A glass of Turkish tea presented in its characteristic slim-waisted ("ince belli") glass cup
© Ugur Akinci
Tea, called “çay” in Turkish, is the unofficial “national beverage” of the Turkish people. Turkish tea is a special kind of black tea with strong robust flavor and a lovely crimson color.
Wherever you go in Turkey you’ll immediately be offered a cup of hot tea, in distinctive glass cups that look like an hour glass.
There is hardly a single business meeting, meal or social gathering in Turkey in which tea is not served automatically. To turn down a cup of (almost always free) tea is considered a rude act in Turkish culture and will not win you any friends.
All government offices, universities, and most corporations in Turkey have a full-time tea-server on their payroll called “çayci” whose sole function is to brew and serve tea all day long.
DID YOU KNOW THIS -- According to 2004 figures, Turks drink even more tea than the Brits. Turks consume 2.5 kg of tea per person a year compared to 2.1 kg per Brit.
Green and ever-moist mountains of Rize is ideal to grow tea
Turkish tea, the same Camellia Sinensis cultivated all over Far East, is grown along the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Provinces like Rize are famous for their black tea plantation situated on the steep mountains that overlook the Black Sea.
Turkish tea is both consumed widely within the country and exported as well. Usually export variety is a slightly more expensive but better brand. Some of the best-known Turkish black tea brands include Filiz and CayKur.
Turks do not add milk to their tea but use sugar.
Also see: How to brew a cup of Turkish Tea?