Non-alcoholic Drinks in Azerbaijan

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The national drink is chay (tea), which is drunk Turkish-style from small tulip-shaped glasses. It is normally taken with sugar but no milk.

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Unlike Turkey, where sugar is usually added to the tea, the practice in Azerbaijan is to put a sugar lump in your mouth and suck the tea through it.

Another unusual practice, more common among the Lezgi people of North Azerbaijan, is to add a spoonful of rose-water to your tea. Tea is generally served by the pot (120 to 750) at a chaihana.

Qahva (coffee) is not often seen outside western-style hotels and restaurants in Baki, and even then is usually instant.

Espresso machines have only just begun to make an appearance in the country, and a good espresso is still a rarity. Even Turkish coffee is usually only found in Turkish restaurants.

Water

Tap water throughout the country is not reliably safe, and even local people rarely drink it without boiling it first.

Bottled mineral water is cheap and easily obtainable in shops throughout the country about 50 cents a litre.

The main Azerbaijani mineral waters are Zam-Zam, Shollar (from Nahchivan) and Qah. The stronger tasting Borjomi from Georgia is also widespread.

Soft Drinks

All the main western brands of cola and lemonade are widely available as are locally produced fruit juices and tars.

Street kiosks and fast-food cafes sell ayran, a refreshing mix of lightly salted yoghurt and water, for 12 cents a glass.