Tea is one of the most popular hot drinks in Iran. We Iranians have one of the highest tea consumption per capita. In the past, tea had been so popular that there was a tea-house in each street. This drink is obtained from the harvest of certain plants in the north of the country. And Iranian agriculturists prepare Iranian tea in different ways. This hot drink is so popular among us that there are thousands of ways of drinking, making, and serving it. In fact, this diversity is so great that we need to talk about the tea culture and its place among Iranians in a different text. Tea and Its Types in Iran
Tea with Different Flavors
We mix tea with many flavoring crops and spices. For example, we mix and then brew tea with cardamom, saffron, dried sour lemon, or cinnamon. The popularity of flavored tea has grown in Iran so much. As a result, in recent years, different tea brands have mixed tea even with fruits and marketed them. Some popular fruit flavored tea’s tastes are strawberry, quince, apple, or even orange. Tea and Its Types in Iran
The History of Tea in Iran
Coffee had been the most widely consumed drink in Iran before 15th century AD. Since most of the countries used to produce coffee were far from Iran and importing coffee to Iran was very difficult, the tea gradually entered the list of Iranian drinks. Tea and Its Types in Iran
Anyway, the first attempts to cultivate this plant dates back to 1882. The Iranians planted and harvested tea for the first time in 1899 in Mazandaran. In 1934, the first modern tea factory was built. There are currently 107 factories and 32000 hectares of tea farm in the northern part of Iran. Therefore, the north of the country where has a suitable climate for cultivating tea is known as “the tea land of the country”.
Properties of Iranian Tea
As tea is popular among the Iranians, its import from various countries is widespread. Thus, different kinds of foreign teas are traded in our country. Important point about preparing Iranian tea is the time required for brewing which is much more than foreign tea. Besides, foreign teas produce darker and stronger drinks. As a result, many Iranians prefer to consume foreign tea. However, everybody consider Iranian tea healthier and tastier than other types of tea.
In addition, the way of serving tea is very important in Iran. In our country, a good tea should be hot in the first place. Secondly, it should be medium and of pretty color; in other words, it shouldn’t be either too light or too strong. Cups in which tea is served are also very important. Serving tea in disposable containers is only acceptable in cases where there is no other way. For example, where vendors sell tea, serving tea in paper cup is okay. But there is no coffee shop or restaurant in Iran serving tea this way. They are all used to serve tea in the most gorgeous dishes they have.
Another important thing about good tea is how to make it. That is, tea bags are the worst of all teas while the best one is a tea well-heated and well-brewed. How we make our tea is so important that we are even obsessed with the material of teapot. Consequently, we choose it scrupulously. Iranians, for example, believe that tea made in the china (porcelain) teapot tastes better. Or, for instance in our view, tea made on charcoal or firewood tastes much better than tea brewed on oven!
How Do We Serve Iranian Tea?
The last and most important part of serving tea is something to have with tea. Most Iranians like pastries. Tea, on the other hand, has a cold nature and a bitter taste. So, we have been trying to balance the flavor and the taste of this drink for ourselves by having pastries with. In the past, sugar cube was the only thing with the tea. But since the past 15 years and with the increase in diabetes in the country, the rate of sugar consumption has dropped.
In fact, Iranians have tried to consume more natural pastries like dried white mulberry, date, or sugar-free biscuits with tea. Nevertheless, having pastry and candy with tea is still popular among Iranians. Apart from the pastries available in the confectioneries, we consume different types of Gaz, Sohan, rock candy, and Poolaki with tea.