Tips on How to Make Turkish Tea
Drinking Turkish tea in the traditional, tulip-shaped, glass has already become a way of life for Turkish people! From early morning until bedtime, a cup of Turkish tea accompanies local delicacies of all kinds.
In Turkish houses, there’s always a teapot in our ovens, waiting to be heated for family and guests. Even when we are working, it’s more than ordinary to have a tea break to recharge ourselves in “çay ocağı (literally, “tea house”). Don’t be surprised, thus, when you see a young boy carrying a silver tray, hurrying through the crowd to deliver small tulip-shaped glasses filled with Turkish tea.
We have compiled for you a silver tray full of information about tea culture in Türkiye so that you won’t suffer the difficulties of being a stranger here!
First things first, you need the traditional teapot called by the Turkish name çaydanlık, which consists of a large metal container and a smaller one that stands above it. The smaller part is used to brew the tea, whereas the larger container is used to boil some additional water.
Then, you will have to choose your style of making it. We have two possibilities, and we advise that you try both to see which one befits your gusto more.
The first style, and the more commonly used one, requires that you boil the water first and brew the tea afterward. Let us go step by step!
Pour some water in the larger pot. Put it in the oven over medium high heat and bring it to boil. Put some tea leaves in the smaller pot (We recommend you trust your eyeball estimate while doing that!). Pour the boiling water on top of them. Add some water to the larger pot. Put the two containers together and keep them in the oven over medium heat until the water in the larger containers boils for the second time. After it starts to boil, put the oven to the lowest and let it brew for 10-15 minutes.
The second and less common style is to boil the water and brew the tea at the same time. This takes a lot more time than the first style – though we insist that you try both and choose your favorite.
Put some tea leaves in the smaller pot. Add some water on top of it. Pour some water in the larger pot. Put them together in the oven over a medium high heat. The mix in the smaller pot will be heated with the help of the steam coming from the larger pot. Put the oven to the lowest when the water starts simmering. Let it brew for 10-15 minutes. And that’s it!
Another key to Turkish tea is the amount of time you wait till it brews! If you wait longer, it will have a more bitter taste and a darker red hue. It’s the most preferable look for the tea-loving Turks, though a lighter tone would probably appeal more to the starters.
Further, just stay away from tea bags as far as possible. Many of us just consider tea bags a disgrace to our red-hued tea. Why skip the most important process of all, the brewing process, just to have it fast, right?
Our tea is ready at service. What now? The serving style is also part of the tradition if you are making Turkish tea.
You will just pour some brewed tea, filling the quarter of your glass (this is the conventional measure, though you could customize it depending on your interest). Then, you will fill the rest of the cup with the boiling water. You will realize in time how much brewed tea you would like to put in your glass, as the less brewed tea you add, the lighter hue your tea is going to have (and vice versa). But it takes time.
So, be patient.
Another tip is that you should use the traditional tulip-shaped tea glass, which has a smaller waist making it easier to hold it. It’s also smaller than a regular cup so one can drink the tea before it gets cold. Though other types of cups are also used, real tea lovers just prefer the traditional!
Add cubes of sugar only after you have tried the tea unsweetened. Though the tea is served with cubes of sugar right there beside it, you don’t have to use them.
Last, some of us don’t like it when leaves float over our tea. We therefore use a little sieve or tea strainer to prevent it.
If you want to learn more about Turkish tea, we’d recommend you to visit Türkiye’s Black Sea region. Click here to learn more about it.