Bir çay, lütfen!

Unfortunately, the erasmus group of our future friends from Turkey has not arrived yet (oh, these procedures). In anticipation of them, I will allow myself to tell one of the most important things in their daily lives – Turkish çay.

Cup of turkish tea served in traditional style with turkish delay on wooden background

Tea, which is an evergreen plant from which tea leaves are obtained, originally grew only in China, Tibet and northern India. Currently, it is grown in many Asian countries – including in India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Burma, Vietnam, Iran and Turkey.

However, it is not always tea that reigned on Turkish tables. Once, coffee was the national drink of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately, the events of the First World War cut off Turkish residents from cheap arabica beans from Ethiopia and other regions. Their import was so expensive that they began to look for a replacement that would reign on Turkish tables. Tea was selected. Economically, it was a very accurate shot, because the eastern Black Sea coast has a moderate climate, heavy rainfall and very fertile soil.

The whole process of making Turkish tea is a bit like brewing in a samovar – we need double kettles – one (bottom) for water, the other – for the essence. Pour tea into the top. The water in the lower pot boiling pair produces and heats the upper teapot, in which the dried tea is located. It is important that the dried tea in the upper teapot is not dry – we pour water on it. Thanks to this, the leaves develop and increase their indifference when heated. We wait for the water in the lower pot to boil.

Waiting is very important here. We are used to drinking tea in a hurry, usually in express bags. But in the cultures celebrating drinking tea, various rituals have developed (eg in China, Gong Fu Cha, the “tea road” in Japan or Five O’Clock in England).

After boiling the water in the lower kettle, pour boiling water over the dried herbs. Top up the kettle with cold water and … wait for it to boil. It can last on low heat for up to 15-20 minutes, the whole process allows you to get a beautiful red, almost amber color of the infusion and a specific smell.

Turkish tea glasses are small, made of thin glass and resemble tulip flowers. It is worth knowing that the tulip is one of the symbols of Turkey – it actually comes from there.

Pour a little essence into a glass and top up with water. It depends on us whether the drink will be weak and light (açık), medium (orta) or strong and dark red (demli). Turkish tea has a strong taste, which is why it is usually served with sugar cubes.

Personally, I recommend drinking hot tea on hot days – it really helps !! Warm tea increases the body’s temperature, and as a result it seems to be cooler than it really is. We sweat less, we feel no thirst.
However, let us not be fooled by the apparent feeling of coolness caused by hot tea. Although we sweat less, but tea has a diuretic effect. Lack of adequate hydration may result in fatigue and weakness. The amount of fluid should be adapted to your lifestyle.

Aleksandra Lelenthal
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European solidarity corpus  
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