Iranian Tea Drinking 101: A Symphony in Sugar

Iranian Tea Drinking 101: A Symphony in Sugar
by Temporary Bride

Tea drinking in Iran is a little like learning to play the clarinet. It is all about moisture and airflow. And sugar.

When you order tea in Iran the silver tray arrives with not one, or two, but three kinds of sugar. Not throw-away paper packets but an arrangement of gleaming, sparkling crystal bowls.

Ordering tea in this country makes me want to become a better person.

The first sugar is called ‘qand’. Qand is a kind of smooth, white sugar torpedo that is chiseled with an ice pick until it shatters into small, jagged pieces. Each piece is dusted with powdery sediment and sizzles just slightly when you place it on your tongue.

Next to the qand is ‘nabat’. Clear, saffron-coloured rocks of sugar, nabat looks like stack of amethysts waiting to be polished for the fingers of the wives of desert princes. Recommended for everything from headaches and upset stomach to a slump in libido or difficulties in fathering children - nabat appears to possess magical powers.

Finally, next to nabat is humble granulated sugar. Pass.

Now comes the tricky part: an elegant little two step called the clamp and sip.

The tea drinker selects the sugar and carefully places it between the front teeth. Biting down with just the right pressure, a glass of tea is then raised to the mouth and sipped through the sugar which sweetens the tea as it passes through the lips.

A little noise is permissible but slurping, drooling or gulping most certainly is not.

Nestling into a stack of pillows like a sultan while sipping is optional but highly recommended.


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Onlyinamrica - Query

by NajafVisitor on

There is a book by Jane Pettigrew, "The Tea Companion." It has a complete guide to different teas and how they are made up. It is best to get the most recent edition, as it is updated.

Happy tea drinking!


Perfect Tea

by onlyinamrica on

Does anyone know how to brew a perfect pot of tea? I have been searching for this for a long time and still can't find it.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

my mother taught me that tea drinking is like kissing

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

that little noise you speak of should be quiet as a kiss. Not silent, but quiet. Please write more! You are wonderful.


That Sweet Tea

by NajafVisitor on

Very nice and delicate - some similarity with the Japanese tea ceremony.

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on

I love reading your stories, So, descriptive and whole. 



يك ماچ ِ آبدار براى ِ آبدار باشى


Ever since your story about kissing the cab driver in London instead of paying the fare, I have been anticipating a kissing part in your stories!

In your last story about flying to Iran, I thought for sure that there would be a kiss instead of a plane ticket and your lost luggage would be delivered to your home by the pilot. But that didn’t happen. And no kisses for Ghahveh Chi here either!

So I just have to wait for your next story.