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Tea etiquette

Uzbek people like to drink tea very much. This is not just a simple fact about statement of devotion of one country population, because Uzbek people's love for tea is something different than German's love to beer or Finn's love to coffee. It does not just like for tea, if they talk they drink tea, anyone who was in Uzbekistan can continue this file of associations for ever and ever.

"Uzbek Air Magazine", Winter 2005

Tea is the drink of hospitality, offered first to every guest, and almost always drunk from a piala (small bowl). From a fresh pot, the first cup of tea is often poured away (to clean the piala) and then a piala of tea is poured out and returned twice into the pot to brew the tea. A cup filled only a little way up is a compliment, allowing your host to refill it often and keep its contents warm (the offer of a full piala of tea is a subtle invitation that it’s time to leave).

Pass and accept tea with the right hand; it’s extra polite to put the left hand over the heart as you do this. If your tea is too hot, don’t blow on it, but swirl it gently in the cup without spilling any. If it has grown cold, your host will throw it away before refilling the cup.

Tea hospitality may seem totally different in Khorezm. Christopher Aslan Alexander describes a tea hospitality in his book "A carpet ride to Khiva":

"Always green and impossible to drink with their salty desert water. And do you know what?" She turned to a third woman who was sitting in rapt silence. "They give you your own teapot." This elicited an audible gasp. "Yes, they just leave the teapot beside you and expect you to pour yourself. The host does not even say "iching, iching", just leaves it for you to pour yourself."