Iranian Tea

“In Iran Tea is one of the most important traditions that exist. In fact, it is actually our national drink. It is also tradition to drink tea after prayer, along with your family, I’m not really sure why… I guess it’s to elongate the moment of prayer and to add more meaningfulness to it.

We drink tea without milk, because the color of the tea is very important. In fact it’s only served in glass so that the color can be appreciated. The usual custom is to serve a cup of tea, with 3 sugars, and a teaspoon. Also the fragrance is important, because the whole tea experience is important taste, smell, and sight are all taken into consideration. It makes tea quite beautiful actually.

It’s amazing how important tea is in Iran. One must always offer a visitor tea as soon as they step into your house. Oh and it must be served hot, otherwise you are disrespecting your guests and simply embarrassing yourself. I guess I don’t really embrace any side of my nationality specifically, but I know that it’s one of the rare traditions my dad still keeps now that he’s in America, so knowing how meaningful it is to him makes it meaningful to me”

Anais has explained to me that she remembers being explained the importance of tea at a very young age, but she is not sure when exactly. As a young girl she learned to love tea, and can’t see it as not being a part of her life, especially when guests are around. Looking back I realize at the importance tea has for my roommate. Whenever she would make tea she would always insist I try some, since I’m not a fan of tea. She would also, let me smell different tea bags in order for me to decide which flavor I’d like to try. I still do not like tea very much, but it was really but it was really interesting to try all the flavors and now I understand why she insisted.

Until Anais shared with me the Iranian tea tradition, I was only aware of the importance of tea tradition in England, and in Japan, which involves completely different customs.

I was surprised to notice the sanctity of tea in Iran and it crossed my mind the importance of tea is due in part of British influence in the past. I think it is a beautiful tradition and the importance is perhaps more in the occasions where tea is used rather than the tea itself. It is, as mentioned before, used when guests arrive and during times of prayer. It seems to me then that tea is a way to show respect both towards God and towards guests. The appreciation of fragrance and taste as well as the looks of the tea perhaps point towards appreciating the little details that surround a person, seeing beauty in everything. I also noticed that unlike the English tea and the Japanese one, the Iranian tea is a very sweet one, and this I tend to relate to the Mediterranean preference of sweet teas. Overall, in my mind, it is also a symbol for the more “warm hearted” and community-oriented aspect of this nation’s nature, in comparison to the English and the Japanese ones.