tea and coffee, Istanbul
Being a coffee lover, I assumed that I was going to love Turkish coffee. But after my first glass of Turkish tea (cay), I was hooked!! We found every excuse to stop in one of the many cafes for a glass or two several times a day - so relaxing!!
Cay is served with sugar but no milk. It is served in a smallish tulip shaped glass (some have handles). There are flavored teas as well - apple, mint, rosehip, etc. but we stayed with the non-flavored tea.
Don't forget to purchase tea leaves to bring home for delicious memories to last long after your trip!
Tea is the national hot drink of Turkey. In Turkey, tea is not drunk from porcelain cups or mugs but in glass cups.
There are two types of tea: "koyu cay", the strong one and "acik cay" the light one. Beisdes that , one that is very popular with tourists is the "elma cayi", an apple tea. You can find this anywhere in Turkey. They sell them in small packets.
You can also buy tea from the "tea men" , who abound in Sultanahmet, next to the mosques, dressed with typical colourful clothes.
I found the famous turkish coffee a delicious drink! I drank many while I was in Istanbul.
It's not only a drink it's a ritual! Turkish coffee is prepared with the coffee powder and also served with it. The powder sinks to the bottom of the cup and you can appreciate the delicious coffee. It's very strong but very differnt from our regular coffee. I had mine with almost no sugar, bitter, and loved it!
Year round - winter, spring, summer or fall – tea served in little gold-rimmed glasses is the most popular beverage in Istanbul. It is offered on every conceivable occasion. With a Polish mother-in-law, I am used to the idea of every meal ending with a steaming hot glass of tea. But the Turkish custom goes beyond mealtime. It seems to accompany all human interaction. Shopkeepers offer you tea to draw you into their shops and get you to look at their wares. No transaction is closed without an offer of tea. The men huddled around their backgammon games in outdoor cafes always have glasses of tea within arm’s reach. Tea sellers walk around the parks and bazaars balancing brass trays laden with glasses of tea.
Turkey, of course, is not alone in its tea obsession. The English, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Russians – they all love their tea and have invented all sorts of ceremonies and rituals to go along with it. Turks drink their tea dark and sweet, and without milk. But “elma chay” - apple tea - is the tea of choice for many tourists.
Now, I’m not knocking apple tea. I liked it very much and drank a lot of it in Istanbul. But here’s an interesting factoid for you. It’s not tea. It’s hot apple juice.
At a restaurant near our hotel on our first night in Istanbul, we did have “apple tea” brewed from teabags. This is what tea mavens would call a “fruit infusion.” To qualify as real tea, the beverage in question must be made from the leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis. All the other “apple tea” we drank in Istanbul was simply apple syrup diluted with boiling water.
One thing I really got into while in Istanbul was drinking tea almost every chance I got. Drinking tea is almost mandatory here. Nevermind the fact the fact that it is really tasty, if you like very strong, hot tea that is, but here having a glass of tea is more of a social experience. People in restaurants, places of business, cafes, even on the street, enjoy striking up a conversation while sipping tea. The tea is traditionally served in a small tulip-shaped glass, with a small spoon to stir in sugar cubes. You can get it either "koyu", strong, or "açik", weak, then dump in as many sugar cubes as you like. While trotting around Istanbul, make a few stops along the way and enjoy a refreshing glass of tea!
After having your meal in Istanbul, you will be asked if you would like to have something to drink.. Many restaurants are offering Tea and Turkish coffee services at the end of the dinner free of charge.. So you shall enjoy the taste of the Turkish coffee..
Turkish coffee is well known through worldwide.. Though it tastes like an espresso, it has a different taste and smell..
There are many ways to make Turkish coffee, but most agree that the most reliable method for producing consistently good coffee is to fill a 250 ml. Finjan to within 2 1/2 cm. of it with cold water. To the water, before heating, add 4 or more heaping teaspoons of coffee. For moderately sweet coffee 2 tsp. of sugar should be added. The mixture should then be stirred and put on a high flame. As the mixture approaches a first boil it should be removed from the flame for a few moments to let the foam settle. One should take care not to let the mixture boil over, for this will result in a very messy stove top. :)
When you are in Istanbul or somewhere in Turkey, you will see many times you will be ofered something to drink such as tea, Turkish coffee or apple tea.. This comes from the hospitality of the Turks, you will not be asked to pay for them or you will not be asked to buy anything as you have been offered something.
