February 03, 2021

Russia's Cup of Tea


Russia's Cup of Tea
The perfect drink for a cold winter day.  Daria-Yakovleva, pixabay.com

While Great Britain usually gets a reputation for being the greatest country for tea snobs, anyone who has been to Russia can attest to the country's deep love for the beverage. Now, that love can go even deeper.

Whether sipped from a classic glass teacup holder aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway or straight from the samovar, people all over the country adore the beverage. One might even go so far as to say that it is the country's national drink, second perhaps only to vodka

The only trouble is that, while vodka can be easily brewed in less-than-ideal temperatures, most tea leaves must either be grown exclusively in the country's southern regions or purchased from abroad. Of course, herbal teas such as Ivan Chai have filled this agricultural void for centuries, but most people will agree that nothing quite hits the spot like a strong cup of black tea. 

The good news is that researchers of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Krasnodar region have been working to isolate specific gene variants within tea plants that make them more tolerant of cold temperatures. During the course of their three-year-long study, they have been able to identify 15 genes in particular that are strongly expressed in tea plants that feature this trait.

With this information, they plan on soon being able to introduce a tea plant that can survive through frost and could potentially be grown in other parts of Russia. We're hoping they'll start working on a cold-resistant coffee plant next!

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