How to Brew Persian Tea

by My Persian Kitchen on December 4, 2009

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Any Persian will tell you that they love to drink Chai, pronounced Cha-ee.  Tea, in general, is what Persians drink in the morning, after each meal, and not to mention throughout the day.  Additionally, the first drink that one if offered when visiting someone else’s home is usually tea.  Iranians make tea in their own way which I will demonstrate in this post.  Personally, I see this ritual as an art.

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All you need is a nice teapot, loose tea, and a pinch of rose petals.

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I like to use a mesh tea infuser to keep the leaves from going onto the cup.  You don’t have to use one…

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Place a couple of generous pinches of loose tea and one pinch of rose petals in the teapot.

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Add boiling water.

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Cover and let steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Persians will usually place the teapot on top of the kettle st it simmers on the stove in order to keep the tea warm.

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Here comes the Persian way of pouring tea. First pour some of the hot tea into the cup to check its color. It must be somewhat dark. Then pour the tea back into the tea pot. This will do two things: 1) it will warm up the cup and 2) it moves the tea inside the teapot around so that color of the tea is even.  If the color is light, let steep for a little longer. Then fill up one third to half of the cup with tea.

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Pour hot water over it. And Voila! You have Persian tea!

Note, Persians always drink their tea in see through glass cups.  This allows the person who pours the tea determine the consistency and color of the tea. A good Persian host will always ask his or her guests how strong or light they like their tea. Some people like their tea dark and strong, while others like it on the light side.  I am a medium type of girl.  The color that you see in the picture above is how I personally like to drink my tea.

I wished I had a nice set of pretty Persian tea cups to include in these pictures.  What I am using is my mom’s favorite cup that she likes to drink her tea from when she comes to visit. Heaven forbid if she gets her tea in a mug. All hell will break loose…

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryam December 4, 2009 at 11:57 am

it was nice.
next time making tea , add some cardamom . the smell and taste is great. i sometimes make tea with cinnamon stick too , it’s known to be calming.
have a good time.

My Persian Kitchen December 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Oh my God Maryam, tea with cardamom is my favorite! That’s how I usually make my tea, but for the first post on Persian tea I wanted to showcase the brewing method with which I grew up. I LOVE throwing a cinnamon stick in my tea too along with a couple of cloves! It smells very earthy and heavenly!!! I started getting pretty creative with my tea making a couple of years ago and have found a few delicious combinations!!

Christine December 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

Interesting post.. what kind of tea is typically used? Generic ‘black’ tea or something else?

tasteofbeirut December 6, 2009 at 10:08 am

I so enjoyed this post! When I lived in Los Angeles I had a Persian friend and through him discovered the world of Persian tea and Persian cuisine in general. What an enchantment! However I did not know about the rose petals, I thought you were only supposed to get Iranian tea and add cardamom pods to it. I was also shown how to sweeten it by holding the sugar cubes between one’s teeth. Fun!

Bria @ West of Persia December 6, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I’m so glad you posted this. In fact, I was going to ask you to post about your basic tea brewing method. Personally, I’m a big fan of the cardamom addition too, with a splash of rose water on top. But your rose petals probably give it that amazing flavor without having to use the rose water.

Rosa December 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm

A few things:
–This is probably the most EXCITING blog i have ever come across in my life.
–Your photos are incredible; every meal looks nothing but delicious.
–I love chai more than anything (por-rang all the way) therefore this blog entry made me the happiest girl alive.

Damet garm/keep it up :)
PS. Your post about Iran protesters was great; it’s good to see you’re also keeping it real in the political realm. Ay val!

My Persian Kitchen December 7, 2009 at 10:52 am

Tasteofbeirut, people add different additions to tea. When in Iran I always remember seeing rose petals. It wasn’t until I came to the US that I saw tea with cardamom!

Bria, rosewater is tea sounds soo good. I have to try that!!

Rosa, thank you so much for your kind words! I am so glad you found me!!! It is a fun project and I am always happy to hear that my readers enjoy reading the blog!!! :)

Christine, you can use black tea, earl gray, or Darjeeling tea.

Aaron December 14, 2009 at 7:50 am

I am used to tea with cardamom, I am not sure if rose petals were ever used at restaurants.

I do not care particularly for rose water, is the rose flavor very prominent with the tea or no?

I’ve been waiting for the tea post, thank you. Can you recommend any brands of tea? They are all quite confusing to me, especially since I cannot read farsi.

Thank you,
Aaron

My Persian Kitchen December 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Aaron, the taste roses is much stronger if you use rose water in your tea instead of the rose petals. I personally like Sadaf’s teas, you can by them in tea bag form or loose tea. My mom says that Ahmad teas are good too. The only other brand that I have tried is Sharhzad and to be honest, I was not too fond of it.

Bev January 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm

My son and daughter took me to a Persian resturant for my birthday. I had tea with cardamon. I would love to make this at home. Should I use green pods of another kind?

