Turkish Tea is drank by the gallon in Turkey, no matter where you go you will be guaranteed to be offered a glass of Turkish Tea. I have never been in a household or restaurant where I didn’t get offered Turkish Tea.
Turkish Tea Facts and Custom
- Turkish Tea only became popular in the 20th Century when Turkish Coffee became expensive after Word War 1. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk encourage people to drink the Tea as it was cheaper and more sustainable than importing coffee. Thus it became the drink of choice in the Turkish Household.
- The Turkish Tea Houses, Çay Eviler, are really the domain of Men, it is seldom you will find any women in these places. The Tea House is where Turkish men go to discuss the days politics and football and play endless rounds of backgammon.
- The Turkish Tea Gardens, Çay Bahceşi, are where the families and ladies go to drink tea and chat, these are normally run by the local council and a place for all to gather.
- Never refuse a glass of tea as it can appear rude if you don’t wish to drink tea then ask for a glass of water instead.
- Turkish Tea is grown in the Black Sea region of Rize this is due to the wet and humid conditions of the area.
- All Turkish tea comes from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis.
- Turkish Tea is classed as Black Tea.
- Turkish tea is a healthy tea to drink as no pesticides, chemicals or additives are used during the growing and production process. Plus Turkish Tea is full of healthy antioxidants.
- Turkey is the 6th Largest producer of Tea in the World.
- Turks drink around 2.5 kilograms of tea, per person, per year.
- Turkish tea is drank black and often with sugar, two sugar cubes are place on the tea saucer when serving Turkish tea. You do not need to add the sugar. In some areas of the east people place one cube of sugar under the tongue and then drink their tea, they will drink many glasses of tea until the cube is dissolved completely. This way of drinking Turkish tea is called “Kitlama Çay”
- Though Black Tea is the most popular, you can also get different flavours of tea, these tend to be made from a sweet sherbet type granules, the most popular flavour is Apple, you can also find others like orange and lemon. These where really brought in for the Tourists who often do not like the Black Turkish Tea.
- Turkish Tea is classically drank from small tea glasses, which are said to be in the shape of Tulip, hinting back to Ottoman Times.
- Turkish tea should be clear and a deep mahogany or red in colour.
- Turkish tea is brewed in a two tier tea pot called a Çaydanlik.
- Turkish Tea is rarely drank with meals and only at breakfast time with food. The rest of the time Turkish Tea is drank after the meal. Water or Ayran are served with the afternoon or evening meal.
- Pay attention while out and about in a Turkish city center or town you will see boys/men carrying tea on large metal trays to the shops, offices and workers. Most shops and offices have a number or call service to a particular tea house and when called someone will come with tea, within in minutes. The tea is either paid for with tokens purchased from the shop or in cash.
How to Make Turkish Tea
Making Turkish Tea is fairly simple. You will need:
Packet of Turkish Tea
And Turkish Tea Glasses for Serving and tea spoons
1 tea strainer that fits the tea glasses.
Sugar cubes 2 per glass or 1 bowl of loose sugar
Method for Making Turkish Tea
First take the largest of the two tea pots (the bottom one) and will with water.
Then add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of Turkish Tea to the second smaller tea pot (the top one)
Place the large teapot on the cooker and the small teapot on top of the larger one.
Allow the water to come to the boil.
Now remove the full tea pot and slowly add in the boiling water to the small tea pot with the tea leaves.
Add in the boiling water slowly and move it in a slight circular motion, (my Mother in Laws tip!) to help the flavour and assure the tea leaves sink to the bottom.
Now refill the large tea pot and place back on the cooker.
Once the water has boiled again in the larger tea pot, either turn the heat down to low or remove from heat completely.
I allow my tea to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, this allows it to cool slightly and again allows the leaves to sink to the bottom.
Now take a tea glass and place a tea spoon in the cup, add in some of the hot water and swirl around the glass, and throw this water out, do this to all your glasses. This I am told prevents them from cracking, as the hot tea can cause the cold glass to crack.
You can pour one glass of tea from the top tea pot with the tea leaves, and then slowly pour this back into the same tea pot, this airiates the tea and mixes the tea through for a better flavour.
Now pour about a third of the tea into each glass using the tea strainer to catch any leaves and top with the boiling water, leaving a small gap at the top of the glass. This gap allows people to pick the glass up with their fingers.
Add more tea for a stronger taste or more water for a weaker taste.
Place two sugar cubes on the saucer or serve the tea with a bowl of loose sugar.
My Mother in Laws Breakfast Tea
I’ve not seen anyone else do this apart from my Mother in Law.
Take the largest tea pot and fill it with boiling water, place the lid on and allow it to boil. While the water is boiling, add about 1 tablespoon of Turkish tea and stir in. Take off the heat and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, then pour into your tea glass. (you do not add extra water)
The result is a pleasant breakfast tea to drink with your Turkish Breakfast.
Blending Turkish Tea
Something I wasn’t aware of till I moved to Turkey was blending Turkish tea with another tea like earl grey or a bergamot tea.
This gives the tea more flavour and a more flowery taste.
To do this take a container and fill it with Turkish tea then add in about a 3rd of say an Early Grey Tea or bergamot tea and then mix through.
You can also blend two different Turkish Black Teas together for a better taste.
I hope you like my little guide on Turkish Tea and will start to enjoy your own Turkish Tea at home.
Have you any tips on brewing the perfect Turkish Tea?
© 2014 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.