Drinking Tea Turkish Style
Drinking tea has become a way of life in Turkey. Black tea can be drunk at any time of the day or night. If you visit a Turkish household, you will surely be offered a cup of tea whether before or after a meal. As it is so much an integral part of their culture, it is worthwhile to know a little about the real way to drink Turkish tea.
The Turks always drink their tea black. It is served in small tulip shaped glasses - not in clay cups. You can see the color of the tea through the thin glasses. The tea should be crystal clear and of a deep mahogany or red hue. Sugar or sugar cubes may be added but milk is a strict no-no. As the tea glasses are much smaller than the normal cups, about two cubes of sugar suffices for five glasses. The Erzurmulus in east of Turkey drink about 30 glasses of tea with only one cube of sugar; they keep the sugar under their tongue to make it last through all those glasses of tea. This style of drinking tea is called "Kitlama Cay."
Turkish tea is also full bodied and strong. It is therefore all the more preferable to drink it from the small tea glasses. Very strong tea is poured into the glasses and it is then topped up by cutting it with water to make it as strong or light as you choose. You can have `acik cay` light tea or `koyu cay,` the stronger variety. The tea is piping hot, so make sure you hold the glass by the rim or you may burn your fingers.
Teahouses always serve tea in samovars and you can refill your glasses as you wish. The sight of cheerful `cayci` or tea-waiters carrying trays of tea is a sight that will greet you everywhere in Turkey. Even at home, a samovar is a very elegant addition to your tea table. Having glasses after glasses of fresh hot tea is a luxury you must indulge in while in Turkey.
Tea drinking is now considered healthy. Turkish tea is healthier than most others for many reasons. Tea gardens in Turkey do not have pests so no pesticides are used for its production. Besides, no chemicals or chemical additives are added in the production process so there is no toxicity. Above all Turkish tea does not contain too much of caffeine. Therefore, if you are particular about healthy drinks on your holiday, Turkish tea can be the perfect answer.