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Where is Lipton tea from?

Lipton is a British tea brand that produces and sells black tea cultivated in Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, China, and Turkey.

What is the difference between black tea and Earl Grey?

Black tea is produced from the fully oxidized leaves of Camellia Sinensis, and black tea becomes Earl Grey tea when flavored with bergamot oil. Earl Grey tea is called “tomurcuk (bud) tea” in Turkish, and this leads to a common misunderstanding that this kind of tea is made with tea buds. However, Earl Grey tea or tomurcuk tea consists of regular black tea leaves only flavored with bergamot oil.

Can I make Turkish tea with black tea blended with some herbal leaves?

Turkish tea is traditionally made with plain black tea leaves not blended with any herbal leaves. However, sometimes Earl Grey tea or cloves are added to the black tea leaves during brewing. Other than these two flavors, there is no other ingredient traditionally added to Turkish tea while brewing it. However, some people add sugar to their tea glasses while drinking whereas some others drip some lemon juice in it.

You only need black tea leaves and hot water to make Turkish tea. Of course, you may prefer to brew Turkish tea using tea leaves produced in Turkey; however, you should know that what makes Turkish tea Turkish is not where the tea leaves come from but the brewing process identified with the dual teapot set called “çaydanlık” in Turkish, or with samovar. Even in Turkey where domestic tea production dominates the tea market, some families use black tea from other regions of the world such as Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) as special tea to serve their guests.

So, before going into the popular black tea brands you can find in the USA, we should mention that you can learn more about the Turkish tea brewing method via this link, or you can follow this recipe to make Turkish tea with the black tea that suits your palate best.

Popular Black Tea Brands in Turkey

Tea first started to be cultivated in Turkey at the end of the 19th century in Rize province. Rize is still the main producer of tea in Turkey even though the tea cultivation has spread to the other provinces in the north-east of Turkey called Black Sea Region later on. Today, the amount of tea produced in Rize accounts for 85% of the total tea production in Turkey. That means it will probably be from Rize when you buy black tea produced in Turkey.

The best selling tea brand in Turkey is Çaykur. Çaykur sells a myriad of black tea choices from sprout tea to organic black tea and Earl Grey Tea, and it is the most preferred tea brand in Turkey with a market share of around 50%. Below is the list of top 5 tea brands popular in Turkey together with their approximate market shares. All these brands sell tea leaves that are produced in Turkey while Lipton also sells tea from other regions of the world.

  • Çaykur (50%)
  • Lipton (20%)
  • Doğuş (13%)
  • Doğadan (4%)
  • Ofçay (1%)

Since Turkey is one of the biggest producers and consumers of black tea in the world, some of the tea brands popular in Turkey have already made their way into the American tea market. So, you can buy all these tea brands above in the USA, maybe not from all local stores, but from leading supermarket chains or online stores.

Popular Black Tea Brands in the USA

Half of the people living in the USA drink tea every day and 84% of this tea is black tea. Black tea is consumed mostly in the form of iced tea in the USA so most of the tea brands in the USA tea market promote their black tea products as if it is only for iced tea. However, these products can also be used to make hot black tea such as Turkish tea, English tea, Persian tea etc.

On the other hand, there is also a recent growing demand for hot black tea in the USA. This growing demand causes black tea brands promoted to make hot tea to increase in the number on the market. As told before, you do not have to use black tea produced from the tea plants cultivated in Turkey to make Turkish tea, and you can use any black tea. You should choose which black tea you are going to use to brew Turkish tea depending on your palate. So, you can choose the black tea from the popular tea brands in Turkey listed above, or from other tea brands popular for hot black tea in the USA mentioned below, or from any black tea brand promoted for iced tea.

Looking at the black tea market figures, it stands out that Lipton in the USA is what Çaykur is in Turkey. So, Lipton is the leading tea brand in the American tea market and sells different black tea blends as does Çaykur. Below are the list of popular tea brands that sell black tea promoted to make hot tea in the USA. As told before, you can use any of these black tea brands to make Turkish tea.

  • Lipton
  • Twinings of London
  • Harney & Sons
  • Tetley
  • Taylors of Harrogate
  • Ahmad Tea
  • Bigelow
  • Tazo

The Form of Black Tea Leaves to Make Turkish Tea

When talking about which black tea should be used to make Turkish tea, there are some other points that need to be mentioned. First point is whether loose tea leaves or tea bags should be used to make Turkish tea. When you look at the black tea brands above, you will realize that they usually sell tea leaves in both forms.

Turkish tea brewing method has longer brewing time with hotter water than English and Chinese methods, so the water has sufficient time and temperature to infuse almost all flavors in the tea leaves. If you use tea bags to make Turkish tea, the water will infuse the flavor of tea bags which spoil the taste of the tea and destroy the enjoyment of drinking it. Therefore, it is better to use loose tea leaves instead of tea bags to make Turkish tea, and use a strainer to leave the tea leaves behind while serving it. In fact, for any type of tea, you should keep in mind that the best tea always comes from loose tea leaves, and tea bags never deliver the same aroma and taste as loose tea leaves offer!

Another point is that some black tea products come in very small, leaf-like forms. You should be aware of the fact that these leaf-like forms are mostly not real tea leaves but the crumbs or dust of the quality tea leaves. These leaf-like black tea products yield cloudy tea with no enjoyable taste. So, you should use quality black tea leaves instead of these leaf-like products for the best enjoyment from Turkish tea you brew.

Speaking of quality, we should also mention the quality of water to be used to make tea. The quality of water decreases as the chemicals in water increase because they come with their own odor and taste. These chemicals affect the final taste of the tea. So, you should use either distilled or bottled water if the tap water in your region is not of high quality. Please keep also in mind that some bottled water is of poor quality, too.