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.
ко´фе (m) - coffee
и´ли - or
чай (m) - tea
Literally: How difficult (is) everything:
как – how, so
всё (n) - everything
сло´жно – difficult, complicated
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, пожа´луйста. – I'd like a tea, please.
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:
Coffee names in Russian are the same as everywhere. Try recognizing them without translation:
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.