Tea is the national beverage in Iran! It is an essential part of the breakfast and any type of gathering. As such, there are certain nonnegotiable rules about the preparation and the drinking of tea. Here are some: 1. Real tea is black tea. Green, white, yellow and oolong teas are to be experimented with, but must never replace black tea. 2. Preparing tea involves the steeping and simmering (dam kardan or steaming) of loose, processed tea leaves. Teabags are quick fixes, and good only when you are feeling too down to treat yourself properly, or when you are obligated to serve an unwanted visitor. 3. One should sip tea from small, delicate glasses called estekan that allow one to see its translucent mahogany color while relishing its flavor.