• 16Oct

    My sister recently went on a trip to Turkey and brought back some tea stuff for me: fruity tea bags and some exquisite traditional Turkish tea glasses.

    The tea itself is a blend of black tea and fruit flavors (possibly including a little food coloring). Plain black tea is more popular among the Turks themselves, and it’s typically drunk with a couple of lumps of beet sugar as opposed to cane sugar that’s so ubiquitous in North America. Turkish tea, or çay, is produced on the Black Sea coast rather than a blend of Asian or South Asian black teas.

    The tea my sister brought – shown above, a little battered from its trip across the Atlantic while squished in a suitcase – came in four flavors: apple, blackberry, orange and pomegranate. I decided to try the pomegranate flavored tea first:

    Without an English instructions for preparation I just treated it the same as I do any other black tea in a tea bag; I brought a kettle of water to a roiling boil and steeped the tea for a single cup for 3 minutes.

    The resulting brew was a pleasure to look at with an oh-so-heavenly scent. The taste was similar to other flavored tea bag teas I’ve had – mild, no bitter after taste and with a sweetness already before even adding any sugar.

    It was especially pretty in the ornate teacups, which required a little different handling to drink from. You have to hold the rim of the cup, rather than the slender portion of the body or else you’ll burn your fingers. In fact, it’s best not to fill the cup up entirely to minimize the heat at the top of the glass where you’ll hold it.

    Though I brewed my tea directly in the glass, traditionally a stacked teapot is used like the one in the back ground here:

    Called a çaydanlık, this is part kettle, part teapot. Water is boiled in the lowermost part of the çaydanlık and then some of it is poured over tea leaves in the upper portion, in the much smaller “tea pot”. The resulting brew is very strong, and can be drunk with milk or, more typically, diluted with the remaining water in the kettle portion according to individual tastes for tea strength. Here’s a cool video on how to use a çaydanlık.