Azerbaijani tea culture
Tea in Azerbaijan is served freshly brewed, hot and strong. It typically has a bright colour and is served in crystal or any other glasses or cups. Azerbaijanis often use traditional armudu (pear-shaped) glass. Tea is served continuously when there are guests or when there is an interesting conversation. For Azerbaijanis tea with milk or with sugar (sweet tea) is uncommon (according to a common belief, drinking tea with lump sugar instead of sand sugar comes from the medieval period, when rulers who were afraid of being poisoned checked their tea by dunking a piece of sugar in a beverage – it was believed that the poison would react to the sugar). Traditional tea is served with lemon, cube sugar, sweets and fruit desserts (not jam). Sometimes thyme, mint or rose water is added, which is believed to be good for the stomach and heart.
Azerbaijani people may drink tea in traditional tea houses called chaykhana. Men sit in a chaykhana, playing backgammon (nard), reading newspapers and drinking tea. Historically, Azeri women did not go to public places, so chaykhana used to be a place for men.
Tea in Azerbaijan is also served during matchmaking. After the negotiations by matchmakers are complete, the maid will bring out tea. If the tea is served without sugar, that is a sign that the chances for marriage agreement are very low; conversely, if tea is served with sugar, it means that there will be a wedding.
Azerbaijanis say about tea “Çay nədir, say nədir” which can be translated as “when you drink tea, the cup count doesn't matter” and means that tea is something almost “sacred” in Azerbaijan.
- "Chaihana: culture in action". Aze.info. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- Africa, Asia, and Oceania: Culturegrams 2002. Page 19
Visiting relatives or friends is popular, and hospitality is part of the culture. Friends and family visit without prior notice. Guests often are invited for a meal or for tea. Tea is a friendly midafternoon affair that includes pastries, fruit deserts, fruit, candy and tea:
- Azerbaijan. David C. King
- The Azerbaijani Turks: power and identity under Russian rule. Audrey L. Altstadt