Tea drinking tradition: ПОДСТАКАННИК
Updated: Nov 27, 2019
The podstakannik (подстака́нник, literally means "thing under the glass") is a holder with a handle, most commonly made of metal that holds a drinking glass. Their primary purpose is to be able to hold a very hot glass of tea, which is usually consumed right after it is brewed. The stability of the glass on the table is also significantly improved. It is a traditional way of serving and drinking tea in Russia.
Podstakanniks appeared in Russian tea culture in the late 18th century, when drinking tea became common in Russia. Very soon they became not just practical utensils, but also works of art, just like samovars. By the 20th century, podstakanniks became very widespread.
They were found extremely useful on railroads, as tea was served in moving carriages that were shaking. A bare glass was more likely to fall, scalding people with hot tea. The Russian railroads still use the podstakannik extensively in sleeper carriages.