Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tea Culture

On a recent trip, I had an opportunity to meet a fantastic group of girls. During our time together, the girls took turns asking me questions, one such question being, “What do you like about Azerbaijan and why?” My immediate response was, “The tea culture.”

Unlike Americans, Azerbaijanis drink tea like it is going out of style. You would be hard pressed to find a house that didn’t have a tea kettle boiling away 24/7 (personally, I do not think such an Azerbaijani house exists).

Yet, it’s not the constant supply of tea that makes Az a tea culture. No, it’s what tea represents: hospitality.

Any visitor to Az’s rayons will attest that the moment you step inside a local’s home, a cup of tea is surely on its way. No matter what your purpose or how long your visit, tea precedes (and often follows) any conversation, meal, business matter or gathering.

I think it is fantastic. How many times have you invited a random stranger into your home for a cup of tea and a fun first conversation? It never occurred to me, but now, I can’t wait to start a tea culture of my own back home