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Turkish tea (çay)

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Turkish tea (çay) is a type of tea, widely popular drink in Turkey. 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 showing its colour, with lumps of beet 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 origins of tea drinking in Turkey dates back to the 1600s. One story says, that Coffeehouses, which were introduced by the Syrians in Turkey, had became a gathering spot for men, where they played tabli, had discussions, puffed on hookahs and drank coffee. Around 1633 the sultan ordered to close all the coffeehouses, because of the series of fires caused by hookahs. Therefore people switched to tea.

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