Tea plays an essential role in Kazakh culture, as no celebration or family feast is held without drinking tea. Sharing tea is a ritual of unity. When someone visits a Kazakh family, tea is served first. The custom, called syi-ayak, begins with the washing of hands. The tea is ladled into a ceramic drinking bowl called a Piyala (Piala). The head of the family (husband) is the first to be served; the guests thereafter. Tradition holds that after dinner, everyone remains seated until the last person has finished drinking their tea, then everyone leaves together.
Depending on the variety and quality, the price of local tea in the domestic market ranges from $4.70 to $29 (8-50 manats) per kilogram. Recently, farmers say, the demand for higher quality has increased markedly. People have discovered that local products are of better quality, and therefore they are willing to buy Azerbaijan tea, despite the apparent high cost.