A cup of coffee in a tea culture

I don’t remember the first cup of coffee I ever drank.  I probably didn’t like it.

I don’t think that I had ever drank a hot cup of tea until I moved to Lugansk, Ukraine in 1994.  I learned quickly that tea in Ukraine is drank hot, often and year round.  This was difficult for me, especially in the heat of the summer.  Coffee pots didn’t exist in Ukraine in those early years, and if they did, they were often so expensive that no one could afford them.

When I returned to Ukraine in 2003, one of the first purchases I made was a coffee pot.  However, tea was (is) still king.  Most Ukrainians that visited my home in Kyiv still preferred tea to coffee.

When I moved to Kazakhstan, the people there loved tea also, with a twist: milk.  Well, I had to learn to drink hot tea with milk, which definitely changes the taste of the tea!  Every time I had tea in the afternoon, I felt I was becoming more British and was expecting the Queen of England to walk in at any time!

The time I spent in the Georgian Republic I quickly learned that the Turks had influenced their tastes.  The Turks love their tea, but they also love strong coffee.  So, many Georgians like to fix Turkish coffee at home.  While it wasn’t one of my favorites, I loved living in a culture where coffee was appreciated. 😉  Also, I learned that I love Turkish tea!

Now, I am living in Donetsk, UA and I have witnessed a change.  There are many small coffee shops around town and several more have opened up since moving here in July.

When I invite people to my home, I always prepare hot water for tea and prepare coffee if they want it.  I must tell you, I have witnessed most of my guests want coffee.  A small group meets at my apartment on Thursday night.  There is usually one or two who like tea, however, last night every one of them had a cup of coffee.

Most of the coffee I prepare is from the US, so I don’t have an unlimited supply.  It’s not like I can go to the local Auchan and get more US coffee.  So I guess I better start buying some local brands and find several that I like.  Guess you could say that I am trying to change the lives of people, one cup of coffee at a time.