Culture of Çay (tea), a symbol of identity, hospitality and social interaction

Tea culture in Azerbaijan and Türkiye is an important social practice that shows hospitality, builds and maintains social ties, and is used to celebrate important moments in the lives of communities. Although there are several types of tea and brewing techniques, communities in both countries primarily harvest and consume black tea. Communities brew tea by using a wide variety of kettles, produced using traditional craftsmanship. The drink is served freshly-brewed and hot, in pear-shaped cups made from glass, porcelain, faience or silver. It is typically accompanied by sweets, sugar, lemon slices, jams and dried fruits. In certain regions of Azerbaijan, some communities also add local spices and herbs to the tea, such as cinnamon, ginger and thyme. Tea culture is an essential part of daily life for all layers of society, providing a strong sense of cultural identity. The bearers include tea farmers and harvesters, tearoom owners, tea makers, and the artisans who make the associated tools, utensils and sweets.

At the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, from November 28 – December 3, 2022, Culture of Çay, a symbol of identity, hospitality and social interaction was included on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Azerbaijan and Türkiye joined the nomination.