My Persian Kitchen January 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Bev, you can use green cardamom. Gently crush the cardamom pod and brew with tea leaves. That’s what I usually do!

corley March 11, 2010 at 12:20 am

Do you know where I can order a traditional two stack persian teapot? My friends family gets them from Iran – the brand is called Love Sung but I cannot find it anywhere on the internet. Any ideas?

My Persian Kitchen March 11, 2010 at 10:40 am

Corley, have you tried Kalamala?

pam June 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

do you know where I can buy Sadaf special blend tea with cardamom in england

My Persian Kitchen June 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Pam, you can purchase it from Sadaf’s website.

Caroline August 1, 2010 at 5:13 am

I completely adore Persian food from all my travels in Iran, retracing the 1601 thousand km walk of Shah Abbas from Isfahan to Mashhad – and this website is great. Very practical recipes, thanks so much!
I was just pining for Persian tea – and I really like your method – but have you ever tried it with a strand or two of fresh saffron? I’ve had this in the Khorassani saffron-producing regions at harvest time, and its scrumptious. Though I might warn you that if you put too much in – well, i put lots in once, foolishly thinking that more is better – and my head spun and spun and i had to lie down for a while. But if you’re less greedy, its a delicate and surprisingly-not-all-saffron like flavour.
There must be a way of getting a email alert when you post – I’m going to look for this now!
Thanks!
Caroline

My Persian Kitchen August 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

Caroline, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I have had tea with saffron and it’s delicious. I have been mixing my own teas for the past 3-4 years and love experimenting with various flavors!

Ryvenna September 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm

My great-aunt always used to have a pot of long-steeped tea that was very dark sitting around all day. She’d pour just a small bit of it into a glass, and then add hot boiled water. Instead of rose, she’d use jasmine. I remember asking her what kind of tea it was, but she just said “Persian”. Are you familiar with this method, and/or what kind of tea this could be and where it could be bought? Her tea always came out so much more flavorful than anything I’ve made…

My Persian Kitchen September 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Ryvenna, jasmine flowers are a popular addition to Persian tea. You can find Jasmine tea at Middle Easter stores.

Nav September 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Hi. I saw in a movie the women eating sugar cube before sipping on the tea. Is that the right way to do it? Please let me know. Thanks.

My Persian Kitchen September 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Nav, Iranians will often place a sugar cube in their mouth then drink tea. The hot tea dissolves the sugar cube in their mouth. Also some slightly dunk the sugar cube in the hot tea first then put it in their mouth followed by the tea.

Anastasia December 8, 2010 at 8:06 am

Putting the sugar cube between your front teeth and then drinking the tea through the sugar is the custom. However, be warned that doing this will eventually destroy your front teeth.
My iranian friend said they also drank their tea from saucers… dont know why.

CulturalExplorer December 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Thank you sooo much for your wonderful blog! I love exploring the diverse cultures and cuisines from around the world. Recently, Persian/Iranian culture and cuisine has become the focus of my interest. I am sooo excited to have found your blog and that I can count on your authentic knowledge about Persian/Iranian heritage!

This post in particular (about tea), caught my attention because I absolutely adore tea! Ethnic teas are some of the best in the world! And I can’t wait to try your version of Persian tea!!! Thank you sooo much!

My Persian Kitchen December 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

CulturalExplorer, thank you so much for your kind comment. We love love love tea!!!

My Persian Kitchen December 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Anastasia, I have never heard of anyone’s teeth being destroyed by the simple act of holding sugar cubes between their teeth when they drink tea, well unless they never brush their teeth. The tea is poured in a saucer because it makes it cool down.

Valarie December 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

Thank you for all these wonderful ways of making the chai!! I remember bergamot with rose or jasmine blossoms in it. My favorite! Also love the cardomon and cinnamon way ( a bit more like the Indian chai, love that, too!) I’m so grateful for your site and all the wonderful ideas! I agree with the person who commented on your beautiful pictures, too. Very enticing and always delicious.

My Persian Kitchen December 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

Valarie, thank you for your kind words! I love mixing my own tea with rose petals, cardamom, and cinnamon! YUM!

Victor December 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

Great website. Thanks for this!
The way I have seen regularly Persian tea is brewing a concentrated tea (not really drinkable on its own) to be mixed with hot water when poured in the glass. In this way, one can choose how “dark” you want your tea. This is done like this in other places, such as Turkey or where I live, Kosovo, where this kind of tea is called “Russian tea”, exactly the same like Persian although drank in very small glasses and at a higher concentration than most Persians would. Some additional tips:
1) The tea must not boil ever, or it will get a burnt taste and will lose its real aroma.
2) Tea must not be warmed up in the microwave! If tea gets some kind of slight foam (and I don’t mean bubbles) on top, then the tea is spoiled.
3) If you use concentrated tea, pour hot water, never cold water.
4) I don´t know in USA, but in Europe, a very good brand appreciated by Persians is Ahmad Tea, and when not available, Twinnings is a good option. Normally, many Persians like to do their own blends, mixing kinds such as darjeeling, “English breakfast”, earl grey and orange pekoe, among others.

sue edwards January 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I have gone to a restaurant in Atlanta seVeral times called Rumi’s on Roswell rd. in Sandy Springs, GA. They have wonderful food but I love their Persian tea. They serve it in clear cups with BROWN SUGAR CUBES. It is fabulous.

