In America, tea had been a popular drink during the early 18th century when it was regarded as a hallmark of polite European culture. However, in the aftermath of the American War of Independence (1775-83) tea drinking came to be seen an unpatriotic and its rejection as a symbolic refusal of British rule. At the same time the coffee plantations of the Americas and Caribbean had made coffee both easier to access and much cheaper than the tea grown on the plantations in India and China. Nevertheless, tea was still imported into America in significant quantities and although enthusiasm for the drink never reached British levels, traditional tea sets were still produced in great numbers by fashionable companies such as Tiffany & Co. From the 1870s the consumption of iced tea also provided a new, fashionable way to enjoy the drink.
Next to Britain, the strongest tea culture to emerge during the 19th century was in Russia where tea was valued for its ability to help counter the cold climate. The drink was first introduced to Russia in the early 1600s but it was not until the mid-19th century that Russian merchants were permitted to import tea by ship from Canton, allowing imports to rise steadily and prices to fall, making tea more affordable for the middle and lower classes. Of central importance to the Russian tea ceremony was a richly decorated tea set, usually comprising of a matching teapot, tea cups, milk jug, strainer, sugar bowl and tongs. During the late 19th century, these tea accoutrements were commonly decorated with cloisonné enamels in bright colours that became especially popular in Russia due to the trend for traditional, ‘national’ styles in the decorative arts. The Russian method of preparing tea is distinct from the European fashion; the tea is allowed to steep for a very long time before being diluted in a cup with water from a samovar. It is also usually sweetened with sugar, jam or honey or drunk with a sugar cube held in the mouth. Milk is rarely added.