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tea in Kazakhstan (Almaty)

I'm doing research for a blog post on tea in Kazakhstan. As background, I write a tea blog in Bangkok (from the US originally) and tend to look into relatively random subjects, and an online contact mentioning going there triggered this interest.

Does anyone have input about tea consumption, production, or history there they might share? Per research essentially no tea is grown in Kazakhstan, although I've been told it is possible in the South, and imported teas consumed are usually the standard black teas with milk, from Darjeeling or Sri Lanka and such. That much isn't much of a story then, but bits about native tea history are more interesting, if harder to read up on (mention of butter tea related to those consumed in Tibet or Mongolia). I kind of like the idea of random location research, now that I've tried to start, but it would be nice to get a little further.

Almaty Forum