Though Turkish coffee is famous all over the world, the national, traditional, and cultural beverage of all time, is tea. Life in Turkey revolves around tea.
Everyone’s day starts only after a cup of tea, in the early morning. This is a century-old cultural bond, an intimate interaction or the starter of new relations.
Most likely, when you pay a visit to somebody in Turkey, they will welcome you with tea. Or you will be invited to a tea garden or a teahouse. These are the most loved going out points for families or groups of friends.
Sayings & Phrases
There is an old Turkish saying that explains it all. It describes the type of love relationship that Turks have with tea, and goes something like this:
To love is like tea, to be loved is like sugar. The poor like us drink their tea without sugar.Sevmek cay gibidir sevilmek seker bizim gibi garibanlar cayi sekersiz
How to Drink
Drinking tea in Turkey is a ritual. Traditional Turkish tea should only be drunk out of small tulip-shaped glasses called cay and placed on small round plates.
Sugar, two cubes, to be more precise, is also part of the traditional tea presentation and savory. You are supposed to let the cubes melt slowly before drinking.
How to Make
The tradition says that Turkish tea, cay, is made in a caydanlik, a double steel pot, with an enlarged bottom. The tea leaves, around two spoons, are put in the pot on top, while the clear boiled water is in the base pot. They remain like this for around ten minutes.
The content in the top pot is ready to be served in an armud, or tulip-shaped glass. It is usually served full or just two-thirds. Turkish people, as a personal preference, can either drink strong tea (demli) or weak tea (acik).
If the concentration in the top pot is too strong for your taste, you can pour some extra clear water from the bottom pot. Before drinking, add two sugar cubes and patiently stir well.
Types of Turkish Tea
Black tea is by far the most popular type of tea in Turkey, with traditional Caykur from Rize being the cream of the crop. Oralet, are sweet, fruity teas that are brightly colored and come in many different flavors. Turks normally don’t drink them, nor do they drink Apple tea, which has a weaker flavor than Caykur. These types of teas are mainly served to tourists, so they can participate in Turkey’s tea-drinking ritual without having to drink strong black tea.
Caykur is the most popular and generally used tea in all of Turkey. It is originally from the northeast in a region called Rize. This area is considered Turkey’s tea capital. Rize is near the mountains and has an excellent. but mild and constant climate that is very suitable for growing tea leaves.
To understand how important tea is to the local economy, just imagine that every other adult from Rize works in the tea industry. Among the many Caykur labels, Rize Turist is the most sought-after. Be sure to visit the tea gardens if you are in Rize, as it would be a pity not to do so. The view of the plantations, combined with the taste of fresh tea makes for amazing memories.
Black tea is not the only tea consumed in Turkey. There is also a tasty fruity tea, called Oralet. You can find it in several flavors, like apple, cherry, orange, and lemon. It is famous for not being conventionally cut, in the shape of full leaves or fruit slices. It is well cut, just like confetti.
Furthermore, it has a specific bright color. As it is extra sweet from the very start, it doesn’t usually require extra sugar, after brewing. Not being a tradition in Turkey, Oralet is a tea mostly purchased by tourists during the local markets.
Apple tea is famous among Turks, as a great beverage to serve foreigners and visitors. Being so pleasant and light, you might encounter it everywhere when you are shopping. The merchants usually treat their potential customers with this type of Tea. Although it is so popular, the locals don’t normally drink it. It is just for serving tourists, who are not used to the strong black tea.
Teahouses & Tea Gardens
Teahouses are just like exclusive men’s clubs, where they gather to discuss their daily issues. Women and youth are often meet in tea gardens and cafes.
First of all, the Turkish is a social event and the nation’s cultural unity. Besides that, tea is a health supplement. It brings numerous advantages if consumed daily.
The main elements that do so much for health, are the famous flavonoids. This is the main component, especially in black tea. Among the many benefits of flavonoids, we can mention metabolism stabilization, reducing diabetes risk, and reducing cholesterol levels.
The flavonoids in black tea prevent strokes and make your heart stronger. This is because flavonoids are a part of the phytonutrients family, which contain powerful antioxidants. Due to the same flavonoids, the bad cholesterol (the LDL) which is one of the main reasons for heart attacks and strokes, is kept under control, or even reduced.
Tea also contributes to the reduction of blood platelet activation, which might lead to blood clots or heart attack. Hypertension is also greatly reduced. The antioxidants in one cup of tea are not much. But just imagine what, drinking for your entire life, daily, 2 – 3 cups of tea will do to your health.
The active elements in Turkish tea are great at blocking DNA damage that naturally occurs due to pollution, stress, or other chemicals coming from food, and other substances that we are inclined to consume, regularly.
Diabetes and Obesity
Preventing and reducing diabetes and obesity are on the list of black tea benefits. The tea components contribute greatly to fat processing within our body. They speed up metabolism, increase fat oxidation, and also increase workout effects.
Each sip of the warm tea reduces your stress hormone, cortisol, level. Furthermore, your level of concentration will grow due to the amino acid L-theanine. Consequently, stress-related illnesses have been said to diminish while drinking tea consistently.