The process of brewing tea in Turkey is a little different from other parts of the world. The two-part teapot, called a çaydanlık, is used to make the iconic copper-colored tea. In the top part, tea leaves and boiled water sit to steep. In the lower part is plain boiling water, used to dilute the tea. Here’s how to do it:
- Boil water in the lower tea pot.
- For every cup of tea, add a standard teaspoon of black tea to the upper pot. Since the tea glass is special to Turkey, the teaspoon, çay kaşığı, is also a special shape, smaller than the one the rest of the world calls a teaspoon. The standard global teaspoon is called a tatlı kaşığı (dessert spoon) in Turkey.
- Pour boiled water from the lower teapot into the upper teapot, enough to cover the tea leaves. So as not to burn the tea leaves or spoil the taste, let the water cool for a couple of minutes first.
- Let it brew for 15-20 minutes. To check if your tea is ready, look inside the top pot. If the tea leaves are not swimming on the surface anymore, it’s ready to serve. Don't forget to check the tea packaging for brewing times as this can depend on the type of tea you are using.
- Fill one third of the tulip-shaped glasses with brewed tea and dilute it by filling up the rest with boiling water (or dilute to taste).
- Keep the teapot on a low heat until teatime is over.
Brewing tea with cold water
Some people prefer to start brewing with cold water, as they believe this enhances the flavor of the tea. You can do this by following the instructions above and just replacing the hot water in the top pot with cold water. Of course, the brewing time is longer with this method.
- Use a porcelain or copper teapot for a better taste.
- Always use fresh water. Avoid using tap water that is high in calcium.
- Pour the boiled water slowly in circular movements from a distance into the tea leaves.
- You can add a sugar cube to the upper part of the teapot to make it less bitter.
- Do not use the same teapot for herbal teas, as black tea tends to soak in residual flavors.