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Çay, the beautiful tea

Note to reader: Details in the story may or may not be exaggerated. Read at your own discretion

In Turkey, I drink çay tea everyday. Usually like 3-4 glasses a day. A çay a day keeps the doctor away, right?! Anyways, the history of çay in Turkey dates back very long and has a sophisticated relationship with the nation’s important historical events. An old man explained to me its origins at a tea house near Taksim Square.


As many of you know, Turkey was located on the silk road, a crucial trade path between Europe and the far East. Because of this, Turkey was exposed to a lot of merchants transporting various goods across the nation. One of the merchants who traversed this perilous terrain was Farco Yolo, the younger sibling of his more well-known brother. Because of his brother’s success, Yolo always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. At home, he would overcompensate by wearing expensive robes and driving around fancy carriages, courting women who were only interested in his family’s wealth, not his insecure personality. Yolo hired artists to paint him with these women, and he would post these paintings on the town square, despite absolutely no one caring.


So in a vain effort to usurp his brother as the most successful man in the family, Yolo embarked for the far East with an ill-conceived plan to establish improved relations with China. He was always a rather spontaneous man, one with a tendency to make rash and immature decisions justified by the blatantly foolish logic that he only has one life to experience.


However, in Turkey, the cracks in his plan began to show. Because of the Anatolian heat, his horses all died. Yolo was forced to trek along the road, dragging along the goods he was planning to bring to China. At one point, he had to lighten his bag, and so he stupidly threw out a light bag of red tea leaves.


Yolo would not make it to China. Shortly after, his parents picked him up in a private camel.


Anyways, the red tea leaves were picked up by the local Turkish villagers, perplexed by this foreign substance. Being Turkish, they tried to smoke it at first, but its effects were not soothing or pleasant. However, the leaves would make a “chhaii”sound when they burned, which led to the origin of its name. Later, they found that boiling it and drinking the hot soup delivered a tasty beverage. It was then that çay in Turkey was officially conceived. Here, centuries later, people like myself come from all over the world to Turkey and enjoy a refreshing glass of this delicacy.

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