If you want to drink tea in Russia the traditional way, you need a cup holder a metal receptacle designed to hold a piping hot glass of tea. The Kazakov factory in Nizhny Novgorod is still crafting cup holders by hand and prides itself on its ornate filigree designs. Travel by sleeper train in Russia and you’re likely to see a couple of these on the table. Drinking glasses in traditional decorative metal holders branded with the railway logo. Cup holders or “podstakannik” as they are called in Russian, were invented in the 18th Century so people could drink hot tea from glasses without burning their fingers. The train conductor delivers glasses of hot water from the samovar at the end of the carriage, ready for passengers to add tea bags and sugar or a spoonful of jam as a sweetener.