Making traditional Turkish tea
Turkish tea (Türk çayı)
One of the first things that strikes every visitor to Turkey is the abundance of tulip shaped vessels (İncebelli) and the ever present tingling of spoons on glass. Put simply, Turks love their tea, and Turkish tea (or çay) is a fundamental factor in the daily life of just about every native (or visitor) to the country. It is the most common hot drink in Turkey and plays an important part in hospitality, so expect to drink it by the bucketful! Our first cup of tea was consumed within about 5 minutes of crossing the border, and almost every driver, host, shopkeeper and curious passer-by has offered us a cup of warming loveliness roughly every five minutes since.
Strangely, tea only became the beverage of choice in the 20th century, following the break-up of the Ottoman empire, and the misleadingly named Turkish coffee is rarely, if ever, consumed by the tea-mad locals. Today, Turkey has the highest per capita tea consumption in the world and produces over 205,000 tons of the stuff ever year.
What you need to make Turkish tea:
– tea leaves – traditionally Turkish people use tea leaves but you can also use teabags (as shown in the video)
– Turkish tulip-shaped glasses (İncebelli)
– double tea pots (çaydanlık; but you can also use a kettle and Özkan will show you how)
– sugar cubes
Our host in Ankara, Özkan, was the first participant of our Cultural Relay Project and was a great guy into the bargain. He is extremely knowledgeable about the black stuff and in the video below, you can learn some fascinating facts about Turkish glasses and some great tips on how to prepare the perfect Turkish cuppa. Enjoy!!!