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Making Turkish tea is an enjoyable and easy way to bring a unique flavor to your home. Traditionally served in small glasses, this tea is prepared with a special blend of black tea leaves. It requires few ingredients and very little time, so you can have a cup of authentic Turkish tea at home in no time!
If you’ve ever been to Türkiye and had a cup of their famous tea, you know it’s an experience like no other. It’s a staple in Turkish cuisine.
Traditional Turkish tea is a delicious hot beverage made with black tea leaves and undergoes a unique brewing process. Now, with just a few simple steps, you can make your own traditional Turkish tea from the comfort of your own home.
With its unique flavor, aroma and intricate preparation process, this traditional beverage is sure to please. Making authentic Turkish tea at home is easier than you think. If you’re a tea lover, you’ve got to try it!
We recently spent 5 weeks in Istanbul, and being a tea lover, I not only drank cups and cups of traditional Turkish tea in cafes and restaurants, I learned how to make it in our apartment. I also brought some back to the US so I can make it at home.
In this article I’ll show you where to buy typical Turkish tea outside of Türkiye and how to make it in your own home.
About Turkish Tea
Turkish tea is an infusion of black tea leaves made from Camellia sinensis that is steeped in boiled water. It’s brewed in two stacked teapots or a dual teapot (çaydanlık is the Turkish name) that is specifically designed for tea preparation.
The top pot is where the tea leaves are steeped while the lower pot is where the water is boiled. The hot water simultaneously keeps the tea warm and gives it its distinct strong flavor. This continuous brewing and heating process is what makes for such a unique tea.
The tea is then served in small tulip-shaped tea glasses. Turkish tea glasses are typically made of thin, clear glass. Tea is usually served with optional sugar, but never with milk. A few times it was served to me with a lemon slice. I typically drink it straight with no additions.
Tea plays an important role in Turkish culture. Turkish tea has a long and rich history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. But it only became popular and widely consumed following World War I when coffee became more expensive and the government increased tea cultivation in the region. To this day, Turkish people have the highest per capita tea consumption.
The tea industry is a big part of the country’s economy since they are also one of the largest tea producers in the world. Tea production of their high quality black tea primarily takes place in the eastern Black Sea coast where ideal conditions are present, like mild climate and fertile soil.
The different types of tea are then processed and packaged in factories to be widely sold everywhere locally. Some of the most popular teas, like Caykur Tea, are also exported to many other countries and available in many specialty tea shops abroad.
Tea culture is deeply woven into aspects of social life and hospitality in Turkey. Drinking tea is a common social activity and is used to bring together people. Serving tea to guests is especially seen as a symbol of Turkish hospitality.
There are even tea houses and tea gardens, gathering places for people to socialize or wind down with a cup of tea. Recently, these places have also become popular for tourists wanting to taste and experience authentic Turkish tea. You can also find tea at pretty much every restaurant or cafe.
What’s special about Turkish tea?
Its brewing process. Turkish tea is prepared in a dual teapot where the tea is kept continuously hot.
What’s Turkish tea made of?
A blend of black tea leaves from Camellia sinensis. It’s steeped in hot water and often enjoyed with sugar.
Does Turkish tea have a lot of caffeine?
Turkish tea does have caffeine. The caffeine content depends on how you brew it, how strong you like your tea, and how much you consume.
Does Turkish tea have sugar?
Yes, Turkish tea is typically served with sugar. But whether you add it to your tea is up to you.
Where can I buy authentic Turkish tea?
On Amazon! You can buy this popular brand of tea to make at home.
What You Need to Make this Recipe
- Turkish tea (loose leaf) – You can easily find and buy real Turkish tea on Amazon. We recommend this popular brand. It’s a great choice because it’s all-natural, organic black tea from the Black Sea region.
- Sugar (optional)
- Turkish tea pot – this typical Turkish dual tea pot is made of stainless steel. The top pot has a self-strainer so you can easily filter the tea leaves. The bottom pot is flat with a removable lid, making it stable for stovetops, and it has an insulated layer that will hold the heat for a long time.
- If you prefer electric kettles, there are also electric Turkish dual teapots available in the market. This one is also made of stainless steel and has a huge capacity of 1L, perfect for serving large groups. The kettle I used in our apartment was electric. We used it every day to make various hot drinks.
- Turkish tea glasses and saucers – this simple, classic Turkish tea set contains a set of 6 glasses and 6 saucers made of good quality material. They’re made of plain, tempered glass and are the typical size and style that you’d find in Türkiye.
- Small spoons – Turkish tea is always served with small spoons like these.
If you don’t have a dual Turkish tea pot, don’t worry. You can still make Turkish tea. The benefit of a dual tea pot is that you can boil water in the kettle, which keeps the tea hot as it brews. This enables you to serve the tea piping hot and makes authentic Turkish tea.
If you want to try making Turkish tea and don’t have a dual tea pot, you have a couple options.
- Boil water in a pot on the stove. When you’re ready to brew the tea, invert the lid so you can place a tea pot on the lid. The simmering water in the pot will keep the brewing tea in the tea pot warm.
- You can also simply keep your tea pot warm as possible while the brews. When serving the tea, leave a little room to add piping hot water to the tea glass. Add just enough to warm up the tea but not so much that it dilutes the tea. This won’t be totally authentic Turkish tea but it will give an idea of what it’s like.
How to Serve Turkish Tea
- Pour tea into small tulip-shaped glasses and place on small saucers. Add a small spoon.
- Serve tea very hot.
- Serve with a bowl of sugar cubes on the side so everyone can decide how much sugar to put.
- Optional: serve with bite-sized cookies, Turkish delight or other sweet treats.
How to Store Turkish Tea
Store loose leaf tea in a sealed container and keep it in a cool, dark cabinet.
It’s not recommended to reheat or serve brewed tea that has been sitting on the stove for more than 2-3 hours as it will have a stale and bitter taste. It’s better to brew a fresh pot.
How to Make Turkish Tea at Home
Here’s our step-by-step guide for preparing the best Turkish tea at home using a dual Turkish tea pot.
If you don’t have a Turkish tea pot, you can use a pot on the stove to boil water and then set a tea pot on an inverted lid placed on the pot.
Fill the electric kettle with water and heat until it begins to boil. While the water is heating up, add tea leaves to the tea pot. When the water has started boiling, pour over the tea leaves.
Now take the lid off of the electric kettle and add more water to the kettle. Place the tea pot on the kettle where the lid was. Turn the kettle back on and bring the water to a boil. The boiling water keeps the tea in the tea pot nice and hot while its brewing.
Let the tea leaves steep in the hot water for about 12 minutes. When it reaches a rich amber color, the tea is ready to be served.
Take the tea pot off of the kettle. Fill each tea glass with hot water to warm the glass, then discard the water.
Pour tea into each tea cup. If you prefer strong tea, fill glass with tea. If you prefer weaker tea, fill half or 2/3 of cup with tea and the rest with hot water.
Serve tea with cubes of sugar on the side and small sweet treats like Turkish delight or simple cookies, if desired.
Making Turkish tea is a great way to experience the culture and tradition of Türkiye from anywhere in the world. Give it a try today!