Thursday, December 13, 2007

Turkish tea

There is Turkish coffee in Istanbul, but most people drink tea. All day. Go to a café, drink tea. Finish a meal, drink tea. Have a conversation, drink tea. Turks make tea in a samovar, as Russians do. Or, more often these days, they make it in a samovar-like double pot. Strong pot of tea, pot of hot water, mix the two. There is always sugar available. No milk or lemon. They drink tea here in glasses, not the straight ones in filigree metal holders of Russia, but much smaller tulip-shaped ones, often brought on a china saucer.

"Tea" in Turkish is çay, pronounced chai (the way your local coffee shop pronounces that word, not the way it is pronounced in Hebrew). Same word as in Russian and several languages of India. (That's right, chai just means "tea," so "chai tea" is incorrect. But --in the U.S. and in India-- chai or masala chai is indeed Indian-style spiced tea.)


johnieb said...

What kinds of tea are available? Standard Black?

"Tea" in my native region is almost as ubiquitous; it is served in a glass, but with ice (usually too much) and enough sugar to surpass a supersaturated solution, thus the half-inch deposit at the bottom of the glass. Lemon is usually available, though milk or cream is unheard of.

Yes, you have encountered this curious culinary tidbit, O worldly traveler Jane, but others may not.

Anonymous said...

YAY! I'm a tea drinker! I'd love that about Turkey.

Also, I have solved my Turkish banning - it appears that ALL Wordpress blogs are banned due to some rich dude who is a creationist freaking out and buying off the courts! BUT, you can get around that by going here:

That site gets you around the ban. HMPH.

Anonymous said... can email me at beezerama32 at yahoo dot com or episcopalifem at gmail dot com should you ever need or want to!

Jane R said...

Thanks, Eileen. (I also wrote you off-blog.) Very interesting! The various blogeroo discussions seem to indicate that it was also an incompetence issue: the government here wanted to ban one single WordPress blog but some mid-level employee threw out the baby with the bathwater and banned all of WordPress. (And the baby and bathwater expression is not mine, but the phrase used by one of the commentators.) Nevertheless, YouTube is also banned - my host says she'd heard of that and there was something offensive about Ataturk, the father of the nation, on there.

You'd love the tea. Also the little bitty tasty pastries they serve with it a lot of the time. The calories don't count -- there are lots of hills to climb in this city (I'm staying at the bottom of a semi-steep hill and at the top of a flight of very steep stairs, stairs instead of a street, I mean) so you burn off the baklava. :-)

Yes, JohnieB, basic black tea.

Others are available of course. There is herbal tea galore where I am staying but we drink it in cups or mugs. However, the tea in the little tulip glasses is black tea. Sweet, but nothing like Southern sweet tea. And they generally let you sweeten it yourself with little cubes of sugar.