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What is Turkish Tea and How to Make it ?

Posted by david on 18 February 2022
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In this article you will find information about Turkish Tea. Furthermore we provide some tips on how to make Turkish Tea with some easy recipe steps:

What is Turkish Tea (Çay)?

Turkish tea is a special method of cooking and presenting tea. In every home in Turkey this tradition is very well known. This kind of black tea is produced locally and it grows in the Eastern Black Sea coast. The type of tea is also called Turkish tea among the local people. The powder is brewed with roasted black tea and served in distinctive small glasses known as “thin waist”. In this method, tea is made using a two-piece teapot or samovar.

Brewing method and service

Turkish tea is usually cooked in a teapot placed over an open flame. Water is placed in the big container (teapot) and tea is placed in the other container. Since the teapot is placed on the lower part of the teapot, it is heated by the heat of the water below. When the water boils, a strong tea is obtained by pouring it over the tea powder. If water is added too much, a light tea is obtained, if it is added less, a thick tea is obtained. According to some, in order to increase the quality of aroma, some people should put tea and some water into the teapot from the beginning. After adding the tea and boiled water to the teapot, the remaining water in the teapot is completed with cold water and the brewing continues. The longer the steeping, the darker the brew and the more bitter it will taste. The amount of caffeine in Turkish style tea is higher than other tea brewing methods due to excessive brewing, and the taste of the tea is bitter.

Tea is in general not served in a ceremonial manner like in eastern societies of Turkey, it is a simple process in daily life. During the service, first brew, then water is poured into small glass, called tea glasses, and sugar is added last. The brew rate is adjusted according to the request of the person during the service. In Turkish tea service, sliced ​​lemon is also added to the service.

There are regional differences regarding the service of tea. For example, a gap called “lip share” is left on the tea glass in the Tokat region. Around Erzurum, the leaves are filled from a teapot without straining, it is usually served light-coloured and without a spoon, and small pieces of sugar are kept in the mouth and melted while drinking tea. This method is called restraint.

Tea production in Turkey

Turkey is one of the 30 countries in the world where tea plants are grown and economically tea is produced; as of 2021, it exports tea to 60 countries.

Tea cultivation in Turkey is carried out in the Eastern Black Sea Region, from the Georgian border to the Fatsa district of Ordu province. Rize alone meets 85% of Turkey’s tea production; other provinces where tea is grown are Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon and Artvin. Unlike tropical and equatorial regions, where tea farming can be done for 12 months, tea is produced only 6 months of the year in Turkey (the harvest period that starts in May every year is completed in October or November).

Tea Districts in Turkey

Although there have been some attempts to grow tea in Turkey since the beginning of the 20th century, the history of tea production in the country dates back to the 1940s. The first known attempt to grow tea was during the Ottoman Empire, during the reign of Sultan II. It was realized with the planting of tea saplings and seeds brought from the Far East during the reign of Abdulhamid in Bursa; however, this attempt was inconclusive due to the unsuitable ecological conditions. In 1918, botanist Ali Rıza Erten, one of the instructors of Halkalı Higher Agricultural School, and Zihni Derin, General Manager of Agriculture after the First World War, conducted research on growing tea in the Eastern Black Sea Region. As a result of Zihni Derin’s work in Rize, the first tea nursery was established in 1923. The following year, again with Zihni Derin’s efforts, “Law No. 407 on Growing Hazelnut, Orange, Tangerine, Lemon and Tea in Rize Province and Borcka District” was accepted. However, this initiative did not continue due to adverse economic conditions. The unfinished venture was revived with the work of a delegation from Ankara Faculty of Agriculture, which was sent to the region in the second half of the 1930s. Raşit Hatipoğlu, who was in the delegation, wrote a book called “Tea Economy in Turkey”; after these studies, the first fresh tea leaf harvest and large-scale dry tea production in Turkey started in 1938. The first tea factory in Rize was ordered to England in 1940. It was opened in 1947 with tea machines that were bought but could be sent after World War II. Dry tea production in Turkey became sufficient to meet domestic consumption in 1965 and tea imports stopped. After this date, tea exports began.

Largest Tea Markets in the World

In 2004, Turkey became one of the largest tea markets in the world, with a tea production of 205,500 tons (6,4% of the world’s total tea production). In addition, in 2004, Turkey ranked first in the world with 2.5 kg tea consumption per capita, followed by England with 2.1 kg per capita.

Tea Statistics

According to the 2018 data of the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2% of the world’s tea farming areas are in Turkey and Turkey has a 4% share in world tea production in 2018. Turkey, which produced 1.45 million tons of tea in 2019, ranked 31st in the world’s tea exports with 3968 tons of exports.

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