Azerbaijan is Tea Country
Okay, so yeah, the title is rather obvious. Azerbaijan drinks tea. Not just the people, but I think if we queried the flora and fauna of the region, we would find them also imbibing gallons of tea. In Lənkəran, we even have our own brand of tea, Azerçay. When I went to buy tea the other day, I asked what kind of tea was overflowing the large box in front of me. The man proudly straightened up and announced to the entire store that it was “Xəzər Lənkəran çayı.” Tea from Lənkəran.
A few thoughts have been tickling my curiosity about tea. First, we know that tea is the popular drink not only of Azerbaijan, but also in China, Japan, India, Russia and many others. As you pass through many countries in central Asia, I’m sure it is similar. England is also a tea-drinking population. What I would really like to see is a map that shows where tea is more popular than coffee and vice-versa, much like this map of Europe concerning vodka, beer, and wine consumption. I’ve also asked around and found out from various sources that just in the neighborhood here, Georgia is actually more of a tea country, as well as Turkey. I was somewhat surprised by Turkey, since their Turkish coffee is so popular both in Georgia and America, and certainly in other countries. Asking a fellow PCV about Armenia, he informed me that our fellow South Caucasians are actually coffee drinkers. No idea why that might be.
Talking with another friend in Baku, he told me that the reason tea is so popular here is that coffee is seen as a luxury good. It certainly is more expensive here, and the need to grind coffee and have special apparatuses makes coffee brewing a bit more cumbersome. Tea is a lot simpler. Also factoring in might be that tea can be a rather low-caffeine drink, whereas coffee is a little more heavily caffeinated. I think it would get a little intense to go from drinking eight cups of low-caffeine tea each day to eight cups of coffee each day. People here are certainly aware of this, since any time someone needs to stay up late, instant coffee is bound to be on offer. And coffee just doesn’t taste good when it’s too watered-down.
The last thing I’ll say about this is that it seems as though Azerbaijan would be primed for coffee production. We know they have the climes for it, since they have the climate for nearly anything. And shipping coffee to America would be a great export opportunity. Starbucks already has coffee from unpronounceable countries, why not add Azerbaijan to that list?
Have any thoughts on why countries might opt for tea instead of coffee, or vice-versa? And if anyone has any more information on specific countries and their hot-drink preferences, I’d be glad to hear about it. Maybe I’ll make my own map of Coffee vs. Tea, since I have yet to find one.