Tea on the shore of Black Sea

Posted in Country : Turkey by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , , , ,

I’m writing from the Black Sea. I’m in Rize, on the Turkish coast, not far from the Georgian border. Here, the mountains falling into the sea are incredibly green and I wouldn’t surprise you if I told you that they are covered with tea.

Turkey discovered tea at the end of the Ottoman Empire precisely because of the loss of the Yemen region where famous coffee is produced. So they had to fall back on the camellia, grown in hilly and damp areas. That’s how the whole country began drinking tea, served very strongly and in nice tulip-shaped glasses here. Sometimes they resort to using samovars and diluting the tea, still very black, with very hot water.

Tea is king in Turkey. They drink it at anytime of the day or the night, sip it, put it back on the saucer, take it again straight away and chat while burning hands. But is it really good tea?

That’s exactly the aim of my trip: finding in these mountains someone who produces quality tea according to the rule book, only by plucking the best leaves and watching not to break them. From this point of view, I have to admit that my trip isn’t successful. I have met extremely nice people who’d do anything to show me their tea garden or tea factory. But not good tea. While going on with my searches, I leave you with this green and ochre-coloured harmony.

4 Comments by “Tea on the shore of Black Sea”

  • I guess you did not have the chance to visit the regions where organic black and green tea produced. These teas are plucked and carried with a premium care. I hope you have the chance to visit these regions and taste the teas in the future.

  • Dear Fatih, I’ll be back near Rize for sure so next time if you wish I can visit organic farmers you know. Thanks and all the best.

  • Great to come across this blog, fascinating to see all the tea growing regions, your pictures are lovely. Turkey is often overlooked when it comes to tea, I guess they don’t export much, but the çay there is wonderful. I will have to make a trip to Rize when next there. Thanks!

  • Hello Kitty ! I’m sure you’ll love Rize. Enjoy your trip and thanks for your comment.

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The author

François-Xavier Delmas is a passionate globetrotter. He’s been touring the world’s tea plantations for more than 20 years in search of the finest teas. As the founder of Le Palais des Thés, he believes that travelling is all about discovering world cultures. From Darjeeling to Shizuoka, from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle, he invites you to follow his trips as well as share his experiences and emotions.

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