Turkish Rize Tea

by jptanabe

You've heard of Turkish coffee, but what about Turkish Rize tea?

Turkish Rize Tea - what's that? So, you've probably heard of Turkish coffee right? That strong coffee served in little cups? What's this Turkish tea or Rize tea then? Well, it's black tea from the Rize region, and made in special teapots that are in some way similar to Russian samovars (except they don't look much like samovars!).

The tea is made really strong, and then water is added to dilute it according to each person's taste. It's drunk without milk but can be sweetened with sugar. And this tea is served in glasses, on saucers. Looking good!

Turkish Tea is Grown in the Rize District

Turkish tea, or cay, comes from the same tea plant as all teas, Camellia sinensis, and it is a black tea. Yes, that means it has caffeine.

Tea in Turkey is usually known as Rize tea, since it comes from the Rize province on the Black Sea coast, a region that is well suited to growing tea. The climate there is mild, with high levels of precipitation, and fertile soil.

Tea (çay) plantation Rize province, Turkey
Tea (çay) plantation Rize province, T...

History of Turkish Rize Tea

Turkey is more famous for its coffee than tea, and indeed Turkish tea only became popular in the twentieth century. The reason Turks began drinking tea is because they lost their access to cheap coffee when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, so rather than paying to import coffee the founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk, encouraged the drinking of tea which could be grown domestically.

Finding the Rize province to have the appropriate climate and soil for growing tea, Turks began growing tea there in 1924. Today, Turkey is a significant producer of black tea in the world.

Making Turkish Rize Tea

Apart from being grown within Turkey in the Rize province, what makes Turkish tea special is the way it is brewed and served.

Turkish tea is brewed in a fashion similar to Russian tea. But instead of the iconic Russian samovar, Turkish Rize tea is brewed in a double teapot set known as a aydanlik. The water is boiled in the larger, bottom kettle and then tea is brewed in the top teapot. The tea is very strong and additional hot water is added from the kettle when it is served. This allows individual variations in strength, with each person having the choice between koyu (strong, literally "dark" in Turkish) or acik (weak, literally "light") tea, or anything in between.

Tea gardens may use a Turkish version of the Russian samovar, called Samever in Turkish. This urn is larger than the typical aydanlik, allowing customers to refill their glasses easily and as often as they like.

Turkish Rize tea is served in traditional tulip-shaped glasses, not cups. It is drunk without milk and often sweetened with sugar.

The glasses are placed on decorative saucers, and show off the beautiful reddish color of the tea.

You can Buy Turkish Rize Tea

Turkish style loose leaf black tea grown without the use of any pesticides.

This is loose leaf tea, so you also need a special teapot to make it.

What you Need to Make Turkish Tea

Here are some of the things you need (apart from the tea!) to make Turkish tea. Note there are special Turkish teapots (Caydanlik), glasses, and saucers.

Turkish Tea-kettle


Turkish tea is best made using a Turkish double tea kettle, or Samover. Both these kettles are made of stainless steel, and of course are stackable.




Turkish tea is always served in special glasses. They are usually quite tall, shaped, and often have gold trim.

They always look good!



The glasses sit on saucers. Not just any saucers, special ones that are decorated to match the glasses.

Like these lovely patterned saucers for the tea glasses. This traditional style set has gold to match the gold trim on the glasses and gorgeous red to bring out the red of the tea.

Glass of Turkish tea
Glass of Turkish tea

Turkish Tea Gardens


Turkey has many Cay Bahcesi or "tea gardens" where friends, families or business colleagues often meet in a relaxed but energetic atmosphere. In fact, almost any park or public place has tables where tea is served in the "garden."

Places with beautiful views, such as the Ortakoy district of Istanbul overlooking the Bosphoros and the famous mosque, always have several tea gardens. People often play cards or games like backgammon - in some places you can rent a board - while drinking their tea, all with a delightful view of the Bosphoros.

Ortaköy Mosque, Istambul
Ortaköy Mosque, Istambul

As a Muslim country, Turkish social life does not include the consumption of alcohol. Thus, beverages such as tea and coffee are very important for social occasions. Today, Turkish Rize tea is an integral part of Turkish culture, served on all social gatherings from business meetings to weddings, as well as always being offered to friends and colleagues at work or at home.

In Turkish tea gardens children are welcome and are often found running around playing, while young people and businessmen are often involved in lively discussions. So Turkish Rize tea plays an important role in the community, and unlike the bars and pubs of the West which serve alcohol, although the customers get very animated they do not get drunk and disorderly. In fact, such tea gardens are good places for the whole family. Sounds great to me!

What do you think of Turkish Rize Tea?

More about Turkish Rize Tea on other sites

Updated: 07/15/2023, jptanabe
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jptanabe on 07/18/2017

Yes, those glasses are beautiful!

Gusen Tara on 07/18/2017

I never taste it, I am Indonesian and never come to Turkey but what amazes me much is these amazing tulip-shaped glasses. I'm so longing for it :)

jptanabe on 09/14/2015

Turkish apple tea is certainly a favorite in Turkey.

Mira on 09/14/2015

It sounds like this is rather strong black tea, which is not surprising, given that they like their coffee strong too. I'm surprised I'd never heard about this tea. When I went to Turkey we drank Turkish apple tea.
I like those glasses.

AngelaJohnson on 09/13/2015

I have never heard of it. I enjoy learning about different foods and drinks.

jptanabe on 09/12/2015

Yes, those pretty glasses can certainly be used for other beverages!

candy47 on 09/12/2015

I've never had Turkish Rize tea but I'd like to try it as I prefer tea over coffee. The glasses are so pretty, they can be used for lots of beverages too. I'm thinking...eggnog!

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