Five Delicious Ways to Enjoy Iran … It All Starts with TCHOY

TCHOY BOKHOREEM? Shah is asking me, probably the third time today. Will we drink tea? Oh yes, we will drink tea.

I have drank tea all my life. First of all it was the Momma’s fruit tea for breakfast, and Momma’s disgusting onion tea when I was sick, then came the Chai experience in the USA. The Egyptians thought me to drink it with milk, something that I had only before seen Mr. Bean doing in one of the episodes. The Jordanians showed me how to enjoy it with cardamom and in Syria we drank it with loads, loads of sugar. It was the preparation for Algeria, where the green tea is so strong you don’t even care they poured half a kilo of sugar in it …. And then I came to Iran, and this is what I found out:

Iranian tea is … velvety. It has a very unique aftertaste that is neither bitter, no sweet, nor even tasting after tea. It is pure velvet, something soft and soothing on the tip of the tongue.

Iranian tea is … a ritual.  Do you really want just a tea, without the service? He asked me in one of the Tehran restaurants. It is a very savage-like thing to drink it apart from taking fruits and qalyan along with it? I almost think so. That’s why I love to enjoy the after-meal experience with another person, preferably a male that smokes the qalyan while I enjoy my tea with fruits. And the karamelized sugar, of course.

Iranian tea is … a medicine. It cures fatigue, it cures relationships and provides a way out of problems. Or so it seems, especially on a Friday afternoon, in the parks and green areas of Tehran, Esfahan or Shiraz. Would Iranians be able to live without their “TCHOY”? I doubt it. And coffee won’t do it, that’s for sure.

I love the tea stops along the road while travelling, I love the fact that the tea kettle is part of the car equipment. Hot tea on a hot day, that’s the way to go. While all the Arab countries are into the tea, Iranians live their tea love out.


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