Enjoy your drink..
Tea is an unbreakable habbit in Turkey. It is also a way of socilaising. You will be offered tea while shopping, waiting, or just for conversation. Although it is not extremely rude not to accept, it still makes them feel self concious. It does not mean that you have to buy something or that you absolutely have to talk to them. It is just a way of welcoming you.
Turkish tea may be strong for most foreigners. In that case ask for "açýk çay" (ach-uhk chay) meaning light tea.
Turkish coffee is another offering that people get from locals. It is a strong type of coffee, so it is served in small "fincan" 's. The sugar is added during preperation, so you may want to tell them how you want it done.
"sade" - no sugar
"az sekerli" - very little sugar
"orta sekerli" - medium
"çok sekerli" - with lots of sugar
If you are given the coffee without them asking your preference, it is most likely to be medium.
DO NOT stir or mix the coffee in any way. Don't drink till the end or you will end up with a sandy texture.
Turkish coffee is also used for fortune-telling. This is done by placing the saucer over the "fincan" and turning it upside down. After it cools down the fortune-teller reads from the sediment left at the bottom of the "fincan".
At first I thought that people drink coffee here, because of the famous Turkish Coffee, but I was wrong. Instead it's TEA!
It's a trdition of drinking tea in Turkey I would say. Like in England or China, the tea drinking became part of the Turkish culture.
People drink tea here all day long, in the winter and in the summer, morning or evening! And the tea is really tasty, generally served in special small tea glass.
It is served at home, in any restaurant, at working places, and even in the street, at bus stations, and many many other places - ANYWERE!
I must tell you I have tasted so nice tea here!
I love strong coffee so I really love Turkish coffee. It is the perfect way to end a meal, particulary if accompanied by some Baklava.
If you want to buy some coffee to take home with you I would recommend Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi (Tahmis Caddesi 66, very near the Spice Bazaar). Smells lovely and tastes even better!
Original Turkish coffee is not made in a coffe machine but in a special kind of pot,called "djezve".You put the pot on the hot-plate,full with water/2 cups/ and 2-3 tea spoons of coffee.Then it starts heating and when starts boiling,the water moves up and you should remove it.The coffee is ready and you can serve it.This way it keeps it's taste.
Yes I drank TEA, hard to believe, me an American who has not drank Tea since we threw all the English tea into the sea in Boston....^O^
But here in Turkey it is the national drink...yes TEA, not Coffee, even though the coffee is called "Turkish Coffee". The tea has no special name, just TEA. It is usually served in a small hourglass shaped glass with several cubes of sugar alongside. If you get served the tea in a procelin cup with handle it means they have spotted a tourist and it costs 3-4 times as much. Most of the places served for 1-1.5 Turkish Lira and on the ferry boat it was only 0.5...but in the "fancy" places we saw it for 5-6 and even 7...
One of the hardest things for western tourists to accept is the offer of tea by carpet merchants and other stall owners - particularly if you have no intention of buying! There is an automatic assumption that the merchant is going to try and get you to sign your life away. There's no doubt that there are some who would like to do this, but generally, if you are honest from the beginning ('I don't want to buy anything') there are merchants who simply want to talk. I met both types - the unscruplulous and the openly friendly. With the former you can make a quick(ish) exit, with the latter, an hour or so of perfectly enjoyable discussion. Create the time - it can add an extra 'something' to your time in Istanbul.
When you ask a Turkish citizen to think of Turkish coffee, "Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi" is the one brand which always comes to mind.
Named after its founder, "Mehmet Efendi", the company is one of the most well known brands in the country and has been specialising in top quality roasted and freshly ground coffee for over 130 years.
Now run by the grandchildren of Mehmet Efendi, this richly decadent coffee remains wildly popular in Istanbul, and makes for a perfect gift for yourself or others.
The coffee comes in three varieties: "Filter", "Espresso" and "Turkish Coffee" and is packaged in 100g, 250g and 500g boxes. There is also cacao available.
"Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi" can be purchased online or in person from their store next to the "Spice Bazaar".
Customers are advised to follow their nose, for the rich scent of coffee will take you to this narrow but always crowded store on the backstreets of "Eminonu". There is often a line running down the street with keen locals looking to stock up on Turkish coffee.
You can go there as walking through the main Eminonu entrance of the Spice Bazaar. Just before you reach the end, turn right and the "Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi" store is straight ahead.
I strongly advise you to taste this great coffee ... :)