Turkish Tea: Dark, Rich, and Economically Sustainable

Maybe you’ve heard of Turkish coffee, known for being thick, dark, and rich in flavor. Well, Turkish tea is actually quite similar.

Stack your teapots like so. Photo by iriskh

Stack your teapots, like so. Photo by iriskh

Traditionally made in two kettles, which are stacked on top of one another, the larger bottom kettle is the one that is filled with water. Once boiled, the water is poured into the smaller top kettle, which contains several spoonfuls of tea leaves.

This makes for a strong cuppa, so some of the boiled water is saved in the larger kettle, to be used by each individual tea drinker to dilute the beverage to their preferred tea strength.

At the end of the process, it is acceptable to add a sugar cube, but not milk. This isn’t England.

Turkish tea is served in small, elegantly curving glasses, which must be held by the rim to keep from burning one’s hand.

The tea also has a pleasing color. Katie likes it.

The tea also has a pleasing color. Katie likes it.

So what, aside from preparation, makes this tea Turkish? The leaves are grown on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, which makes the Turks’ tea consumption both homegrown and sustainable.

When I wasn’t drinking black tea, the other option I encountered in Istanbul was apple tea. It tasted like warm apple juice, which is distinct from hot apple cider because it wasn’t spiced. I felt a tad childish drinking a beverage that tasted like warm apple juice, but it was surprisingly pleasant, especially after a satisfying hamam (Turkish bath) experience. (Spoiler alert: there’s a post on that topic coming up next week!)

I call this one "glass of apple tea and hamam-goer in towel."

I call this photo “glass of apple tea and hamam-goer in towel with leopard print candle.”

Upon further research, herbal teas such as this one are served primarily to tourists while the locals stick with the more traditional black tea option.

I’m glad I got to try both because there’s no shame in a little variety.



  1. […] post is from the Katie Little, who was my backpacking buddy for three weeks, and, as such, appears frequently on the blog. When she’s not busy being written about on An Opportune Moment, she’s […]

  2. […] The tea that our hostel always had on offer. The pampering we received at a hammam. The day we spent wandering around the city trying to find a post office to no avail because apparently the people of Istanbul like putting post offices on maps, and then moving them. And then not updating the maps. […]

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