Turkey ranks with England and Ireland when it comes to a passion for enjoying tea. And they rival Japan for their tea ritual. Theirs isn’t as complex, but it’s just as important to them. You may find yourself getting drawn into that Turkish tea ritual without even realizing it. Here are some signs:
1 Vocabulary Morphage
Turks love to haggle. It’s an art lost upon many of us here in the U.S. We’re so used to set prices. But there, the store owner will sit you down for tea and a nice session of congenial haggling. No respectable deal can be done otherwise. So, if you find yourself saying things like “no way that car is worth five of my best milking cows,” you may have gone Turkish at tea time. And if you ask for some “Rize tea,” you may be a lot closer than you think to being “Totally Turkish.” (Most tea grown in Turkey is from the Rize area.)
2 Tea Preference Changes
You find yourself craving a strong black or green tea (often steeped for 10-15 minutes and the leaves left in the pot). In Turkey, herbal tisanes are also popular, although mostly with tourists; the most popular are apple (elma çayı), rose hip (kuşburnu çayı), and linden flower (ıhlamur çayı). Sage tisane (ada çayı, also called “island tea”) is most popular in the Mediterranean coastal region. Your choice steering in these directions is a strong indication of your progress toward going “Totally Turkish.” (You can shop locally for many of these.)
3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration
You steep the tea (black or green) up strong and serve in a Caydanlık (a stacked double kettle contraption). The tea goes in the top teapot and hot water is in the bottom pot. The top pot acts as a lid for that bottom pot. The tea is served hot in glasses and without milk but with some cubes of beet sugar.
4 Turkish Tea Time Recipes Dominate
Your tea time treats switch from scones and finger sandwiches to baklava (oozing honey), sweet and savory cookies, pastries, and cakes – all lavishly arrayed. You might also go with some salty biscuits and cookies (tuzlular or “salties”) often covered with sesame seeds, black cumin, and poppy seeds.
5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments
Bright colors are the key. Reds, greens, blues, and yellows dominate. Modesty is another key. Nothing slit down to here or hemmed up to there or so tight that no imagination is needed. Head scarves is a wide variety of styles colors, and patterns are also common. If you find your normally somber hues (I tend to wear a lot of dark colors or black or grey or brown) replaced with these bright hues, and if your wardrobe at tea time is usually described as a notch away from something that would make even Miley Cyrus blush but now would be welcome in the most modest of locations, you have gone Turkish at tea time.
So, how did you do? Have you gone totally “Totally Turkish” yest? If so, just give in and enjoy it!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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