These cups are everywhere in Turkey, and usually accompanied either by a big bowl of sugar, or two cubes of it on the side. It’s really quite a nice way to get a little tea in the middle of the day – that caffeine hit you need for those of us who don’t imbibe that other drink.
This particular place was in the middle of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. It’s a tiny corner rented out to these tea purveyors
Interestingly enough, there is something vaguely similar between this and the way they make tea in Hong Kong. The pots you see up top are full of concentrated tea – tea brewed very, very strong. Then, when it’s time to serve, they dilute it with water from the spigots. Three old men take care of the station and do some short deliveries, and some younger men are there for the somewhat further shops. I suspect each of these stalls have their own “region” in the bazaar – since it’s quite large – and serve their local area. The tea never comes with any milk or cream, just sugar. One cup costs a lira each (about 50 cents USD) and it’s drunk fairly quickly – the cup is small.
The best part of this is, it’s on demand.
Throughout the bazaar are these men carrying the dishes – delivering tea (and other drinks, but tea mostly) to the various shopkeepers. There’s also food that gets sent too, and interestingly, I didn’t see much coffee sent around. Maybe coffee isn’t drunk in this sort of setting? None of the deliveries involve any sort of throwaway boxes or cups – they are all reusable, glasses or dishes. It’s quite environmental. I wish Hong Kong still does that. There’s an old world charm about this, and it’s on full display here in this historic city.