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Turkish tea (Turkish: çay) is a type of tea that is popular mainly in the Turkish-speaking countries. In Turkey, Turkish tea tends to be more popular than Turkish coffee among the younger generation.

Turkish tea, called çay, a form of black tea, is produced on the eastern Black Sea coast, which has a mild climate with high precipitation and fertile soil. Turkish tea is typically prepared using two stacked kettles (çaydanlık) especially 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 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 (Turkish: koyu; literally "dark") or weak (Turkish: açık; literally "light"). Tea is drunk from small glasses to enjoy it hot in addition to show its colour, with lumps of beetroot sugar. To a lesser extent than in other Muslim countries, tea replaces both alcohol and coffee as the social beverage.

Within Turkey, the tea is usually known as Rize tea. Virtually all of the tea is produced in the Rize province, a Turkish province on the Black Sea coast. The Turks evolved their own way of making and drinking the black tea which became a way of life for Turkish culture. Wherever people go in Turkey, tea or coffee will be offered as a sign of friendship and hospitality, at homes, bazaars and restaurants, before or after a meal.

Despite its popularity, tea became the widely consumed beverage of choice in Turkey relatively recently. Tea was initially encouraged as an alternative to Turkish coffee, which had become expensive and at times unavailable in the aftermath of World War I. Upon the loss of territories after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, coffee became an expensive import.


At the urging of the nation's founder, Atatürk, Turks turned more to tea as it was easily sustainable by domestic sources.Turkish tea always 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. Turkish tea drinkers often add sugar, but milk is not traditional.

Turkish tea may be served either lighter (weaker) or darker (stronger) depending on the drinker's taste, as Turkish tea is made by pouring some very strong tea into the glass, then diluting it with hot water to the desired strength. Serious tea-drinking people (generally Turks) usually go to a coffee and tea house where they serve it with a samovar (Turkish: semaver) or urn, so they can refill their glasses themselves as much as they want.


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