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From Istanbul to Your Kitchen: Crafting Turkish Tea the Traditional Way

From Istanbul to Your Kitchen: Crafting Turkish Tea the Traditional Way

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It can generally go without saying that tea is an incredibly important aspect of life throughout the world. It can easily be argued that tea has changed the course of history more than a few times now.

Tea has become widespread and popular throughout the continents of the world, so one can expect that different regions are going to have different customs for their tea traditions.

If you are someone who genuinely enjoys learning about other countries and their way of life, and you are interested in learning about tea, then you will have a long, long road ahead of you for the history of tea and its impacts on the world.

A good example of how different regions in the world have different tea customs would be the idea of iced tea compared to Britain who often serves tea warm. Some places will heavily sweeten tea, while other times, tea may not ever be served with milk.

These are just a few examples of some cultural differences in how different areas prepare their teas.

With all of this out of the way, there may be a chance that you have begun to learn about what tea is like in certain countries, such as Turkey. Turkey may not be one of the first places you think about when you think about the delicate and fragrant teas of the world, but the truth is that it has a fairly prominent tea industry that people enjoy being able to focus on.

Turkey even has its own specialized teapot that it uses to pour tea from to ensure that the tea was brewed the way that it should have been.

If you are interested in the idea of learning about Turkish tea, but you do not have a double teapot nor a way to get to Turkey, you may feel somewhat discouraged about the idea of trying it.

You won’t have to be worried about trying Turkish tea anymore though, as there are plenty of ways that you can recreate it in the comfort of your own home.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to making and serving tea in Turkey, you may not realize that there are some customs and habits that have been adopted.

One of the most interesting of these is the fact that it is considered a standard to serve tea in clear glasses so that you will be able to admire the color of the tea, rather than serving it in a standard mug or cup, as with many other countries.

In some ways, learning how to make tea the way people in Turkey do is going to be a wonderful way to dive into a culinary and cultural history lesson.

Without further ado, if you are interested in learning how to make Turkish tea, even if you don’t have the traditional teapot to get the job done, then the first thing you are going to want to do is get a firm understanding of how tea has played a role throughout the land of Turkey.

While it may not have played a big role as it has in the United Kingdom or the United States, Turkey was still pretty heavily affected when it was eventually brought to the country.

Tea in Turkey

If you are interested in when people began drinking tea in Turkey, it is somewhat difficult to determine.

It isn’t known when exactly Turkey began trading teas around the world, though there are some accounts that tea was traded as long ago as 400 BCE, with the first provable fact about someone trading tea and popularizing it during the early 1900s.

Because Turkey is a rather arid land, despite people’s efforts for growing tea for a decade, it wasn’t much of a success. This means that the majority of Turkish teas from this time period came from imports, as most teas couldn’t have been produced in Turkey’s weather, in a legal manner, as there were agricultural restrictions as well.

In 1924, the parliament passed a law that allowed people to begin cultivating tea near the Black Sea region, and because of this, during the 30s, about 70 tons of boxes of teas were delivered.

Due to the fact that most teas in Turkey are imported in some way, shape, or form, there are not many that are considered to be collector’s items unless they were extremely old or had sentimental value.

Instead, Turkey’s tea culture comes from the way that the tea is served. Turkey’s tea is commonly served through specialized teapots, clear glasses, and specific customs.

Some of the customs of Turkish tea include having a small amount of water in the clear tea glasses so that when you pour the tea into the glass, the water that was already in the glass dilutes the flavor a bit.

In terms of Turkish tea, there are a few different flavor profiles to be aware of. There is “strong and dark,” “medium deep brownish red,” “weak and light,” and so on. You can alter how strong a flavor profile of something you enjoy by altering the amount of water that you would put in the clear glasses.

Now you have a little bit more of an understanding of the culture behind tea in Turkey, and the fact that it has played an enormous agricultural and economical role in the world.

One of the next things that you are going to notice is that most standard Turkish teapots have seemingly two nozzles and it may seem a bit clunky at first.

The Double Teapot’s Purpose

As you learn more about tea and Turkey, you will notice that many of the teapots that are used seem to have two stories to them.

