Are you tired? Do you fill uncomfortably full? Do you have guests? Brew some Turkish tea! Turkish tea has such a great role in our life that even a day without tea is impossible for us.
We start our day not with coffee, absolutely with a glass of newly brewed tea which has a tempting and stimulating fragrance. Breakfast means tea for us. If there is no tea, it’s not a real breakfast for us as it lacks the main thing. You know a typical Turkish breakfast has mainly olives, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, jam, eggs and as a drink we definitely have tea.If you don’t have time for breakfast at home, you can buy simit and have it with a glass of tea at work. Tea and simit are always perfect couple!
We also have tea at various times in a day. A glass of newly brewed tea is the best solution if you are tired. People say that it removes your tiredness. That’s why people drink tea when they have a break while working. It’s a way of renewing yourself and it gives the energy you need to continue your work. If you are a student and you feel sleepy when studying, your mom brings a glass of tea with some cookies, which helps you continue studying.
When you have unexpected guests, you are absolutely supposed to serve them tea as there is always tea in the pantry and the teapot is always on the stove in a typical Turkish house.
So we can say that tea as a drink is much more common in Turkey than coke. When waiting for your package at a fish market, don’t be surprised if the salesperson offers you tea. It is a way of welcoming your customer, which is a part of our culture. Tea is also served at meetings (with colegues or friends).
There is also a seperate small kitchen like room at almost all workplaces and a person is charged there to brew tea and seerve it to the employees every now and then.
As for its service , culturally we prefer drinking tea in a glass specially designed for Turkish tea. You see it above. Serving them in cups doesn’t have a very long history in our culture. It has become popular for some years, but tea glass is still the most-preferred. A few sugar cubes are put near the glass at coffee houses, while sugar is served in a separate cup at home. There are certainly people who love their tea without sugar. Some prefer strong tea some love weak tea. And those who love weak tea would rather have tiny lemon wedges with their tea.
Turkish tea is grown in Rize, a city in Black Sea region (North of Turkey) and it is said that this tea has the highest quality all around the world. There are endless tea fields in this city and tea makes the main source of economy there. And everyone in Turkey owes a lot to the women of this region as they do the most of the work here. Women are the ones who work in these fields picking tea leaves.
(Photo taken from here)
Tea is such a remarkable hot drink in our cuisine that even teaspoons have different functions. It is normally used to mix sugar cubes with the tea in your glass. however, it is a kind of giving a message in some local places. One glass of tea is never enough for us, we often want for the second or third or even more. In some small regions, when someone doesn’t want to have another glass of tea, he shows it with the tespoon. Can you guess how? By covering the top of the glass with the reverse side of a teaspoon. This means “Thank you! I don’t want any more.”
A real tea drinker hates tea bags as they don’t have the same flavor as the original ones. Tea bags are not brewed at all, they are just put in cups filled with hot water and it’s ready. I think tea bags are like prepackaged foods as tasteless as them. So if you want to enjoy your tea, you must absolutely brew it in a teapot.
How is it brewed?
There are two parts of a teapot put one above the other. The one at the bottom is bigger than the one on the top. Let me call them bottom pot and top pot. Boil some water in the top pot, when it boils, put some tea and pour some of the hot water in it. Then add some more water into the bottom pot if necessary. Put the top pot on it and put it on the stove back. Wait until the water boils, and lower the heat. Your tea in the top pot will be brewed in about 10 or 15 minutes with the help of the steam from the bottom pot. As you see there is no exact measurement for brewing tea, so I continually say ‘some’. However, giving aproximate measurements can be good so that you have an idea of it. You can fill the bottom top with water. You can put 2 tbsp tea leaves in the top pot for 2 people. And transfer about a cup of boiled water into it. We take the inside holes of its pipe as measuring point and we fill it with boiled water up to these holes.
When it is brewed, you can serve it in glasses. There is also a certain way of doing this. Fill the quarter of the glass with brewed tea and then complete it with boiled water. If you want it weaker or stronger, change the amount of tea accordingly. And it is up to you to add sugar or not. Enjoy your tea!
Updated on 03.27.2013: Here are my husband’s experimental tea photography! He asked me to add the following two photos in this post. He thinks these photos are better than the previous ones!
Right after pouring black tea. It’s waiting for hot water to be completed!
This is a good dark Turkish tea, just the way many Turkish people love!
Do you like these photos? Share your opinion in the comments section!