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Tea Culture in Turkey

Tea is a very popular drink in Turkey & is the most commonly consumed hot drink in the country. Offering tea to the guest is the most integral part of Turkish hospitality. Tea is commonly consumed in households, shops and even in casual gathering of men.

Turkey has traditionally been a coffee lovers' culture. By 20th century, tea was introduced as an alternative to coffee. It is said that during World War I, the supply of the coffee was inconsistent and prices rose sharply. After the downfall of the Ottoman empire, which controlled most south eastern territories, the import of coffee became a very expensive affair. Hence most Turkish people shifted to consuming tea as it was easily available domestically.

In Turkey, tea is served boiling hot, in traditional tulip shaped glasses. Tea is consumed throughout the day right from breakfast to bed time. It is assumed to be a friendly gesture to offer tea to the guest. Usually tea time in Turkey is between 3 to 5 pm and that is when households or offices mostly serve tea. Tea is served along with delicious sweet biscuits (called Kurabiye in Turkish) & cakes.

Tea houses are very common hangout spots in Turkish villages. It is unlikely to spot a woman in a tea house. At this predominantly male dominant place, you can spot groups of men spending hours at a time, smoking, playing board games and enjoying their cup of tea in traditional glasses.

In every household and office, the pot of tea is always brewing, serving ready to drink tea. Offices and factories are obligated by law to give at least two tea breaks in a workday.

Most of the tea produced in Turkey is Rize Tea, which is a black tea produced in Rize province on eastern Black sea coast of Turkey. Fertile soil, frequent rainfall, ideal temperature and climatic conditions, all combine to produce the high quality tea leaves. These leaves are processed in factories located in the nearby localities and then shipped across the regions of Turkey.

This tea is traditionally brewed using the two stacked kettles called Caydanlik, which is specially designed for making tea. While making the tea in this kettle, the lower kettle is used to boil water and the upper kettle is used to put the loose tea leaves in water. This brews a very strong tea. Next, the hot water in the lower kettle is used for additional dilution to match the desired levels of strongness. This tea is served by adding sugar cubes as per taste.

Turkey is among the top 5 tea growing countries in the world. Most of the tea produced is consumed domestically. The consumption of herbal tea is Turkey is on the rise. This deep rooted tea culture in Turkey is a great opportunity in future for tea suppliers exporting value added teas across the world