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The best places to drink tea in Istanbul

We list the top places where you can enjoy a simmering pot brewed down to a tee

By Ediz Pekinli

Turkey has the highest per capita tea consumption in the world, so it's high time that you broadened your horizons and discovered new brews. Here's where to start:

The top five

Melez Tea Lab

Restaurants Cafés Sarıyer

Opened last September, this “laboratory” is perhaps the best place to get acquainted with artisanal tea brand Melez Tea, best known for creating different blends to suit different moods. Tea Sommelier Liliana Aslanoba and her partner Emre Aslanoba describe Melez Tea Lab as a “multi-sensory tea experience.” Instead of just relying on their website to pick your teas and tisanes, you can see, smell and taste them as well as participating in various tea-related workshops hosted here.

Chado Tea Shop

Restaurants Cafés Arnavutköy

You might’ve seen Chado teas offered at many popular eateries around town from Zuma to Kavanoz, but did you know the brand also has its own shop? Located on a side street in Arnavutköy, Chado Tea Shop offers dozens of green, black and white teas as well as many options for those seeking Chinese pu-erh or oolong teas. Those who simply can’t give up their practical tea bags will want to check out Chado’s all-natural muslin tea bags packed with the highest-quality loose-leaf tea.


Dem Karaköy

Restaurants Cafés Karaköy

In addition to white, green, oolong, black, smoked, and fermented teas, Dem features a varied menu including red tea and herbal teas; a menu catering to every palate. For those who find it hard to make a decision among the 60 teas available, partaking in the ‘tea smelling’ sessions can help. The tea varieties are brought to your table and after smelling them and getting information about them you can pick the one you like the most.


Restaurants Moda

Named after the Japanese word for “tea house,” Cha’ya recently opened its second branch in Moda after the success of its original location in Galata. The shop offers nearly 60 teas as well as authentic teapots, mugs and teacups – we particularly recommend it to those who are in the market for a cast-iron teapot. At Cha’ya, you’ll find a wide variety, from traditional Turkish tea made with a blend of leaves from Arhavi and Tirebolu to an aromatic and fruity Lychee Black from China.


5 Tea & Coffee Time

Restaurants Teşvikiye

For Nişantaşı residents, five o’clock means teatime! Opened last September, 5 Tea & Coffee Time serves a variety of teas alongside open-buffet snacks every day from 16.00 to 20.00. You’ll find 25 types of loose-leaf and 20 types of bagged teas by premium tea brand Ronnefeldt. The shop’s owners especially recommend the Smoked China, which carries the smoky flavor of resinous pinewood, and the Milky Oolong, which are handpicked tea leaves infused with the aroma of steamed milk.


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