Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Unknown Azerbaijan...Tea...

If you ask me what tea means in Azerbaijan I will just reply with our proverb which says “Çay nədir, say nədir” which can be translated as “when you drink tea, you don’t count the cups” and means that tea is something almost “sacred” in Azerbaijan…or should I simply say…there is a strong tea culture….

Tea ceremony in Azerbaijan means freshly brewed, strong, bright-colour, hot tea served in crystal or any other glasses or cups (I will do a separate post on traditional glass “armudu stəkan” i.e. “pear shaped glass”). Tea is served continuously when there are guests or when there is an interesting conversation…when we are bored or not bored, happy or sad…Tea with milk or with sugar (sweet tea) is not traditional…Traditional tea is served with lemon, cube sugar, sweets and “mürəbbə”. The word “mürəbbə” doesn’t have a direct translation because if I write jam you would imagine something a bit different. “Mürəbbə” is thinner and you would eat it quite differently to how we eat jam but I will write about this separately in future :)

I always say that with good statistical information I think Azerbaijan would beat all the records in world’s tea consumption per capita but I am afraid there is no this kind of data currently. Another proof: the word “çayxana” means place/café where people drink tea, this culture is as old and strong in Azerbaijan as pubs in Britain…when visitors come to Azerbaijan for the first time and see men sitting in a café, playing backgammon and drinking something they are amazed to see that those men are actually drinking…tea…what visitors do not know is that the place they see is actually “çayxana”. Historically women were not going to public places so “çayxana” used to be a place for men...nowadays young generation thinks that “çayxana” sounds ancient and not very refined and friendly so these cafes are mainly called as “çay evi” i.e. tea house.

Tea is associated with warmth, hospitality and friendliness therefore traditon says that one should not allow the guest leave the house without at least one cup of tea...for the beginning ;)...

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8 comments:

Bill B. said...

Very interesting. I am always amazed by how much I can learn by going thru the Daily Photo Blogs.

Best Wishes,

farida said...

Ayten, cox gozel yazidir. Ureyim Azerbaycandaki cay sufreleri ucun ele darixib ki. Burda ne qeder elesem o atmosferi yarada bilmirem. Bezi seyler var ki, oz yerinde daha gozeldir, bunlardan biri de bizim cay sufrelerimiz. I enjoyed reading your post a lot. I am so proud of you and looking forward to meeting with you in summer, hopefully, and maybe in cay evi:) Hugs.

Jan said...

Ayten: Your site makes me want to learn as much as possible about Azerbaijan! Does your country drink more tea/less coffee than Georgia and Armenia? Where is your tea growing region? Do you also grow coffee?

Forgive if you've mentioned this before, I"m new to your blog and to the daily photo community. Now that I've started one, I'm trying to read as many of them as possible.

Jan

GDP
www.greensborodailyphoto.com

Jenn said...

I am always surprised when I go to the local market just how many different varieties of tea are there. Tea is serious business here and now I've become accustomed to drinking at least a cup or two myself each day, and that is the first thing I offer to my guests, over coffee or any other beverage. It's funny how you pick up the habits of the country you are living in.

Joseph Sherman said...

Amazing. Thank you.

geoffarm said...

Ayten: I look forward to your post on Tea Glass especially armudu stəkan.

I was in Baku last week (for the first time) and discovered the joys of AzerCay and Cherries. So much so that I went on the hunt for a set of armudu stəkan, which I found in a small supermarket, unfortunately they are very plain and did not come with saucers.

Watching with interest.

Anonymous said...

Once you taste Azerbaijan tea, it is forever.
My personal experience: 4 years in Baku. I can certify it. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Nice dishes!