tea: hot, fragrant, bracing, and
available everywhere, all the time in
coffee is more famous,
but Turkish tea (çay, CHAH-yee)
is the national drink, brewed
from leaves grown on the steep,
verdant mountain slopes of Turkey's
Turkish tea is brewed samovar-style,
with a small pot of very strong
tea kept hot atop a larger vessel
of boiling water. Pour a small
amount of strong tea into a little
tulip-shaped glass and cut it to
the desired strength with hot water.
recent years tea bags, especially
foreign brands (most prominent: Lipton), have become something
of a status symbol, but most of Turkey
still runs on real samovar-brewed
Black Sea coast tea.
In fact, Turkish tea purists mumble derogatorily about poşet çay (teabag-tea) as being obviously inferior to loose-leaf, samovar-brewed Turkish tea.
usually add cube sugar (never
milk or lemon, although you can
often get milk or lemon if you ask.)
sight of the çaycı (CHAH-yee-juh,
tea-waiter) carrying a tray of glasses
to thirsty, caffeine-craving tea-drinkers
is one of the first and most common
sights you'll see in Turkey.
Having fresh, hot tea always available
everywhere is one of life's splendid
little luxuries in Turkey.
your tea açık (ah-CHUK, open, weak),
or koyu (koh-YOO, dark, strong)
as you like, or just order çay and
it will come normal strength.
some restaurants and pastry-shops
you can order a duble çay (DOOB-leh,
double tea): it comes in a water
glass. But why not have a small traditional
glass and when you've finished it
order a fresh one? And another, and
read all about it in an article
I wrote for the Sunday Telegraph (London).
you don't want caffeine, try
Ada Çay: sage
tea, one of several popular herbal
infusions (bitki çayları,
tea (mostly in winter) (UHH-la-moor)
Elma Çay: apple
"tea," like hot apple juice, mostly sugar (EHL-mah
Here's an experience I had with Turkish tea:
tink tink tinka tinka tinklinklinkle,
the tiny stainless steel spoons
rang against the little tulip-shaped
glasses as we stirred in sugar,
holding the spoon-end between thumb
and index finger, pinkie aloft.
Gingerly I held the gold rim of
the glass so as not to burn my
fingers. Dainty sotto voce slurps,
mixing cool air with hot tea as
it enters the mouth.
audible sigh. Ahhhhh! Good tea." (—from Turkey: Bright
Sun, Strong Tea, "Rockefeller
There's more about tea and tea culture in Turkey on RateTea.com.
to get any of these teas right
now? Contact Tulumba.
They'll send it anywhere in the world