Iranians have always loved their tea and I love their tea too. Mostly it is brewed from a mild, non-aromatic long-leaved loose tea with T-bags only being used for convenience on picnics and when travelling .
Iranian or Persian tea is brewed for breakfast, at mid-morning, before and after lunch and dinner and at all hours in between! In fact we always have a pot of tea keeping warm over the kettle (in Iran) or over a tea-light warmer when in the UK (see photo above). Persian tea is drunk black and traditionally served in “Estekaans” which are small, see-through glass cups.
Being a mild tea means that you can experiment with different flavours to suit your taste and common Persian additions include rose petals or rosewater and cardamom. I was given a packet of pods to bring back to the UK on my recent visit to Iran and I love the tangy taste not just in tea but in the Iranian sweet Sohan, made in Esfahan.
Sohan is a traditional Iranian toffee flavoured with saffron and cardamom and covered in slivers of almond and pistachio nuts. I would have shown you a photo of the box of Sohan I brought back with me last week but I’ve eaten it :(
Different types of sugar cubes are also served with the tea, and my two favourites are Nabat and Pulaki. I prefer plain Pulaki, thin slivers of crystallised sugar, to the variety made with sesame seeds but it is a personal choice and you will usually be offered a variety of sweeteners to choose from. You can add the sugar to your tea, as in Chai Nabat, or sip your tea through the sugar in your mouth. Alternatively, you can drink your tea without but that’s not nearly as much fun!