The tea-drinking ritual in Turkey is more widespread than the coffee tradition, although many believe it’s the other way around.
Turkish people are the #1 tea drinkers in the world, sipping a warm tea from dusk till dawn.
The tea practice is engraved in their culture, and it has a wide cultural and social significance. As a strong family tradition, the Turkish Chai is one of the most emblematic features of this mega-diverse country.
The Turkish Tea Culture
As the greatest sign of honor and hospitality, Turkish Chai is offered to every visitor who curiously peeks into the local stores and markets.
It’s a common image on the streets of Turkey to see young boys running around with metal treys on their shoulders packed with tulip-shaped, shot-size glasses of black tea offered to locals, tourists, and visitors alike. The tea comes with sugar cubes, and most local people like it extremely sweet.
Turkish tea is an extraordinary tradition dating from the 1900s as a popular non-alcoholic beverage, however, the Turks first started trading with tea in 400 B.C.
Turkey is one of the top five tea-producing countries in the world, boasting a production of 6%-10% of teas distributed on the global market.
Turkish Chai in the Social Life
Every Turkish city, town, and village displays a variety of tea gardens and tea houses.
While the tea gardens are open for the entire family and are famous for everyday social gatherings, teahouses are only for men.
The ancient tradition of men gathering around round tables and playing board games for hours while sipping endless teacups is the most common sight when visiting Turkish bazaars and local markets.
Teahouses are welcoming places for any curious tourists who search for a sweet black tea indulgence while taking a break from the breathtaking historical and cultural venues.
How to Make Turkish Tea?
The most essential tool needed to make a proper Turkish Chai is a Caydanlik.
Caydanlik is a special tea device made of two teapots stuck on top of each other. The bottom teapot contains water, while the top one is where you add your tea leaves.
When the water on the bottom starts boiling, the tea leaves are added to it and require around 10 minutes of steeping, depending on the tea type. If you don’t have a Caydanlik, you can add a spoon of tea leaves to 100 ml of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
Turkish Chai has a strong taste, common for black teas, so it requires a few sugar cubes per cup, depending on the consumer.
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