Çaykur – a passion for tea
Zihni Derin is the person responsible for bringing tea to Rize. The agricultural engineer quickly realised that the unique climate of the region with its mild but snowy winters and rainy summers was ideal for growing tea plants. The ‘father of tea’, as he is known in Turkey, set up research gardens and nurseries in the region in the 1920s, later imported seeds from Georgia and sold tea seedlings to farmers. The first tea factory in Rize started operation in 1947. And so Çaykur was born.
Today, the state-owned company is by far the largest tea producer in Turkey. With a market share of around 60 per cent, the teas from the Black Sea are the most popular hot drinks in the country by a long way. The products – black tea, green tea, organic tea and iced tea – are of the finest quality. This is ensured by scrupulous controls along the entire production chain.
With around 10,600 employees, Çaykur is the most important employer in the Rize region. The company does not run any tea plantations itself. Instead, over 200,000 independent tea producers, mainly small and family operations, supply the 46 tea factories which manufacture 133,000 tonnes of dried tea per year. Çaykur guarantees the tea producers a fixed purchase price.
The company is aware of its social, economic and environmental responsibility. It has built a primary school in Çaykur and supports numerous social and cultural projects, as well as amateur and professional sports clubs in the region. It intends to further expand the environmentally friendly cultivation area of several thousand hectares. By 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, the entire production will be converted to organic farming.