Not in China, nor in the United Kingdom people drink most tea in the world, but in Turkey. No less than 3.16 kg per person per year. Tea is part of Turkish culture. Offering a glass tea to any stranger and all guests is a traditional token of Turkish hospitality. Most restaurants offer tea for free at the end of a meal.
Turks drink tea all day, every day, but not for centuries, like most people think. Turkey was introduced to the tea culture and tea cultivation only 140 years ago.
The first tea was grown in Turkey in the northeastern city of Artvin in the late 1870s. And the first seedlings were brought in from China.
Rize is now the Turkish capital of tea production.
During the Ottoman Empire Turks drank coffee regularly. But during World War I, when the sultan lost all of the Arab lands, including Yemen where most coffee beans came from, the scarcity of coffee increased the prices rapidly and the Turks switched to their own tea, cultivated mainly in the Black Sea region.
The Turkish word for tea is Çay, from the Chinese word for tea, Chá.
Almost all Turks drink black, strong tea. Most sweeten their tea with several cubes of sugar. If you don’t like this strong tea, like i do, ask for açık çay (very weak tea, sometimes also called ‘husband’s tea’).
In supermarkets you can also buy all kinds of herbal tea. Many Turks look down upon herbal teas. Often they have the impression that these are madical teas.