One of the biggest reasons why Turkish teapots seem to be multi-storied is because people believe that this effectively cuts costs in tea production and it is not as expensive to maintain, since you can pour the water into the cup and steep the tea at the same time.

The real reason why people tend to prefer their double-stacked routine, as you will quickly realize, is that there is far more potential for an efficient food service. The bottom chamber of the kettle is typically used for bringing water to a boil so that you can make use of it as the tea steeps.

At the top chamber, this is where you usually steep loose tea leaves, usually around several small spoonfuls of it. The process of having the tea leaves in the one area where the steam from the boiling water can go is one of the most efficient ways to get things done with as few dishes as possible.

Interestingly enough, when serving Turkish tea, you will always use clear glasses so that one can admire the color of the tea, and additionally, milk is almost never added to tea for this reason.

Now that you understand more about what Turkish people use to make their tea, you can begin thinking of similar methods that can produce a similar effect. There is only one object that can produce such a similar effect that most people from other countries will be aware of, and that method is most commonly known as a double boiler.

Using a Double Boiler to Make Turkish Tea

For people who do not own a coffee making machine, this is going to be the closest effect that you can get for the money that you pay for it, of course.

The process of creating a double boiler for the use of tea is actually quite similar to the other method that most people use. You begin by sorting out which tea leaves you want to have in your tea so that you can enjoy some of the colors and hues that come with high-end teas.

During this stage, you can also pick out some seasonings to add to the tea to make it even more enjoyable, with the most acceptable seasonings being apples, mint, rosehip, or lemon ginger.

Once you have picked out the tea that you want and any potential garnishes that you would want to add to the tea, you will want to start by boiling about five cups of water in a large saucepan. This will essentially be creating that bottom kettle from the Turkish teapot.

In fact, Turkish teapots, by design, are incredibly close to being double boilers on their own. Depending on the size bowls you have, you can even switch to a mixing bowl to make it easier to work with.

Some people will use this step to add some fruits or other flavoring to the tea to make it even more fit for someone’s taste. Some of the most common flavorings that people will add for this step include lemon, orange, and grapefruit.

People who want these flavors in their tea will usually add about one tablespoon of it into the mix with the leaves.

In the smaller saucepan with the leaves in it, you will want to pour about two cups of boiling water onto the leaves. This will mean that you remove the larger saucepan from the stovetop now that the water has come to a boil.

When you are pouring the water onto the leaves, you will want to do so slowly, evenly, and in a circular motion so that you can make sure that everything is as consistent as possible.

With the leaves now properly soaking and ready to steep in the small saucepan, you will want to take the large pot and add another two cups of water into it. You will use this water for serving the tea, if you want to adhere to Turkish customs when serving tea.

Otherwise, you will want to let this one sit for a bit on a nearby surface that is out of the way but still somewhat easy to get to.

Every so often, you will want to check up on the tea leaves in the smaller sauce pan by peering through the lid (which should be on at all times). When you notice that the tea leaves are beginning to swell up, you can feel confident in knowing that this is working.

You may occasionally want to stir the leaves around so that they can swell evenly and they can properly steep.

Last, but most certainly not least in this cooking method, you will want to turn your stove up to a low heat setting so that you can slowly finish steeping your tea. You will want to place the smaller saucepan on top of the larger saucepan, the same way you would if you were trying to balance them on top of each other.

This will be the stage where everything is cooking and being ready to be prepared so that you can make the most out of it. You can expect this to take anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes depending on the quality and success of making your tea in a Turkish style.

All that is left for you to do is to serve the tea.

Serving Your Tea in a Turkish Way

Even if you do not have the exact cup for your new tea, you will still want to know how the process works, should you ever want to practice it yourself one day. Serving tea in Turkey is a little bit different than how it is done in other countries, such as the United States.

In Turkey, it appears that the leftover water from the step of pouring two cups of water into the large saucepan is completed and then you pour tea over that water.

To be more specific about it, you fill your Turkish tea glass between one fourth and one half of the glass with tea and the rest will be water.

If you want to make sure that it looks as good as possible once you are done pouring, you will want to pour it gently, so that there are no bubbles and you can admire the beauty of the tea’ color even more.

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