Tea has a great and indisputable place in the cultural life of Turkey. On the one hand, tea comes first among the most consumed beverages in the country, but also Turkey ranks by far first in the world in terms of per capita tea consumption. According to The UN Food and Agriculture Organization data, in 2014, per capita tea consumption in Turkey was 7.54 kg, far ahead of the second place Morocco with 4.34 kg per capita consumption. Despite the intensity of interest in this delicious drink, tea has relatively recently acquired this special place in the cultural life of Turkey. While traditional Turkish coffee had been the main drink in the Ottoman era, tea consumption gained popularity in the Republican period because of economic difficulties and because coffee prices were higher than tea.
In every aspect of daily life in Turkey you will surely encounter tea in its authentic thin waist glasses. Either for breakfast or for friends’ meetings at home or outside, either to keep warm in winter, or to aid digestion after a meal, it is certain that you will find tea anywhere and anytime. Don’t be surprised if you are served a glass of tea free of charge after dinner at the many restaurants in Turkey, because one of the most important indicators of the traditional culture of hospitality is serving tea to guests. Also, if you visit a coffeehouse, the most important hangouts that men pass time in the traditional culture, you can see the most intensely tea consumed places. In coffeehouses, where especially the pensioners come together and chat, it is possible to say that tea is drunk like water while playing rummicub. The other venue where tea is the most consumed drink is the university canteens. During breaks, students unfailingly have slim waist glasses or occasionally cardboard cups in their hands. On the other hand, in daily life, if one of your friends wants to chat with you, he or she would say;”Have a cup of tea?” When you hear this invitation, you can understand that your friend wants to talk with you about something.
Tea brewing culture in Turkey is different from western countries; tea is not steeped to drink directly, but tea brew is diluted with hot water. Therefore, unlike western kettles, a two stacked kettle is used in Turkey. Tea is steeped in the tea pot, which is placed on top of another pot used for boiling water. While serving , tea brew is diluted with hot water to serve strong or light according to one’s taste. In terms of tea varieties, although the most widespread tea is the black tea produced especially around Rize region, the so-called “smuggled” teas, Iranian and Ceylon Teas, preffered by those who desire a stronger aroma, and herbal teas have been gaining popularity in recent years. One of the most important elements of Turkish tea culture is undoubtedly the famous slim waist tea glasses. The slim waist glass, which is made from transparent glass, perfectly fits into the palm and is one of the best ways to warm up in the winter. It is a well-known fact that many tea addicts in Turkey won’t drink tea in any other tea cup.