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History of Turkish Tea

6th April 2015

A man walks through the streets carrying a tray of Turkish tea, a common sight among the crowds of Turkish people on the streets, for çay is the nations favorite drink.

It is impossible to imagine breakfasts, social gatherings, business meetings or even haggling for carpets in the Grand Bazaar without a glass of Çay (Turkish tea) being offered first.

Turkish tea (Çay) is ingrained in to Turkish culture; it is a social experience and a sign of hospitality and is offered as a sign of friendship.

History – Introducing Tea to Turkey

In 1878 tea consumption began to spread through Istanbul as teahouses opened in Sultanahmet. Tea was made popular by Mehmet Izzet, the then governor of Adana, as he published the Çay Risalesi (Tea Pamphlet), touting the health benefits of drinking tea. 

Although tea passed through Turkey as part of the Silk Road trade in the 1500s, it did not begin to become a part of daily life throughout Turkey until the 1900s.

Tea became a cheaper alternative to coffee;The nation's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk encouraged tea as an alternative to Turkish coffee, which had become too expensive, four glasses of tea could be purchased for the price of one cup of Turkish coffee.

The Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast had an idealy mild climate and fertile soil, so the Turks began to produce their own tea, named Rize tea. In 1924 the first tea plantations were set up in Rize.


Statistics -Did you know

The word 'çay' originates from the Chinese word chá (茶) meaning tea

400 million Çay glasses, thats nearly six per person, are sold in Turkey every year.

Turkish people have one of the highest per capita consumption rates of tea, averaging about 1,000 cups per year.

Turkey ranks at no:6 in the world for the largest producer of tea, trailing India, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

All tea is produced from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.

767 million m² of land in Turkey is used to grow tea.

Tea, is the second most consumed Turkish drink, after water.


As the saying goes in turkey,
A conversation without tea is like a night sky without a moon.’




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