Teas Across The Globe: Unravelling Turkish Tea Culture

Teas Across The Globe: Unravelling Turkish Tea Culture

Welcome to the latest series of KingCha’s Blog!

Embarking on a journey of sensory delights, our "Teas Across the Globe" series invites you to traverse the intricate world of tea, where every cup is a vessel brimming with culture, tradition, and unique flavors. In this exciting exploration, we delve into the heart of nations, unravelling the captivating stories behind their cherished tea cultures. 

This holiday season let us embark on the diverse rituals that imbue ordinary tea leaves with the extraordinary power of history. Through this, we seek to celebrate the nuanced art of tea brewing, the communal rituals that bind societies, and the kaleidoscope of flavors that tell tales of centuries-old tea cultivation.

Today, our steaming cuppa transports us to the crossroads of Europe and Asia, where the art of tea brewing is not just a daily ritual but an indelible part of the cultural fabric- Turkey, the land of the Crescent Moon.

Origins of Turkish Tea

Turkish tea, also known as çay, holds a special place in Turkish culture and is an integral part of daily life. While the history of tea traces back through the annals of time, Turkey’s embrace of this beverage is a relatively recent phenomenon. Scholars and historians still debate the true origin of Turkish tea, placing it anywhere between 400 BCE and the 20th century. 

Despite its obscure beginnings, the first domestic attempt to cultivate Turkish tea, breaking free from dependence on imports, took place in Bursa between 1888 and 1892. Unfortunately, these early ventures were thwarted by unfavorable local conditions. It wasn't until 1924 that the Turkish parliament intervened, enacting a law that spurred tea cultivation in the eastern Black Sea region. This marked the genesis of Turkish tea culture as we know and love it today.

The Turkish Tea Experience

Just like every other tea-loving nation, Turkey too takes pride in its tea culture and rituals that foster connection and build friendships. Turkey’s famous Tea Ceremonies, known as “çay kurabiyesi”, is a portal into the vibrant soul of Turkish culture. It’s a delightful setting where people gather around the traditional Turkish teapot and serve each other glasses of tea while chatting and savouring sweet Turkish delights like flaky börek and baklava. 

When it comes to the preparation of Turkish tea, it involves a unique process that centres around the “çaydanlık”, a two-tiered tea kettle. The lower kettle is filled with water and set to boil, while the upper kettle holds loose tea leaves. Once the water boils, a portion is poured into the upper kettle, allowing the tea leaves to steep. This concentrated tea is then diluted with the hot water in the lower kettle to achieve the desired strength. The result is a robust, amber-hued infusion that is typically served in their famous small, tulip-shaped glasses.

Popular Turkish Tea Blends

While black tea remains the reigning monarch in Turkish teacups, there are delightful variations that cater to diverse palates. Here are some of the alternate Turkish tea blends that people enjoy:

  • Caykara or “çaykaratea”: A popular blend hailing from the Çaykara district in the Trabzon province. This tea boasts a distinctively strong flavor and is often enjoyed with a touch of local honey.
  • Rize Tea: Named after the province renowned for its tea cultivation, Rize tea is characterized by its bright color and brisk, invigorating taste, making it a staple in Turkish households.
  • Apple Tea: A tisane, or an herbal infusion made from dried apple pieces or crystallized apple granules. It's commonly enjoyed hot, but can also be served cold as a refreshing beverage. Some people also use the same concoction with black tea.

Tea Gardens of Turkey

Nestled amidst bustling cities and serene landscapes, Turkish tea gardens, known as "çay bahçeleri" in Turkish, offer an escape from daily life. Stepping into a Turkish tea garden is an immersive experience: The fragrant aroma of freshly brewed tea fills the air, mingling with the sweet scent of blooming flowers and the gentle rustling of leaves. Lush greenery surrounds you, creating a calming and refreshing atmosphere, and on top of all that, there’s the Bosphorus Strait that boasts views of sparkling waters and majestic bridges; a visual feast to accompany the sensory delight of Turkish tea culture!

Turkish tea gardens are true melting pots of society. People from all walks of life, young and old, students and professionals, families and friends, gather together to share a cup of tea and conversation. The atmosphere is one of warmth, hospitality, and acceptance, making it easy to strike up a conversation with strangers and forge new connections.


From unique traditions to modern global reach, Turkish tea is more than just a beverage. It's a cornerstone of Turkish culture, a symbol of hospitality, and a thread that weaves together communities. From the meticulous preparation in the iconic çaydanlık to the lively conversations held in vibrant tea gardens, the Turkish tea experience is an invitation to slow down, connect, and savour the simple pleasures of life.

The legacy of Turkish tea continues to evolve, reaching far beyond the borders of Turkey and into the hands of tea enthusiasts across the globe. Turkey's love for tea runs deep, with the country boasting the highest per capita consumption in the world and a rich export market. 

As the aroma of freshly brewed Turkish tea fills our senses, it serves as a reminder of the shared human experience, the joy of connection, and the enduring power of a simple cup of tea.

Thank you for joining us in this journey through the world of Turkish tea. We hope you are inspired to explore its traditions and flavours, and to create your own cherished tea memories.

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