A Sip of Steeped Traditions: Turkish Tea

A captivating elixir that weaves tales of tradition and hospitality with every sip

A woman harvesting tea in the Black Sea (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

In the Ottoman Empire, where coffee consumption was widespread, tea took a long time to become popular, despite being known.

Turkish Tea, Rize

Highlands of the Black Sea (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

After World War I, tea cultivation in Türkiye gained momentum due to issues with coffee supply and rising prices. The Black Sea region, with its suitable climate, became the primary area for tea cultivation during the early years of the Turkish Republic.

Enjoying tea (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Through state policies, tea gradually became more popular next to coffee as a widely consumed beverage in Türkiye. Today, Türkiye stands as a country capable of meeting its entire tea production and consumption demand.

Enjoying a cup of Turkish black tea in the Black Sea highlands (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

From Leaves to 245,000,000 Cups of Tea

Tea holds a prominent place in Turkish culture and takes Türkiye to the top in daily tea consumption worldwide with a staggering 245,000,000 cups each day.

A woman harvesting tea in the Black Sea (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Türkiye holds a significant position in global tea production with an annual output of 1.5 million tons of tea on an area of 800,000 hectares. All tea production in Türkiye takes place in the Black Sea region, primarily in the city of Rize, with 70% of the country's tea production.

Tea harvest (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

As Türkiye has become one of the world's largest tea producers, with domestic consumption being a significant driver, Turkish tea is now also exported to various countries worldwide.

Freshly brewed tea from the tea house is being served (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Turkish tea is globally renowned for its distinctive brewing method, cup design, and serving style.

Yet, its unparalleled significance in Turkish culture elevates it above other tea-drinking traditions, making it the perfect companion for the coziest conversations.

Youngsters enjoying a traditional breakfast in the highlands of Black sea (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Have Another Cup of Conversation

In Türkiye, tea is often a companion during profound discussions, infusing its warm aroma into the fabric of these conversations. 

Turkish tea is more than just a beverage, it is a conversation starter! Cosy tea chats foster connections and create a welcoming atmosphere for meaningful discussions.

Tasting tea at the street market (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Thus, tea is never limited to a single cup, instead, the cups are consistently replenished, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of warmth.

An enjoyable breakfast in İstanbul (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Tea is also integral to Turkish business culture, providing a hot and convenient drink during short breaks and lengthy meetings. 

It represents hospitality, even in brief interactions, making it a vital gesture in workplaces and shops.

Enjoying tea by the seaside (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

A unique tradition among many others, Erzurum has a unique way of drinking tea called "kıtlama." Sugar is not added to the tea, but kept in the mouth and moistened with each sip, adding a subtle sweetness.

Pierre Loti Tea Garden (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

As tea is widely popular in the country, Turkish tea gardens are yet another cherished tradition. People gather in these ”gardens” that are often meeting points for many to socialize and relax as they sip on the delicious tea, fostering community.

Pouring freshly brewed Turkish tea (2023) by GotürkiyeGoTürkiye

The Intricacies of Turkish Tea Serving and Preparation

Immense finesse goes into each and every cup of wonderfully brewed Turkish tea, where each sip is a testament to the unwavering dedication of its preparation.

Tea brewing and service in Türkiye are both intricate processes with multiple layers of skills and patience. From the custom brew strength to the exclusive selection of the finest glassware, it offers an enticing experience for locals and foreigners alike.

Handmade teapots in Gaziantep Coppersmiths' Bazaar (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The artful tea brewing process uses stacked teapots. The lower pot boils the water, which is then poured over the tea leaves in the upper pot for steeping. This offers strength and brew customization such as strong, medium, or light for a personalized tea-drinking experience.

Tea cup and plate (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The Essence of Hospitality and Attention to Detail

Tulip-shaped turkish tea glasses - turkish tea is often enjoyed in slender glasses to appreciate its color, clarity, and strength. These unique tea glasses, which usually hold around 100ml of tea per serving, retain the tea’s heat as fresh refills ensure continuous enjoyment. 

A cup of tea is a must for Turkish breakfast (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The tulip glass is served on a coaster, which serves as a plate and includes a teaspoon for stirring the tea. 

It keeps the glass separate from the table surface while ensuring a cleaner area for your teaspoon.

A couple of people drinking Turkish tea in a coffeehouse at a North Aegean town (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

In Turkish culture, ordering tea for others is an act of kindness, a gesture that shows the value of having a welcoming atmosphere. To order tea for the whole table, a person mimics stirring tea with a teaspoon, indicating their intention to treat everyone.

Turkish tea and Simit in the Black Sea (2023)GoTürkiye

From Dawn to Dusk with Turkish Tea

Turkish tea gracefully accompanies the first light of dawn to the serene dusk, delighting the taste buds on breakfast and dinner tables alike.

A cup of tea is a must for Turkish breakfast (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

As world-renowned Turkish breakfast offers a rich array of flavours from savoury to sweet, Turkish tea is the perfect companion to the marvelous feast.

Especially perfect with freshly baked simit, Turkish tea makes even the simplest of breakfasts a meal everyone looks forward to.

Handmade copper teapot (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

While tea is not served alongside lunch or dinner, it is customary to offer tea, especially after dinner. Tea often marks the end of a meal but the beginning of deeper conversations to come among friends, family, and even strangers.

Culture of Çay (tea) is inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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