Learn Russian online: Tea or coffee?

Tea or coffee?

Would you like tea or coffee? This dilemma awaits you not only in cafés, but also at meetings – like in our dialog. After this lesson, you'll have no problems in either ordering tea or coffee, or offering it to others. In addition, we'll get to know different kinds of tea in Russia and have a look at its tea culture.


Секретарша: Ко´фе и´ли чай?
Secretary: (Would you like) Coffee or tea?
Мужчина: Чай, пожа´луйста.
Man: (I'd like some) Tea, please.
Секретарша: Чё´рный или зелё´ный?
Secretary: (Would you prefer) Black or green?
Мужчина: Чё´рный.
Man: Black.
Секретарша: Са´хар? Лимо´н? Молоко´?
Secretary: Sugar? Lemon? Milk?
Мужчина: Нет. Нет. Нет. Как всё сло´жно!
Man. No. No. No. Everything is so complicated!


mamadourbamba 10.11.2015
Exellent podcast. But does anyone still work here?
hackney2havana 23.08.2015
Do we really need to know about all the different kinds of tea at this level?. This programme is not very good for young learners aged around 14.
Natalia RusPod 19.05.2015
sarbridges, thank you! Yes, you heard right ;) We are sometimes not that polite, but the important thing is to keep our students interested in learning Russian!
sarbridges 17.05.2015
Haha, I love these podcasts! They will help me a lot in addition to my weekly Russian lesson my friend gives me. I cracked up when the lady said "real tea...not the sh*tty tiny tea bags they give you..." Maybe I heard wrong, but it's why I like these lessons, they're entertaining! Keep up the good work!
Aleksey 06.06.2013
oh, it's stress...
Aleksey 06.06.2013
LOL. I'm russian. And it's funny to listen my own language ))) And why are you add all these apostrophe in russian words?
jon 17.03.2013
Hey I like this lesson. Thankyou ,spasibo:)
iosonofabio 28.11.2012
In the practice, they say "red tea", not "fruit tea" :-)
Nikita Petrov 20.10.2012
Jamison Man, this lesson is from the very first, Survival level — but we have more, and we're adding new ones all the time, some of which will include slang as well. So welcome and stick around for more!
jamisonman 19.10.2012
The russian language, not your site. Your site just needs more like high-intermediate or advanced content that you can't find in other common language learning programs. Also more slang, like even swear/dirty words, or even stuff that is said during "love-making" ;) Thanks
Natalia RusPod 15.10.2012
Gary, the Russian alphabet lesson is ready, you can find it here: http://ruspod.com/alphabet/
Nikita Petrov 13.10.2012
Gary, we are working on this section right now and are almost done. The lesson will include the alphabet, a video that explains all the subtleties of pronunciation and some exercises for you to practice. We will announce the lesson both here and on our Facebook page, which we highly recommend you to follow :-) https://www.facebook.com/RusPod?ref=hl
garysaville 12.10.2012
Hello, Is there a section on RusPod that teaches Russian script and phonics?
Nikita Petrov 23.08.2012
mkriszti94, yes, the adjectives also have gender that corresponds with the gender of the noun they describe. in our case, чай is masculine — that's why the adjectives we use with чай are masculine. We don't explain this on the Survival level, because we wanted to make it as easy as possible, and not put you through too much grammar. If you want to learn grammar, you might want to switch to the Beginner level.
mkriszti94 23.08.2012
Thank you again for the useful lesson. I've got a question again... чёрный and зелёный are colours, so adjectives, right? How can they be masculine then? Are they treated as nouns?
Nikita Petrov 30.07.2012
gtlmk, can you expand on this? :-) what is difficult to use — our service or the Russian language?
gtlmk 28.07.2012
it is good, but it is very difficult to use

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Ко´фе или чай?
Would you like coffee or tea?

ко´фе (m) - coffee
и´ли - or
чай (m) - tea

Как всё сло´жно.
Everything (is) so difficult.

Literally: How difficult (is) everything:
как – how, so
всё (n) - everything
сло´жно – difficult, complicated

Other words:

пожа´луйста — please, you are welcome
чё´рный (m) — black
зелё´ный (m) — green
са´хар (m) — sugar
лимо´н (m) — lemon
молоко´ (n) — milk
нет — no
секрета´рша (f) — secretary
мужчи´на (m) — man

Closer look

Offers and answers

As you could see from our dialog, whereas in English one tends to verbalize politeness, Russian is much more economical with words. Compare:

Would you like black tea or green tea? – Чё´рный или зелё´ный? – "Black or green?"
I'd like a green tea, please. – Зелё´ный, пожа´луйста. – "Green, please."

That is, whether you are ordering or offering something, it's possible – and considered polite – just to name the word and add "please":



Кофе или чай? – Would you like tea or coffee?
Чай? – Would you like a tea?

Пожа´луйста, кофе. – Here is your coffee.

Чай, пожа´луйста. – I'd like a tea, please.
Нет, кофе, пожа´луйста. – No, I'd like some coffee, please.
Да, спаси´бо. – Yes, thank you.

Reality check

Kinds of tea

Russians like drinking coffee, but they take tea much more seriously. "Чё´рный чай" (black tea) – either with lemon or with milk, mostly with plenty of sugar – has traditionally been our favorite hot beverage enjoyed by grown-ups and children alike, both in the morning or late at night. Nowadays, Russians like drinking other kinds of tea, too: From green tea to herbal infusions – you would find everything, if not at a business meeting, then definitely in a Russian café. Here are some kinds of teas that are popular in Russia:

Here are some kinds of teas that are popular in Russia:

чё´рный чай
зелё´ный чай
бе´лый чай
кра´сный чай фрукто´вый чай

Эрл Грей

black tea
green tea
white tea
red tea, fruit tea
fruit tea

Earl Grey

Coffee names

Coffee names in Russian are the same as everywhere. Try recognizing them without translation:

кофе (m)
эспре´ссо (n)
капучи´но (n)
америка´но (n)
фраппучи´но (n)


Now, let's try to order something more elaborate than just tea. And don't forget about additions we've met in the dialog (са´хар – sugar, лимо´н - lemon, молоко´ - milk)

Waitress:  Чай или кофе? – Would you like tea or coffee?
You: Чай, пожа´луйста. – I'd have some tea please.
Waitress: Чё´рный или зелё´ный? – Black or green.
You:  Пожа´луйста, кра´сный. И капучи´но. – I'd like a fruit tea, please. And a cappuccino.
Waitress: Молоко´? – (Would you like any) milk (in your tea)?
You: Да, пожа´луйста. И са´хар. – Yes, please. And sugar, too.

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