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Can I make Turkish tea without a dual teapot?

Yes and no. It is yes because you can use other pots or pans that can be stacked up on top of each other in your kitchen to make Turkish tea. But it is also no because you have to have a dual system in any case since its steeping should be over a boiling water, not losing or gaining heat. If you steep black tea in a single teapot, then it will be English tea.

What is the difference between Turkish and English tea?

Even though both Turkish tea and English tea is black tea brewed by steeping, they have some differences as well. First of all, their brewing methods are a little bit different. Turkish tea is brewed in a dual teapot which has boiling water under the teapot where steeping is made whereas English tea is mostly brewed in a single teapot. So, Turkish tea saves its heat during steeping while English tea loses its heat, which affects the final flavor and strength of the tea.

Secondly, Turkish tea is served in tulip-shaped small glasses without handles, mostly with sugar and lemon. However, English tea is served in porcelain teacups with handles having milk, sugar and lemon alongside. Milk is never added to Turkish tea.

Since English tea loses heat during brewing, it is cold enough to immediately drink when poured into teacups. Turkish tea, on the other hand, saves its heat during brewing so it is very hot when served so the drinker needs to wait for some time before drinking it to avoid burning his or her tongue and his lips.

Is Turkish tea good for health?

Yes. Turkish tea is black tea so it includes all the health benefits that black tea can offer. Turkish tea helps decrease the risk of cancer and reduce cancerous cells thanks to its flavonoids and theaflavins content. It also helps protect cells from DNA damage due to its polyphenols content. The caffeine level of black tea is lower than coffee so it provides a more balanced alertness boost. Caffeine also eases headaches and promotes mental health.

As for nutritional value, being a black tea Turkish tea contains polyphenols, manganese, fluoride, caffeine, potassium, proteins, carbos, amino acids, and several minerals such as magnesium and zinc. It also contains catechins, tannins, and guanine.

You can have detailed information about the health benefits of black tea in our dedicated blog.

What can I serve with Turkish tea?

You can serve salty or sweet snacks, pastries, cake, and cookies with Turkish tea. They all go very well with Turkish tea.

Is milk added to Turkish tea?

No. You can try it if you want to but Turkish tea is drunk without adding milk.

What other types of teas are made from Camellia sinensis?

The tea types made from Camellia sinensis are white, green, yellow, oolong, black, and dark teas; the white tea being the lightest and the dark tea being the strongest. You can click on their names to see the double tea kettle recipe to make them.

What does a Turkish tea set consist of?

A Turkish tea set usually consists of 6 tulip-shaped tea glasses, 6 saucers, 6 teaspoons, a sugar bowl, and a tray. Some tea sets also include a dual teapot, and a pair of tongs to take sugar without touching.

What kind of teapot should I use to make perfect Turkish tea?

A porcelain teapot is best to make perfect Turkish tea. The material of the lower teapot is not important as long as it is suitable to boil water and strong enough to carry the upper teapot but the upper teapot where the steeping takes place should be porcelain for perfect taste. Having said that, one should also mention the people in Turkey usually use stainless steel dual teapots in their daily lives, not porcelain ones because they are cheaper and live longer.

You can find additional information about teapots in our dedicated blog.

Tea is an aromatic beverage that is made by steeping the leaves of Camellia sinensis in hot water. Camellia sinensis, commonly known as tea plant, tea shrub, or tea tree, is an evergreen shrub native to China, India and other East Asian countries. The earliest record of drinking tea dates back to 3rd century AD in China and then it spread to other East Asian countries. Tea first arrived in Europe in Portuguese ships in the 16th century and it became popular among the English in the 17th century after they started cultivating tea in India.

Even though tea had been known in Europe since the 16th century, it was not a popular drink in Turkey until the 1900s. Coffee was very common but tea was not known by many. Following World War I, coffee became very expensive in the region due to loss of southern territories and the government introduced tea cultivation in some areas of Black Sea Region. As tea cultivation improved, drinking tea became more and more popular in Turkey and reached the popularity of tea in England. Today, the English and the Turkish compete with each other on the highest per capita tea consumption, by far ahead of other nations.

What is Turkish Tea?

Turkish tea is a kind of black tea made from Camellia sinensis cultivated in the north eastern region of Turkey, called East Black Sea Region. It is brewed in a dual teapot and served in tulip-shaped small glasses made of very thin glass. The relatively smaller upper part of the dual teapot has the tea leaves and hot water, and it is the place where brewing is done, while the lower part has boiling water to keep tea hot. This boiling water is also used to adjust the strength of the tea while serving.

