much use at the party for which it was purchased. But I knew in my heart that it had a bright future ahead.
Nowadays when we have gatherings at our house this Samovar is a staple after lunch or dinner is served. I leave it out with a whole bunch of mugs for people along with a variety of choices. I am always amused at people’s first reaction to it as everyone thinks it’s such cool thing to have. There is always plenty of conversation that happens around it. It’s a show stopper in its own right. I have even taken the whole thing along with me to a couple of catering jobs I have done. Persian Tea and Persian sweets are always a perfect ending to any meal, and a Samovar is always a good conversation piece!
Here is what I usually leave out for people to choose from next to our stove top Samovar: assorted teas both caffeinated and decaf, regular coffee or decaf as well as sugar cubes, fake sugar (as I call it!) and milk.
What about you? Do you have a Samovar?