~Turkish Tea or Chai – Çay~

by Sara Hafiz on March 28, 2010

Turkish tea or Chai-Çay is a popular beverage in Turkey. Tea is an important part of the Turkish culture. Offering tea or coffee is considered to be a sign of hospitality at homes, even in bazaars and shops. I remember walking around in the mother of all bazaars , The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Grand Bazar is one of the largest covered market in the world. It opened its doors in the year  1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops.

While walking around in the Grand Bazaar I  came across one of many carpet shops. This shop in particular caught my attention since there was an older gentleman sitting at the doorstep and he said hello and smiled at everyone who walked by. So I stood in front of the shop for a  minute to admire the gorgeous carpets and rugs with intricate designs and colors. The gentleman at the doorstep politely asked me to go in the shop and his son, Osman will be happy to help me in my selection. I remember as soon as I walked inside & Osman greeted me with a warm smile and told his assistant to bring out some chai for me. I was so delighted and felt welcomed and I thought what a beautiful gesture. In Turkey it doesn’t matter if you buy from a merchant or not, they will offer you tea or coffee to welcome you, that’s all.

I used a Turkish black tea which I bought from my local Turkish specialty store. It’s a loose tea, so you can add as much or as little tea that you like. Turkish like to drink a strong-tasting tea. Boil the water, then add a teaspoon of loose tea for one cup and let it simmer for five minutes. Enjoy the tea with some Turkish delights, above is a Turkish Floss Halwa with Pistachios, more like a Turkish cotton candy available in any Turkish specialty goods shops!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bria March 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

I had a very similar tea just this morning. Love it. Shopping in the bazaars is such an experience on every level, isn’t it?

Though I did almost get knocked over by a donkey in a souk in Aleppo. LOL! Oh well, makes for a good story.

Beautifully photographed, btw. :-)

zerrin June 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm

It’s great to read about Turkish çay in a non Turkish blog. You described it very well above, we love black tea and it has a big part in our daily life. we have it at breakfast, then we have it at work, at break times, after work, after lunch, after dinner. And it goes very well with simit or other pastries. I must go now and brew some tea to have with our cupcakes:)

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