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, though it is known for its rich red color.
In 2004 Turkey produced 205,500 tonnes of tea (6.4% of the world’s total tea production), which made it one of the largest tea markets in the world, with 120,000 tons being consumed in Turkey, and the rest being exported. Furthermore, in 2004, Turkey had the highest per capita tea consumption in the world, at 2.5 kg per person—followed by the United Kingdom (2.1 kg per person).
Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong, green, and white teas. It is generally stronger in flavor than the less oxidized teas. Our black tea in Rize, Turkey characterized by its strong taste, when brewed it is mahogany in color.
Preparation of Black Tea
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 and weak. Tea is drunk from small glasses to enjoy it hot in addition to showing its color, with cubes of beet sugar. It is almost never taken with milk.
History of Turkish Tea
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. Despite its popularity, tea only became the beverage of choice in Turkey in the 20th century.
It was initially encouraged as an alternative to coffee, which had become expensive and at times unavailable in the aftermath of World War I. Upon the loss of southeastern territories after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, coffee became an expensive import. At the urging of the founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkish people turned more to tea as it was easily sustainable by domestic sources. 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.