More Focus on Tea Producing Regions, and Turkey in Particular

One of my key goals and missions from the very beginning of my work on RateTea has been to draw greater attention to the different regions in which tea is produced, and, paired with this, to draw attention to single-origin teas and single-estate teas.  RateTea has had a series of articles on the different regions that grow tea for a long time, and the database of teas has been indexed by (and searchable/browsable by) regions as detailed as individual counties in China, when this information is available from the manufacturer.  But I’ve wanted to continue working on this part of the site, because I think it hasn’t gotten the level of focus as the articles on styles of tea have.

Recently I started going back through and further improving the pages on individual tea-growing regions.  I’ve included a bunch more images, including images that highlight tea culture as well as tea farms and plantations.  I also highlighted the region section of the site on RateTea’s homepage, making the most common regions accessible from the homepage in a single click, and also showing a list of the most recently updated region articles.

I want to highlight one of the articles, that is, the article on Turkey:

Screenshot of RateTea's article on Turkey
RateTea’s newly expanded article on Turkey and Turkish teas.

Turkey is a region that is infrequently discussed in the tea world.  I knew little about it as a tea producer, for some time, and it took significantly more digging to uncover thorough information about it, relative to other countries.  Why do I think Turkey is so interesting as a tea producing region?  I want to throw out a few reasons I find it interesting:

  • Turkey is one of the top producers of tea globally; by total amount they hover around the top 5 spot, although in one year, 2008 they produced nearly as much as China or India!  This is incredible given that all of their tea is produced in a tiny region of the country.
  • The region of Turkey that produces tea is only able to do so through a bizarre quirk of geography and climate, producing an unusually wet region in a mostly semi-arid country.
  • There are some interesting economics of Turkey’s tea industry, including a very steep tariff and a black market for tea smuggling.
  • Single-origin Turkish tea is widely available in the U.S. in Turkish and Middle Eastern stores, and the tea is very inexpensive and, although not organic certified, it is grown without pesticides.  I’ve found it pleasant and mild tasting; certainly not the most complex or interesting tea, but different and quite good for how cheap it is.

How about you?

  • Have you ever tried tea produced in Turkey?  If so, what did you think of it?
  • Are you as fascinated by climate and geography as I am?
  • How much of the contents of RateTea’s article on Turkey is new to you?  Are things like the tariff, Turkey’s global prominence as a tea producer, and the peculiar climate around Rize things that you are already familiar with, or are these new, unfamiliar ideas?