Turkish tea is called “çay” (pronounced chai) in Turkish. The words for tea used in different languages today all stem from three original words used in the native region of Camellia sinensis. These original words are “cha” in Cantonese, “teh” in Malay, and “chai” in Central Asian languages and Persian. As they got to know tea, other nations gave it names similar to one in the region they were in contact with. So, the Central Asian and Persian word for tea became the Turkish way of naming the tea.

How to Make Turkish Tea

Turkish tea is brewed in a dual teapot similar to Persian and Russian tea and unlike Chinese tea and English style. This dual teapot has two versions. One is called “çaydanlık” in Turkish and consists of two teapots stacked up on top of each other, the upper one being smaller. “Çaydanlık” can be translated into English as teakettle or tea maker. This type of tea maker is the most common one in Turkey and in Iran. It needs a heat source to make tea so mainly used over a fire or on the stove.

The other version of dual teapot is samovar which is called “semaver” in Turkish. Samovar is the main tea maker used in Russia. The word “samovar” comes from Russian, too. Samovar is also used in Turkey and Iran but to a lesser extent than the dual teapot called “çaydanlık” mentioned above. Unlike “çaydanlık”, samovar has its own heat source so it does not need a fire or stove. It has an additional unit or a dedicated chamber for the heating element which was once ember and fire once now electricity, too. For more information about samovar, you can visit our dedicated blog.

The ingredients of Turkish tea are black tea and hot water. Mostly, domestically grown tea crops are used to make tea in Turkey but, in fact, any black tea of any region can be used according to personal preference. You can learn more about black tea brands from our related blog clicking on this link. Using loose tea leaves as opposed to tea bags is important to have a real tea taste after brewing. If tea bags are used to make tea, the flavor of the material the bag is made of will also be released to the water during steeping so tea will not taste as good as it should be.

As for water, filtered or bottled water produces a better taste compared to tap water which might have some odors and chemical tastes in it. But if you have a quality tap water then you can also use tap water to brew Turkish tea. The quality of the water is more important than how it is supplied to make perfect Turkish tea.

Right after mentioning the ingredients of Turkish tea comes the magic question: what should be the tea-to-water ratio to make Turkish tea? Talking about coffee-to-water ratio is easier because the taste of coffee beans are more predictable. However, the tea-to-water ratio is highly variable and it depends on the different features of the tea leaves you have. The origin, grade, harvesting time, oxidation period, etc. of tea leaves affect the tea-to-water ratio. Personal palate is another point to mention that will affect this ratio as well. So, there is no single answer to this magic question and it is better to find your own ratio by experience to enjoy Turkish tea. Having said that, it should be mentioned there is a general rule used in Turkey to start with. The general tea-to-water ratio used when you do not know tea leaves well is 1:40, which is 1 gr of tea leaves for every 40 ml of boiling water. Starting from this ratio, by increasing or decreasing the amount of tea leaves you can find what suits your palate best.

So, you have a dual teapot, black tea leaves and water, now it is time to brew Turkish tea! To brew Turkish tea, add water to the lower part of your dual teapot, and put it on the stove if it is a regular tea maker, or turn it on if it is samovar. The upper teapot, which is called “demlik” in Turkish, should be on top of it to shorten the boiling time. After the water boils, lower the heat. Take the upper teapot and add loose tea leaves or tea bags to it according to the tea-to-water ratio mentioned above. If there is another ratio you want to try, feel free to try that because you will find what is best for you by experience. Then, pour boiling water over tea leaves making them all wet. Please be aware of the amount of water you pour according to your desired tea-to-water ratio. Close the lid of the upper teapot. If the remaining water in the lower teapot is low, then add some water to it. Put the lower teapot back on the stove and the upper teapot on top of it. The water in the teapot below should be boiling during steeping so increase the heat if necessary. Turkish tea will be ready to serve after 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Serve Turkish Tea

Turkish tea is traditionally served in small tulip-shaped glasses made of very thin glass. When the tea is ready, some tea from the upper teapot is poured into the glass and then some boiling water from the lower teapot is added to it to fill the glass up to the rim. The ratio of tea and water completely depends on personal preference but you can start with a fifty-fifty ratio to find your taste. You should add more tea to have a stronger tea and more water for a lighter taste.

Turkish tea can also be served in Chinese or European style porcelain tea cups with handles. However, this is not common and many people prefer having their tea in classic Turkish tea glasses. This is probably because to see the color of Turkish tea and to have the feeling of thin glass on the lips while drinking it are also part of the pleasure taken from Turkish tea.

Mainly, sugar is the only additional taste added in Turkish tea. It is added by the drinker so it is a custom to put a sugar bowl in the tray you serve tea. However, there are more and more people avoiding the use of sugar in tea nowadays. Some people may also prefer to add very small lemon pieces, or squeeze some drops of lemon juice into their tea but this is less common. Additionally, to a much lesser extent, some people may add a piece of clove to their tea.