The History of Tea in Iran
Tea entered Iran via the Silk Road back in 453 BCE when the Silk Road connected to the Royal Road, which had been built earlier in the persian Empire and well maintain as a postal rout through the empire to allow for fast ( 9 days by horseback) postal communication. With tea becoming easier to obtain than coffee, it became the staple beverage in 1400’s CE and gave rise to chaikhanehs, or tea houses.
Tea was not grown in Iran until the late 1800’s, after an Iranian diplomat, by the name of Kashef Al Saltaneh, brought back from India over 3000 samplings to plant in Iran. He decided to plant in his hometown Lahijan in the northern Gilan region of Iran (at the southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea ) so the first tea farms were formed in this region, which had the perfect terroir for tea. Soon, the tea industry grew in the northern part of Iran ( especially in Gilan and Mazandaran Provinces) and first tea factories emerged in this country. Today , Kashef Al Saltaneh is known as the father of Iranian tea and tea museum has been built in Lahijan to honor his attempts in this regard.
Drinking Tea in Iran
Nowadays, more than 100 factories and thousands of hectares of tea farms exist in Iran. Iranian tea has a special color and taste and is different from teas produced in other countries. It is not so common to add milk to Iranian tea and people tend to sweeten it with sugar cubes called Ghand or rock candy called Nabat. Its reddish-brown color defines the quality of the tea and people dilute their tea by adding boiled water to it regarding their taste and preference.