Do you want to discover the secrets of making authentic Turkish tea, or Türk çayı?
From the magic of the çaydanlık to choosing the perfect tea leaves, this article reveals everything you need to know. Read on and become a master at brewing the ultimate cup of Turkish tea.
The History of Turkish Tea
Tea was first brought to modern-day Turkey by traders along the Silk Road in the 5th century, where it was initially used in barter for Chinese products.
By the end of the 6th century, tea drinking had become popular and was no longer considered just a medicinal drink. In the later parts of the 19th century, the nearby city of Batum (now known as Batumi in Georgia) began successfully growing tea, inspiring the Russians to take up tea growing in Turkey as well.
An Alternative to Coffee and the Rise of Rize
After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, tea was promoted as an alternative to coffee, which had become expensive and sometimes unavailable after World War I.
Early experiments with tea plantations began in Rize Province in 1912. Rize quickly became Turkey's most important tea-producing area, and tea became one of the country's most important agricultural products.
The Turkish Teapot
An essential part of making Turkish tea is the teapot, also known as a çaydanlık .
This special teapot consists of two parts: a larger lower pot for boiling water and a smaller upper pot for brewing the tea.
The design of the çaydanlık ensures that the tea leaves can steep optimally, while the boiled water remains in the bottom pot.
How does a Çaydanlık work?
- Water Boiling : Fill the bottom pot with water and bring it to the boil.
- Brewing tea : Place the tea leaves in the top pot.
- Combine : Once the water is boiling, pour some in the top pot over the tea leaves.
- Brewing : Place the top pot back on the bottom pot and let the tea steep for 10-15 minutes.
The use of a çaydanlık is not only traditional but also functional. It helps prepare a tea that is both strong and flavorful, without being bitter.
Why Tea in the Top Pot?
The traditional method of brewing Turkish tea uses the top pot of the çaydanlık to prepare a highly concentrated tea.
This is because the bottom pot is purely for boiling water. By placing the tea in the top pot, one can make a strong tea that can later be diluted to personal preference with the boiling water from the bottom pot.
This ensures a perfect balance and prevents the tea from becoming bitter.
Is the Tea Rinsed?
In traditional Turkish tea preparation, the tea is usually not rinsed.
The tea leaves are placed directly in the top pot and poured over with some of the boiling water from the bottom pot.
This ensures that all essential oils and flavors are retained, resulting in a richer taste experience.
Which type of tea?
When making Turkish tea, the choice of tea type is crucial. In Turkey, black tea is most commonly used, which is grown locally in regions such as Rize on the Black Sea.
The tea leaves must be of good quality to ensure a rich and full taste.
The Ideal Tea Type for Türk Çayı
The most commonly used type of tea for making Turkish tea is black tea. This tea is known for its strong taste and rich aroma, making it an ideal choice for Türk çayı.
Organic vs. Non-Organic Tea
Although traditional black tea is most common, some opt for organic varieties to avoid pesticides and chemicals. It is important to choose a reliable source to ensure the quality of the tea.
Making Turkish Tea (Recipe)
Now that you know which type of tea to use and how to get the most out of the çaydanlık, it's time to follow the actual recipe for making perfect Turkish tea.
- A çaydanlık (Turkish teapot)
- Black tea leaves
- Boiling water
- Small tea glasses
- Sugar if desired
- Water Boiling : Fill the bottom pot of the çaydanlık with water and bring it to a boil.
- Preparing Tea : Add 1-2 teaspoons of black tea per cup to the top pot.
- Add water : Pour some of the boiling water from the bottom pot over the tea in the top pot.
- Brewing : Place the top pot on the bottom one and let the tea steep for 15-20 minutes.
- To serve : Use a teaspoon to place a small amount of strong tea in each glass. Dilute with boiling water from the bottom pot to taste.
By following these steps, you can enjoy an authentic Türk çayı, exactly as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make Turkish tea?
Making Turkish tea requires a special teapot called a çaydanlık and good quality black tea leaves. The water is boiled in the bottom pot, while the tea is brewed in the top pot. The strong tea is then diluted with boiling water when serving.
What is in Turkish tea?
Turkish tea is usually made from black tea leaves. No milk or herbs are added, which makes it different from other tea cultures. Sugar is optional and is added according to personal preference.
How many scoops of Turkish tea?
The amount of tea depends on personal preference, but a general guideline is to use 1-2 teaspoons of black tea per cup of water. The tea is placed in the upper pot of the çaydanlık and then poured over with some of the boiling water from the lower pot.
What is Turkish tea made of?
Turkish tea is made from black tea leaves, which are mainly grown in the Rize region on the Black Sea. No additional ingredients such as milk or herbs are added, which gives the tea a strong and pure taste.