Iraq consumes over 3 lb of tea per capita per year.
If Iraquis don’t start the day with tea, they are prone to headaches and dizziness.
Tea houses in Iraq are called chai khana where men traditionally gather to drink dozens of sugary Black tea.
History of Tea in Iraq
Tea became popular in Iraq thanks to the Bhagdad governor from the beginning of the 19th century, the Ottoman, Midhat Pasha.
He turned the existing coffee shops into tea houses and introduced the caffeine-rich Black tea to the country.
Although some sources say that the Brits brought tea to Iraq during their WWI invasion, that’s not quite true as tea existed here way before, during the Ottoman Empire.
Tea Culture in Iraq
Iraquis love strong, sweet Black tea.
They serve tea in a small glass cup called Istrikan, a word derived from a region in Russia where these cups were first manufactured, Astrakhan.
Samovar is the name of the tea kettle used to prepare tea in the past, also influenced by Russian tea culture.
Tea in Iraq is brewed in every home, although men prefer to have their tea in chai khana over long chats with friends and family.
The tiny spoon used to dissolve sugar is called Kashoka and it’s much smaller than a regular teaspoon.
A guest must be served a full Istrikan, otherwise, it’s considered a lack of respect. Refusing tea is a highly impolite gesture in Iraq so on a day of many visits or meetings, people can drink up to ten cups of tea.
Iraquis even have songs about tea that includes love and respect towards the daily tea ritual and the brewing.
Shakrdan is the name of the sugar container the Iraquis use, while Qori is the special jug they use to boil the water for their tea.
Iraq and tea are two inseparable words. Iraqui tea culture is one of the most admirable in the world, representing the centuries-old tradition of tea brewing.
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