In Tehran’s oldest and tiniest teahouse, there are treats and tradition.
Kazem Mabhutian, who wears a trimmed beard, a crimson scarf, and a bronze-colored waistcoat, serves a continuous stream of customers in Tehran’s smallest and oldest teahouse, but at 63, he is relying on God to send him a successor.
His 1.5-square-metre chaikhaneh (tea house) is hidden from the main street in a Grand Bazaar passageway, jammed between a garments shop and the door of a mosque.
Despite this, it is the most well-known among tea connoisseurs in Tehran.
Mabhutian proudly relates the century-old narrative of the renowned Haj Ali Darvish Tea House in between pouring cups of boiling brew for his patrons.
Haj Ali Mabhutian, also known as the Dervish or Beheshti, or “He Who Deserves Paradise,” was born in Hamedan, Iran, according to him.
“At the age of 15, he arrived to Tehran in search of work. Haj Hassan, who had started the business in 1918, sold it to him.”
Cups and teapots, tea cartons, and a samovar water heater are arranged around him. There’s an antique radio, a paraffin lamp, dervishes statuettes, and gold-colored Nabat sticks, a saffron-scented barley sugar.
A tourist ministry plaque on the wall certifies that the location “is part of the intangible cultural heritage of the country.”
Mabhutian produces cardamon, cinnamon, mint, thyme, and hibiscus brews every day from 7:30 a.m., in addition to the traditional Iranian black tea.
His favorite, however, is his unique “tea of kindness,” a bright yellow concoction of mint, lemon, and saffron.
Experts estimate that Iranians drink an average of nine little glasses of tea each day, or 100,000 tonnes per year.
“This house, recognized as the tiniest in the world, was run by my father until 2007,” Mabhutian added. “Then he shattered his leg and was never able to work again. He lived at home until his death, at the age of 92, in 2018.”
Kazem then quit his work as an advertising agency and took over the company.
“I have no regrets,” he stated. “Advertising used to be a business, but this is a love story. “I picked this work because of my heart, not because of the money.”
A cup of tea costs 100,000 rials (35 cents) on the menu, but “the tariffs are not fixed,” he explained. “It is dependent on the customer’s financial situation.”
He serves about 200 people per day.
“The majority of them come from outside the market. Brief News from Washington Newsday.