When visiting Turkey, it is wise to understand just how crucial Turkish tea is to the nation. It is much more than a drink and an integral part of their culture and traditions. In enormous cities and tiny villages, locals serve black tea to welcome guests, confirm friendships and sometimes to enjoy Turkey’s incredible sunsets. We see it on every street corner, in every shop and office and a pot is always brewing in people’s homes. To neglect the importance of Turkish tea, is to turn down friendships, the health benefits, and friendly conversation, so getting to know all about the cultural aspect, how it is made, served, and drunk will stand you in good steed.
About Turkish Tea
Tea in Turkey is not an ancient ritual but first started in the 1930s. The Turkish government decreed it should be grown as an export crop in the fertile soils across the country. Soon after, Turkey bought tons of seeds from the nation of Georgia and developed nurseries. They become a source of national pride, and Turks worked hard to develop brands that the world would love.
The dark and full-bodied liquid became the national tea-drinking tradition. Today, Turkey is one of the five largest producers in the world. The nation consumes more tea than any other beverage other than water, and in every corner of the world, people have embraced its cultural significance. From the oldest known national brand, Caykur to new start-ups, it is a billion-dollar business.
How to Brew Tea in Turkey
Although a good cup of Turkish tea starts with great leaves, the intense preparation turns it into an event. Making tea is not as simple as just dunking the tea bag in. Use fresh or bottled water because it is everything to the perfect cup. Turkish teapots called Caydanlik comprises a smaller pot nestled on top of a larger pot.
The lower and larger pot is where to boil the water, while the upper pot is where to put the loose tea leaves. Use heat to boil the bottom pot’s water. Then, add some of it to the upper pot containing the leaves, before turning down the heat. After about 15 minutes, pour it into cups, and add boiling water from the lower teapot. The typical mix is one-third leaves to two-thirds water but can be varied according to taste preferences.
Experts know a few tricks for creating the best cup of tea. First, they only use excellent leaves. A simple way to test a leaf for quality is to float it in a cup of cold water. If it changes colour, it is a good cup. Turks are also almost fanatical about avoiding bitterness, and they focus on using just the right amount of heat for just the right time.
Over boiling or using too much heat is a recipe for a bitter cup. Also, although it may seem odd, refrain from stirring. Experts believe that the leaves and water should mix naturally, adding to the slow enjoyable experience. Replace any brew that is older than a half-hour because the freshness and body break down to become bitter.
Drinking the Perfect Cup
Turks serve tea in clear Tulip shaped cups, without handles that sit on a small saucer. If it is your turn to serve, do not fill the teacup to the brim, but leave a brief space. This space is where to pick up a Turkish teacup with two fingers. If you fill-up the entire cup, this space will be hot to touch. Serve sugar cubes, but don’t add them, because this is careless manners and should only be done by the drinker.
Turks consume a cup with small sips. Gulping it down and leaving is rude. Your host will continue serving until you feel you are floating in a sea of it. To thank them but decline, place your spoon across the teacup. This sends a message to say, thank you, but I could not consume another drop. Turks see this as a compliment, if you continue to sit and enjoy their company, even if you don’t drink.
Tea is consumed in every Turkish climate and location. Even on hot, sunny days, you will see teapots at every turn. Tea is also served throughout the day, although the proper time is during the later afternoon before dinner. Turkish workers have official breaks during their workday. To enjoy the complete experience, search out a tea garden. These quiet spaces covered with trellis and vines and surrounded by lush plants and flowers are great relaxation havens. So, as you explore the many amazing regions of Turkey, from the beaches to Istanbul, be sure to stop along the way, slow down and enjoy the Turkish tea experience with all its traditions.
Favourite Beverages in Turkey: We recommend tea when visiting Turkey, but on odd occasions, change it up by trying cold, or alcoholic drinks. In this article, we talk about popular beverages that Turks enjoy and you will too.
Turkish Coffee: While Turks do not drink as much coffee as the tea, it still has its own set of cultural rituals, special caffeine boost, and significances. In this article, we look at them, the history and how to make the perfect cup.
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