Coffee culture in Russia was one of the latest to evolve. But, this doesn’t mean that the country doesn’t produce premium coffee.
Third-wave coffee shops and independent roasters are popular in St. Petersburg and Moscow and have really stepped up the country’s coffee game.
So, if you want to try some Russian brews, where should you start? We’ve created the ultimate guide to Russian coffee brands to help you out. Let’s jump in!
Coffee Culture in Russia
Long before coffee culture made its way to Russia, tea was the drink of choice. Most Russians can drink at least four cups of tea daily.
When coffee did make its way to Russia, instant coffee was what really took off. This is because Russians would brew this the same way they would make tea. It was an easy transition into their new favorite beverage.
What’s interesting is that even as coffee took off, Russians found coffee to be very bitter. As a result, they became fond of adding sugar to their coffee. In fact, almost 83% of the coffee drinkers in Russia add sugar to their coffee!
Another interesting fact about Russians and coffee is that, originally, only the rich could afford coffee. These wealthy individuals would brew their coffee in ibriks or Turkish coffee pots.
After some time, however, coffee became more accessible to people from all walks of life. Many people used it as a way to stay awake and get through the day rather than as a drink to enjoy for pleasure.
The Birth of Coffee Shops
In the 1990s, Russian coffee culture changed. Various coffee shops started popping up in Moscow, especially Western-style cafes you’re used to in Europe and the US. These coffee shops served coffee blends and flavors together with pastries and local delicacies.
As coffee transitioned from being instant brews made at home to being fancy, specialty coffee, Russia’s love for coffee grew. Today, freshly roasted and filtered coffee is becoming famous in the country.
In fact, as of 2015, ICO reported that “Russia is the 8th largest coffee consumer in the world.” Also, it has one of the biggest markets for manufacturing soluble coffee. This country’s especially coffee industry is well-known in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Russians also loved experimenting with fruity flavors; this stems from their love for drinking tea. Whenever they brew coffee at home, they love adding berries, spices, chocolate, and even lemon.
Today, you’re bound to find some interesting coffee flavors in Russia!
The Famous Russian Raf Coffee
If we’re going to talk about coffee in Russia, we’ve got to talk about something called Raf coffee.
Raf coffee became famous in Russia during the late 20th century. It first appeared in Moscow in Coffee Bean, a favorite third-wave coffee shop in the city.
The story goes that one of the cafe’s frequent guests named Raf requested a different drink from the barista. Raf’s special requirement was it had to be unique and milky. But, he didn’t want it to be like a regular cappuccino.
The barista combined an espresso shot, vanilla sugar, and cream. He steamed everything all together, and the rest was history!
Today, the drink is popular around Russia.
How it Differs From A Latte or Cappucino
You might think that Raf coffee is just like any other latte or cappuccino. But to make Raf coffee, you need cream instead of milk. The fat content of the cream you use should be less than 15% so that it’s rich but not overly unhealthy.
Another key difference is the steaming method. To make Raf coffee, all ingredients are frothed and steamed in one place at the same time.
This creates a smooth, creamy, and well-blended coffee.
How To Make Raf Coffee
Raf coffee is easy to make, and you can even try to create one on your own. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide you can follow.
What You’ll Need:
- 30 ml espresso
- Vanilla sugar
- Cream with around 10% to 11% fat
With your ingredients in hand, follow these steps to make your coffee:
- Pull one shot of espresso.
- Add the espresso shot and the vanilla sugar to the milk pitcher.
- Add the cream to the mixture and steam the mix.
- Serve the coffee in a mug and enjoy!
There you go! You’ve just made a delicious cup of Raf coffee.
The Number of Calories
If you’re wondering how many calories a cup of Raf coffee has, let’s break it down below.
- A shot of espresso has 3 kcals
- Cream with 10 to 15% fat has 147 kcals
- Two tablespoons of sugar have 50 kcals
If you try to add each component, a cup of Raf coffee would roughly have 200 kcals.
Top 5 Best Russian Coffee Brands
As specialty coffee continues to be popular in Russia, there are brands that dominate the world. Here are the top five best Russian coffee brands you should check out.
Before Jardin became a famous coffee manufacturer, it was initially a tea brand. It opened in 1994, but in 2007, ten years later, the company separated and rebranded itself as a coffee company.
