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Traditional Turkish Tea

Turkish culture guides. How to make traditional Turkish tea.

Do you know how to make Turkish tea, not only a popular beverage, but also a key to friendship and hospitality? Turkish tea is traditionally made in a teapot or samovar and served in a small glass called ince belli, thin-wasted. Tea is drunk açık (a little tea and a lot of water) or demli (a lot of tea and a little water). Also warm tea for children is called paşa çayı. It is the drink in traditional Turkish breakfast.

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How to make Turkish tea

  • Put water into the kettle (çaydanlık) and put tea leaves (2 / 3 tablespoon) into a ceramic teapot.
  • First boil the water in the kettle (with the teapot on top of it because the heat of the kettle will brew it before you add hot water in the teapot).
  • Then pour the boiling water into the teapot (half of the teapot or less). You can also add a sugar cube to make the tea brew better.
  • Put some more water into the kettle and place it back on the burner but turn the burner down to low heat.
  • Wait 15 / 20 minutes until the water in the kettle boils and the tea in the pot steeps.
  • Pour a little tea and more hot water if you want it weak tea (açık çay) or add more tea and less water if you want it strong tea (demli çay).

Beside the proper tea, following types of tea are also popular in Turkey.

  • Ada Cayı Sage tea.
  • Ihlamur Ihlamur (linden tree) tea made of the flowers and leaves of this tree is another popular herbal tea preferred by Istanbullu. In June you can see people picking up linden flowers on top of the trees in the gardens or some streets where linden trees are planted.
  • Kusburnu Rose hip.

Turkish Tea Dictionary

  • Açık bir çay lütfen. A weak tea, please.
  • Açık bir çay alabilir miyim? Can I have a weak tea?
  • Açık olsun. (Make it) weak please. Çay alabilir miyim? Can I have a çay?
  • Çay istiyorum. I would like a çay.
  • Çay var mı? Do you have any çay?
  • Çay bahçesi open-air cafe, tea garden where tea, coffee and other beverages and fastfood like toast, sandwich are served
  • Çaycı tea maker, seller
  • Çay demlemek to make tea
  • Dem Breath, smell; essence; strong tea. Dem, demli is used for strong tea e.g. demli cay. Demlik tea pot
  • Demli strong (tea)
  • Ince belli Thin, slim waisted; a name given to tea glass.
  • Paşa çayı warm tea for children
  • Semaver samovar
  • Tavşan kani rabbit bloof tea, well-made tea in the color of red
  • Tiryaki addicted, inveterate


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