Black Tea

 

Although tea was discovered thousands of kilometers from Anatolia, the moment it came to this land it shook the throne of coffee and became the indispensable drink of the most intimate conversations.

• When did the tea meet with the Ottomans?

The arrival of tea in the Ottoman Empire is towards the end of the 19th century. According to the history writer Murat Bardakçı, this started when some shops in Istanbul started to import small amounts of tea. The book "Çay Risalesi" was published by Hacı Mehmed İzzet Efendi, known for his fondness for tea, was in Istanbul in 1879.
 
The first serious attempt to grow tea in the Ottoman coincides with the Sultan II. Abdülhamid period. In "Coğrafyayı Sınai ve Ticari" book published in 1892, it is stated that the seedlings and seeds of tea brought from China through the Trade Secretary Ismail Pasha and were planted in Bursa however positive outcome could not be obtained due to the lack of ecological conditions.

The document, which was later found in the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Ministry and which was accepted as the first archive document on tea farming in the Ottoman Empire, indicates that the seeds were brought from Japan.

 

 

• Who was the first Turk to drink tea?

History books write that that Turks were first introduced to tea in Central Asia before they came to Anatolia.  In the work of Tatar reformist Abdul Qayyum Nassiri “Fevakihü’l–Cülesâ”, it states the Turkish poet Hodja Ahmet Yesevi, who was living in Kazakhstan in the 12th century was the first Turk to drink tea. Nassiri writes that Hodja Ahmet Yesevi was a guest of a Turkmen neighbor in the house where he was able to relieve his tiredness with the hot cup of tea and that they "should offer this drink to your patients to heal".

 

 

• How is tea consumed in which region?

Tea drinking styles vary according to regions. For example, in Erzurum and the provinces in the east, tea is drunk in light and spoonless way and is treated by a special method called "kıtlama". Kıtlama is the name given to large and hard candies produced in Kars and Erzurum region. With special scissors, or by hand, or by biting small pieces are bitten off and is placed under the tongue and as the tea is sipped the sugar melts which gives a flavor.  If you are a guest, unless you have "enough" the tea is constantly refreshed. Even if you say thank you and you will be served another glass. Not to drink this tea also means a great insult to the host.


Smuggled tea is mostly consumed in the Southeast. The color is darker, the taste is more bitter. Cups are also slightly larger than in other regions. Residents of Gümüşhane usually prefer their tea mildly sweetened while residents of Trabzon prefer with little sugar.  In Tokat, cups are small but a gap on top of the cup is always left. And those from Rize,  believe the most beautiful tea is the production of Çaykur, which is their own tea.

Whichever way they drink, the Turkish people's common passion is the glass cup. To see the color, to feel the warmth and hear the sound of the spoon when stirring.

Deniz Gürsoy in his book roughly describes the glasses used in Turkey as; slim glass, Ajda and tulip-shaped and tells the story of the name Ajda. According to the story, Paşabahçe manufactures this glass places it on the shelves as Aida series. But as people see the name Aida they start to read it the way they see it, in other words, Ajda and the name of the glass remains that way.

 

 

• How to the Turks rank in tea consumption in the world?

Turks, with the average per capita tea consumption of 2.3 kilograms per person per annum is ranked fourth in the list of the world's most tea-drinking nation. 100 years ago, which our people simply could not begin their day without a cup of coffee now cannot start their day without drinking tea.

Although loved and consumed in each region, the homeland of tea in Turkey is the Eastern Black Sea region. Today, tea is cultivated, especially in Rize, Trabzon, Artvin, Ordu and Giresun, sometimes rising up to a thousand meters and in 758 thousand decare area. In fact, the scientific name for Cammellia type of tea plant is Camellia sinensis or Chinese Tea.

 

The most important characteristic of the tea grown in the Eastern Black Sea is the lack of residues of pesticides (chemicals used against insects, mushrooms, etc.) due to the lack of chemical control in agriculture. This is a serious advantage for ecological (organic) agriculture.

"There is no other country in the world that snow falls on tea plant," says Çayeli Agriculture Chamber adviser Ali Küçükislamoğlu. And he adds "The highlands on the top of the tea fields in the snow in the winter months cannot find the opportunity to live with bacteria. Therefore, there is no need for the use of pesticides."

 

 

The state is the biggest consumer of the tea maker. Approximately 60 percent of the grown tea is bought and processed by the public company Çaykur. Çaykur, the only authorized institution in agriculture, production, operation and sales until 1984, has to share the tea market with other private companies.

 

The taste and brewing time of the tea in the West is different than the Turkish tea. According to Deniz Gürsoy, author of "Demlikten Süzülen Çay", the reason for this is the crispiness of the leaves used. "The tea that the westerners drink is only made from the blossomed leaves and the teas grown in the places where the tea is the homeland, therefore, steeps quicker. In our case, as non-crispy leaves are also handpicked, it takes longer to steep. Also, tea drinkers in our country want to feel the bittersweet taste of tea. Steeping time is also extended to access this bitter taste."