Some of us can remember a Soviet Union where no English could be seen anywhere, toilet paper and sanding paper surely were made in the same factory (not really but it felt that way), and coffee was something you brought from home in a suitcase.
Today many streets have names posted in Cyrillic and English as do some underground Metro signs. Toilet paper is no longer carried on sticks slung over a man’s back and is as soft and comfortable as anyplace in the West. Nowadays I buy coffee in Russia and take it back to the USA.
To be sure, Russian’s aren’t the avid coffee drinkers as a typical American or Canadian, but coffee is no stranger to a Russian table and in fact has never been a total stranger. These days home grown coffee shops are sprouting up everywhere. Even Starbucks with their ill advised late entry into Eastern Europe is doing well.
Of course Russians still drink tea all day, dawn to dark, but when Russians want coffee, often it is to compliment dessert and that usually dictates a very strong blend something more like a Turkish coffee. That is perhaps one reason why a cup of American styled coffee at Moscow based шоколадница кофейна (Chocolate Coffee/Cafe) is only 159р (rubles) versus 199р for a cappuccino or from 199р to 249р for a specialty coffee. The exchange rate today is 32.8745 rubles to ($1) one American dollar.
Russians love ice cream, mayo and beets above anything else, okay so fish and salo belong in the list, but chocolate is not far behind. We’re generalizing about “they” of course, but in general “they” love the deep and dark European style chocolate, having figured out that dark chocolate is good for health, wealth, love, happiness, good music, cures eyesight problems, restores youth, improves sex, heals burns, fixes teeth, cures hangovers, re-inflates flat tires and is the best medicine for that dreaded malady known in medical circles as “severe chocolate deficiency” syndrome. Therein the connection between chocolate and coffee.
Coffee drinking is becoming fashionable across Eastern Europe.
Coffee from Ethiopia is another popular exotic bean sold in the former Soviet Union.