Tea is popular throughout Turkey. Most of the tea produced in Turkey is Rize tea, a terroir from Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast, which has a mild climate with high precipitation and fertile soil. This tea is usually processed as black tea.
Turkey had the highest per capita tea consumption in the world, at 2.5 kg per person—followed by the United Kingdom.
Turkish tea is typically prepared using two stacked kettles called “çaydanlık” specially designed for tea preparation. Water is brought to a boil in the larger lower kettle and then some of the water is used to fill the smaller kettle on top and steep (infuse) several spoons of loose tea leaves, producing a very strong tea.
When served, the remaining water is used to dilute the tea on an individual basis, giving each consumer the choice between strong (literally dark) – a deep brownish red or weak (light). Tea is drunk from small glasses to enjoy it hot in addition to showing its color, with cubes of beet sugar and without milk.
Tea is an important part of Turkish culture, and is the most commonly consumed hot drink, despite the country’s long history of coffee consumption. Offering tea to guests is part of Turkish hospitality. Tea is most often consumed in households, shops, and by cafes. Despite its popularity, tea only became the beverage of choice in Turkey in the 20th century.
Turkish tea is traditionally offered in small tulip-shaped glasses which are usually held by the rim, in order to save the drinker’s fingertips from being burned, as the tea is served boiling hot.