Believe it or not one of the main activities here at Istanbul is to sit in a bar and lose track of time in front of a steaming cup of chay, typical Turkish tea. It is a bit the equivalent of our coffee at the bar, with the difference that here the chay is not taken at the counter: we sit strictly at the table, and expect it to cool.
The chay, the good one, is really served very hot, in a typical glass cup without handles. Red, steaming, really delicious. The Turks drink countless cups of it during the day: as soon as they have a free moment, they indulge themselves a break based on chay, let the world fall! It seems that it is also very good: little sugar, many antioxidants, a slight tonic effect. The apple tea, The so-called elma chay: chock full of sugar, pale pale, is a tourist favorite, while the Turks hardly ever drink it.
After a long day spent at the mythical Grand Bazaar, or perhaps by boat on the icy waters of the Bosphorus, there is nothing better than a chay "with a view" to recover a bit.
One of my favorite chay kiosks is the Kaptanlar Çay Bahçesi: is located in Findikli, at the foot of Taksim. Simple and spartan, it overlooks the sea, facing the wonders of Sultanhamet: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque can be seen very well from here. The chay is exquisite and it costs only 1 TL, the atmosphere is always relaxed, without even a tourist !. Local only, here. Highly recommended especially at prayer time, to listen to the singing of the Mufti: there is one nearby mosque of 1500, the Celebi Camii Spring.