Rishi January 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

Just what i was looking for….
BTW how do we get that golden color…

Cheers for Chai

Noor May 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Salam, Persian tea is my favorite. I live in Saudi Arabia and we drink black tea with mint, cardamom or habek (wild mint).

The tea everywhere taste so different from all the Persian teas I have drank. It taste much stronger and with a better taste. I remember some Persians in the states used a box that was red and white maybe Persian red tea? What kind do you use bc its not just plain black right? THanks..

Badamjoon July 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

Hahaha! Your note made me laugh so hard – I remember trying to serve my Persian mother in law her tea in a mug that was not see through – it didn’t go over to well! Same with the first time I poured her tea – I filled the whole glass up instead of adding water to the tea brew. She very politely poured it back in the pot when she thought I wasn’t looking and repoured herself a nice light glass of tea. To this day she still thinks that I like my tea really strong because of that episode.

trina July 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

i just took a persian cooking class last night which was so fun and inspiring! So today I was poking around for more recipes and found your blog. :) I currently work for a tea merchant and realized we blend a tea that sounds very similar to the variants commenter have mentioned. Ours is called bombay breakfast and is an assam black tea with rose petals and buds, cardamom, and ginger. it was really fun to find out i already have in my cupboard something right to serve with Khoresht Fesenjaan when i make it this week. Excited to try out several of your recipes here!

Chris November 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

hi, congratulations on your blog. I use the recipes as often as I can –
even though the dishes never look quite similar to your photos when I prepare them.
Concerning tea, there’s something that highly irritates me;
I’m rather new to all of this, so forgive me if I’m showing off my ignorance.
But chai is something I was only familiar with when it comes to Indian culture – up to this day. So my question is, whether there is any connection between the Indian and the Persian chai, historically or otherwise.
(As far as I know, there’s also a çay in Turkey. Has this tea anything in common with the other ones?)
I’ve asked the local tea traders already, but they seem to be equally unknowing.
So I figured, you – or all the other people roaming this blog – would be the ones to ask.
Could anyone of you answer to that question…
Pretty please??

My Persian Kitchen November 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Chris, good questions. I don’t really know as Persians and Indian enjoy their tea in different ways.

Chris November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thanks, anyway. And keep up the good work. :)

Jarod November 8, 2011 at 11:12 am

What is your recommendation to reduce the bitterness in tea?
I have tried brewing the tea bags twice, and only drink the second brew, I’d throw away the first brew. I seem to notice the second brew is less bitter.
Any thoughts?

My Persian Kitchen November 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Jarod, I find that some teas are more bitter than others. In my experience the longer tea brews the more bitter it gets. You can add sugar to your tea to counter balance the bitterness.

Adriana February 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I was wondering if you are teaching any classes in NYC?

My Persian Kitchen March 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Adriana, not at this time.

Irene June 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

Just came across your blog and I am thrilled. I love Middle Eastern food and am becoming interested in Iranian food. I have several Iranian friends on Facebook and it’s inspiring to hear about their food. I love rosewater and the idea of putting some in tea is something I have to try. I drink lots of tea, with cardamon and hot milk, but now I’ll be trying it with cinnamon sticks and cloves as well as rosewater. I love the pictures you are posting. Thanks for a wonderful blog.

Connie July 18, 2012 at 5:54 am

I came across your blog today while I was looking up Persian Basil. Very nice blog I will bookmark it so I can come and visit :) Please keep posting !!!

Arthur October 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Thank you for this blog.
i was introduced to Persian food and culture while studying Farsi and their tea (and chelo kebab) was my favorite. I am preparing a cultural awareness course on Iran for some young American children and this blog will be a great asset. Again Thank you.

Mejmama March 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

What wonderful pictures you have included with your recipes and preparation methods. I am off to make a cup of tea right now. And then we are going to the nursery to look for hyacinth and tulips for the new year.

Erin Yazdani April 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks for the post. My new husbands father is from Iran and as a Baha’i I have grown up around many Iranians. The next time my father in law comes over I can offer him Persian style tea. I have mastered Abgoosht and am looking for a new persian recipe to try. To bad you don’t do those cooking classes in Canada.

Ann June 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm

This is typical eastern way of drinking tea. In Kazakhstan we also call it CHAI. People usually ask their guest if they like strong, dark or light chai. Welcome Kazakhstan and drink Chai!

molouk July 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I enjoyed reading your blog. thanks.

ebi August 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

If you would like to bring persian tea drinking to the next level, make it on the camp fire.

Daila March 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

love this blog

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