Turks drink çay (tea) every day, all day. For Turkish people conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon.
The tea culture in Turkey is much less complicated than in Britain or Japan.
Tea is poured into lovely little tulip-shaped glasses and is hot, dark red and strong. It is consumed without milk.
A concentrated brew is prepared using two stacked kettles specially designed for making tea. Boiling water from the second kettle is used to dilute the concentrated tea for each guest.
Teabags are considered a ‘barbaric’ Western corruption. And herbal teas are only popular with tourists. Turks consider herbal teas as medicine. Tourists are often offered apple tea. It is a chemical, very sweet kind of tea. The real apple tea you will find only in the Spice Bazaar.
Never drink only a single glass of tea but – just as you would enjoy peanuts or other snacks – always have more than one. If you find the black, strong tea that the Turks drink too bitter, ask for açık çay[cursief (literally ‘clear’ or ‘open’ tea). That kind of tea is much weaker, because they add more water for you.
Turkey is the biggest tea drinking nation in the world; 6.87 kg per capita per year. Followed by Morocco, Ireland, Mauritania and England.
Turks only started drinking tea since the 20th century as an alternative to coffee, that became too expensive.
This is what a cup of tea looks like in 22 different countries