Short wooden tables adorned with traditional Ottoman motif textiles. Local men enjoying a steaming glass of çay sitting on stout cushioned stools no taller than your calf. The aroma of fresh türk kahvesi being brought to a simmer. This is what Turkey is all about. When looking for the best Turkish tea in Istanbul, you’ll find it at Huzur Çay Evi..
You can’t go far in Turkey without stumbling upon someone having a çay, a strong black Turkish tea sweetened with sugar. Whether it’s a shop keeper standing outside awaiting their next customer, locals on a few makeshift stools on the side of the road, or someone carrying a tray full of them to who knows where as they bustle down the street. Çay is a part of Turkish culture.
Tucked away in Beyoğlu
One of our favourite places to stop into after a long day of eating and exploring Istanbul was at a quaint little local Çay Evi, or teahouse, on the corner of Kurdela Sokak and Ömer Hayyam Caddesi. A mere five minutes’ walk from the popular Istiklal Caddesi, Huzur Çay Evi is exactly the place we always needed after a long day to enjoy the best Turkish tea in Istanbul.
It’s got the absolute perfect location, right on the side of a busy street. The best place for watching the world go by, day or night. Being a local shop in a more local area, you’re able to experience the comings and goings of a local Istanbul neighbourhood. Be it the traffic, the people, or the Sunday market across the street, this is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle around you.
What to order
As there isn’t a proper menu as such, it’s good to know what’s on offer. At many of the teahouses in Turkey, you’ll have the option of tea or coffee. At Huzur Çay Evi you can order a çay (pronounced chai) or a türk kahvesi (which is a Turkish coffee of considerable strength).
What is a Turkish tea
The çay in Turkey is quite strong. It’s a black tea that’s made so strong, they only fill your cup a third of the way with the brew, then fill the rest with boiling water. This gives you the perfect strength tea, that’s still so strong you’ll need a little something to take away the bitterness.
How to drink Turkish tea
Turkish tea in general is drank black without milk, so you won’t be seeing that anywhere nearby. At Huzur Çay Evi they have the best Turkish tea in Istanbul, strong and full of flavour. In order to cut the strength of the tea, it’s drank with sugar, lots of sugar. There’s always a bowl full of sugar cubes on the table at Huzur Çay Evi, so you can add in as many or as little as you like. The local way is to go for two cubes, we prefer one so it’s not too overly sweet, but to each their own!
Honorable mention, Turkish coffee
The türk kahvesi coffee is your other menu option. The coffee grounds are boiled with hot water to brew the coffee, and are served to you in the cup with the coffee. Make sure you give the grounds a minute or two to settle to the bottom of the cup before drinking! Before your coffee is made, you’ll be asked how much sugar you’d like. This is so you don’t try and add the sugar afterwards and mix it up with all the grounds. A little sugar means one cube, regular sugar means two.
The incredible hospitality at Huzur Çay Evi
What kept us going back almost every day wasn’t just the strong tea and rich coffee. It was the incredibly friendly owners of this humble local shop. Over the three weeks we stayed in the Beyoğlu area of Istanbul, we got to know Dilaver and Seher, the warm and hospitable husband and wife running the place.
Whether we stopped in for a çay or not, every day we passed by we were greeted with smiles and a wave, an even bigger one when we stopped in. Each day we headed back to our accommodation, we looked forward to seeing their kind, beaming faces.
Even though none of us spoke each other’s language, it was easy to communicate with such good-natured and heartwarming people. That’s something we love about travelling to other countries, communicating with people through other means than words. It’s amazing what you can get across through the use of body language and accentuated facial expressions!
A connection beyond your typical customer relationship
The last few visits we had at Huzur Çay Evi, Seher sat down with us as we all enjoyed the hot, sweet çay that Dilaver had made. Sitting and chatting unreservedly with Seher was a pleasure. She told us about her life, how they came about the shop, and how she’d worked there for many years before they bought it for themselves. Her kind heart was so evident that as I looked into her eyes, I could feel the emotion in her stories. I feel like we sparked up a true connection that went deeper than someone who was serving drinks to a customer.
By the time we had to leave Istanbul, I was very sad to go and say goodbye after making such an intimate connection with this woman that I had only briefly known, yet felt like I had known much longer. When the day came for us to say farewell, we embraced for many moments, with a silent knowing of the bond we had formed during the past few weeks.
What started off as a local place to stop by for a hot drink, ended up creating some of our most memorable moments in Istanbul. The strong aroma of coffee and traditional stools set up on the side of the busy street brought us into Huzur Çay Evi. But it was the friendly, warm, smiling faces of Dilaver and Seher that had us coming back over and over again to warm up on their fresh çay and rich türk kahvesi.
Make sure you visit for the best Turkish tea in Istanbul
If you find yourself in the Beyoğlu area of Istanbul, or along Istiklal Caddesi, make sure to stop by Huzur Çay Evi for some of the best Turkish tea in Istanbul. Whether it’s a glass of their delicious çay or a cup of their robust türk kahvesi, you will not be disappointed.
Don’t forget to take a moment to meet Dilaver and Seher while you’re there. You can’t miss their friendly, smiling faces, most likely beckoning you into their teashop, so we’re fairly sure you’ll know who they are.
Name: Huzur Çay Evi
Address: Kalyoncu Kulluğu, Ömer Hayyam Cd., 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Price: çay 3TL, türk kahvesi 6TL