Sipping Turkish tea in Istanbul

Finally Istanbul came on my travel radar! A city and the main crossroad between Europe and Asia, Istanbul has so much to offer. But first and foremost is its rich culture—and what a visit to Turkey without trying real Turkish tea after your meal.

The magic of drinking Turkish tea starts with the glass it’s served in. This typical tiny tulip-shaped glass comes in a small saucer with a tiny shiny teaspoon and a couple of sugar cubes (two is a rule!) next to it. Estimated 400 million of these Turkish glasses—nearly six per person—are sold each year in Turkey. They say that this transparent glass allows to appreciate the color of black tea and very often is used as a measurement cup when cooking.

Turkish tea in Istanbul

Turkish tea served in a cafe in Istanbul

Special Turkish tea sold in Spice Bazaar

Special Turkish tea sold in Spice Bazaar

Turkish people drink tea at any time of the day and at various events. Tea drinking is deeply rooted in Turkish social life and no surprise: it counts almost four centuries since tea was picked up as a cheaper alternative to coffee and then was popularized by Sultanahmet neighborhood.

Turkish tea is part of social life

The group on the right: enjoying Coca Cola and Turkish tea!

Remember: Turkish tea is black loose leaf tea that should be tried with sugar but never taken with milk.

Tea drinking in Turkey is probably one of the best examples that prove tea is at the heart of social life: it brings people together, it calls people out of their homes, and it’s the perfect excuse to sit down and talk for hours. It’s not a drink—it’s an experience.

Conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon. – Turkish proverb

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