The brand partnered with Jardin Coffee Solution in Switzerland and focused on producing instant coffee and ground beans.
You’ll find a wide selection of coffee blends with Jardin, although it’s best known for its delicate coffee flavors. A few of these flavors are Hazelnut, Apple, Jasmine, Vanilla, Pear, and Chocolate.
- Has unique blends with fruity flavors, so they’ve got a unique flavor profile
- You can pick anything from instant coffee to coffee capsules, so it’s great no matter what brewing system you use
- Made with premium Arabica beans, so you’re guaranteed freshness in every cup
- Because of its luxury taste and blend, it can be on the pricier side
2. Live Coffee
Live Coffee will satisfy your taste buds with its coffee’s premium quality taste. The company behind this brand guarantees all its coffee products are made with 100% pure Arabica beans.
Live Coffee features a unique patented technology that they use to roast the beans to perfection. As a result, you get a super smooth and fresh cup of coffee.
Also, they ensure that Live Coffee creates natural and healthy coffee. All their brews are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Natural and organic, so it’s chemical-free
- A lot of options to choose from, so you can pick whichever type of coffee you like
- Uses a unique patented technology, so the coffee is always fresh and carefully blended
- It contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so it’s perfect for health-conscious people
- On the pricier side, it can be inaccessible for those on a budget
Jockey was Jardin’s predecessor. The same company that manages Jardin also handles Jockey.
What differentiates Jockey from Jardin is its price range in the Russian coffee market. Jockey belongs in the economy category, while Jardin is under the premium category.
Because it’s more of an economical brand, Jockey doesn’t have a ton of different flavors for you to choose from. But even though Jockey has limited flavors, it’s still one of Russia’s best coffee brands. In fact, it has won Product of the Year multiple times since 2008 in the Ground Coffee category.
Jockey has a ton of products, including 3-in-1 coffee mixes, instant coffee, ground beans, and whole beans.
- The coffee is super flavorful, so it’s perfect for drinkers who love black coffee
- It has a wide range of coffee types with different blends, so you can find something you love no matter what your preferences are
- More affordable, so it’s ideal for people on a budget
- They have limited flavors, so you have fewer options to choose from
- Coffee can be a bit more bitter than normal, so it might be a bit strong for some coffee drinkers
4. Moscow Coffee House
If you want authentic Russian coffee, check out Moscow Coffee House. Moscow Coffee House offers a wide range of products, from whole beans to ground coffee and instant coffee.
Moscow Coffee House has a distinct flavor that many people associate with Russian coffee. As a result, if you want an authentic cup of Russian coffee, this is a good pick.
- It has multiple coffee options ranging from mild to intense flavors, so there’s something for everyone
- Made with premium Arabica beans, guaranteeing each product has a bold and rich aroma
- The coffee has a velvety texture, making your coffee drinking experience smooth
- This brand is a bit on the pricier side, so it’s not good for those on a budget
5. Chernaya Karta
Chernaya Karta means “Black Card” in English. Strauss Group manages this coffee brand. It’s an international company focusing on food and beverages.
Chernaya Karta is most famous for its instant coffee. Their instant coffee, despite being freeze-dried, is super flavorful.
Chernaya Karta is also famous for its Chernaya Karta Gold. This coffee uses the warmth of the sun to help dry out the beans and prepare them for roasting. That method creates a unique-tasting coffee that people around Russia love.
- The instant coffee is great, so it’s perfect for anyone on the go
- The beans have a long shelf-life, so you don’t have to restock them all the time
- They have a rich flavor and aroma, so the coffee is super flavorful
- They have a decaffeinated version, so it’s great for people limiting their caffeine intake
- It’s premium-quality coffee, so this brand is on the expensive side
Russian Coffee Brands Are A Must-Try
There you have it! These top Russian coffee brands are some of the best on the market and are great picks if you want to branch out and try something new.
Live Coffee should be on the top of your list if you want to stay healthy. This brand features unique coffee blends packed with antioxidants to boost your immune system.
But if you’re not open to experimenting and are on a budget, try out Jockey. While it’s cheaper, the flavors of its original blends are not compromised.
Regardless of which you pick, we hope this guide has convinced you to try out Russian coffee brands! And, if you still have questions, let us know in the comments below!