Traditions in Turkey

Turkish tea, a drink of culture and tradition

Turkish tea is part of the keyif ! In Turkey, tea is drunk throughout the day. Turkish tea accompanies breakfast in the morning. It follows the main dishes, both in winter and in summer, and is served during an evening with friends or relatives.

In a nutshell, tea is a  must and can never be lacking. It is a social glue, an act of hospitality, the moment to disconnect and relax, sometimes it is also the indispensable tool and a good start to successful negotiations. To make Turkish tea, you’ll need to have the right tools and ingredients.

Obviously, you need to have a Turkish teapot, which will infuse the tea (çay) as well as the inevitable tea glasses (çay bardaği). The classic tea glasses can be found here:

Turkish tea

Turkish Teapot

In the lower part of the teapot, place the water that will need to boil. Tea is drunk hot, so it must be drunk in a moment of calmness. In the upper part you will put about a handful of tea (I recommend the famous and tasty black tea), with a drop of water.

While the water is boiling underneath, the tea absorbs the water and the leaves begin to swell. A little boiling water will be poured into the smaller container where the tea is located (to create the infusion). Refill the lower container with more water and put it back on the fire, and when the water boils again, our tea will be ready!

On a tray we put the çay bardaği (tea glasses). Fill the glasses with some of the infused tea from the small container. If I put in a little, the tea will be light and clear, and it will be strong and dark if I pour more.  Add the boiling water from the large container. Et voilà my Turkish tea, but it doesn’t stop there !!!

The choice of the teapot for Turkish tea

Choose the teapot, its size, and the colour of the handle. Choose the glasses, large or small, with or without a handle, single colour or with decorations, more modern or classic. These aspects imply choices made according to the personal tastes of each housewife!

My teapot is of medium size, you can buy it on the E-Shop of the Turkish Lounge.

I having an Italian husband at home who does not drink a lot of tea, but does drink a lot of coffee. As for the glasses, I have different types, but gradually I gave them to my Italian friends, as they are not found here! My favourites, however, are the medium ones, in the shape of a woman’s body, with a handle, to avoid burns by holding the glass with your bare hands.

Do you think it’s finished? You are wrong! I still have to discuss the sugar… and yes!

Sugar and the kıtlama technique

This aspect is also important! You can normally sweeten the tea presented to you. But you can also apply the “kıtlama” or “bite” technique, that is, you bite a small piece of sugar (the lump one, to make myself clear) and take a sip of tea and so on … so of course you find yourself consuming a lot of sugar especially when, like a real Turk, you drink many glasses of tea throughout the day.

When you finish your tea, the host rushes to refill your glass.  That is, until you let them know you don’t want any more.  How do you let him or her know this?  By putting the spoon on the glass!

When there is not a very close relationship, it is good not to drink nonstop, because it would seem too informal, as if you are taking advantage of the server’s hospitality. Also don’t  stop at just one glass as this may   offend the host: it’s best to drink more. In this regard, I recommend 2-3 glasses and no more!

Did this make you just want to have a nice glass of tea with Turkish music playing in the background, with a breath-taking view of the Bosporus?