Turkish tea
Turkish tea

Flavors of Turkey

Despite the belief that all Turks drink Turkish coffee at every hour of the day, tea is actually Turks’ main source of caffeine. It is prepared in a particular way: infused in a double boiler and served in small transparent cups that keep the tea very hot while allowing you to appreciate the deep red color. Tea drinking is inseparable from the work day, to the extent that any interruption in the fresh tea supply would certainly be detrimental to productivity. There is a story that one day a lion escaped from the Ankara zoo and took up residence in the basement of an office building. He began eating office workers and managers, even a few ministers, but no one seemed to care. However once the lion devoured the tea man (çayci), responsible for providing fresh tea, a posse formed immediately!

A park without tea is inconceivable in Turkey. Every vista is accompanied by a tea house or tea garden: set beneath a plane tree facing the town or village square, on top of a hill offering a majestic view over a valley or the ocean, beside a port, in the marketplace, alongside a panoramic drive, near a waterfall or in the forest… Istanbul’s most characteristic tea gardens are at Emirgan on the European side of the Bosphorus and at Çamlica on the Asian side, as well as the famous Pierre Loti café and the Usküdar tea garden.

Women meet regularly in the afternoon to have tea. These are formal parties with at least a dozen kinds of cakes, pastries, savories, sweets and börek all made by the hostess. The women swap news and recipes… as well as a little gossip.


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