A conversation without tea is like a night sky without a moon.Turkish Folk Saying
We have been in Turkey for the past 2 months and we are loving it. The place is full of history, colour, beauty and the people are so kind and genuine. Tea is a huge part of the Turkish culture. As I have mentioned before in my blog post Top Tea Drinkers, Turkey ranks as the worlds largest tea drinking population per capita, and it isn’t hard to see why. Every where we go in Turkey, be it a walk through the local village, visiting the mariners office, waiting for photos to develop or even the ships chandlery you will be offered a seat and a glass of piping hot Turkish Tea or chai as they call it, while you wait. I am in tea heaven!!
We have discovered lots of different varieties of tea and I have a lot of fun brewing and making notes in my Tea Explorations Journal that my dear sister bought me for Christmas before we left on our adventure.
Elma Cay (pronounced chai) or Apple Tea is one of my favourite finds here in Turkey. I first discovered it in Istanbul about 5 years ago and have been a firm fan ever since. There are lots of varieties and it can be bought in tea bag or granule form. I prefer the granules as I can adjust the amount to my taste.The Apple Tea is made of dried apple pieces which have been fortified with Vitamin C and when brewed, produces a subtle and delicate taste of apples. I find it a sweet and clear apple taste that is warming and relaxing. My chap is a recent convert and is always on the lookout for somewhere to enjoy one of these delightful drinks.
Spiced Elma Cay was a special find, made in granule form it is a combination of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and some other secret ingredients. We met the man who made this blend and he was very proud of it and said it had great health benefits especially for the throat and chest. It certainly has a peppery taste to it and is very enjoyable on a cool evening.
Pomegranate Tea looks fabulous when it is brewed, I popped an infuser in a cup and brewed it for 3 minutes using fresh boiled water at 100 deg Celsius. It has a very pretty, rich red appearance with a moderately fruity aroma and tastes a little tangy, I added a little honey and found it much more enjoyable. Pomegranates are very popular in Turkey, they are grown throughout the country in particular by the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. It is a local belief that the harvest of the pomegranates will bring good luck to the family home.
Bomba Atom Cayi or Atom Bomb Tea as it translates is a herbal tea that is produced in pellets. I was told it was beneficial for winter ailments such as sore throats, chest, coughs etc. It has a pretty impressive ingredient list; Carnation Allspice, Galangal (closely related to Ginger & Turmeric), Clove, Ginger, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Hibiscus and Beet Sugar. This was brewed for 5 minutes as directed, 1 pellet per cup. A lovely fruity aroma, red in appearance, with a mild fruity spicy taste that left a smooth feel. Was understandably warming and felt comforting to drink.
Mistik Chai Tea by Dogus smells divine, cinnamon and cloves are the most obvious but there is a hint of vanilla in there too. I was really looking forward to this and had perhaps over exceeded my expectations. I brewed it for 5 minutes and was still quite disappointed in the lack of body and definition. There almost didn’t seem to be enough tea to sustain the fragrance. I will try again but may add an extra teaspoon of plain black tea to provide some more substance.
Champion Pure Ceylon Tea was another lack lustre experience. I found it to be weak and unexciting which was disappointing. I was however glad I didn’t purchase the beautiful but large tin initially, and chose to buy the much smaller packet – just in case it didn’t live up to expectation!
Turkish Black Tea is brewed quite differently in that they use two stacked kettles called “çaydanlık” specially designed for tea preparation.…. it is like a double boiler with boiling water in the bottom section. Tea leaves are placed in the top section and once the water boils it is poured over the tea leaves and brewed for quite some time, now I know this sounds a little ambiguous but it really depends on the person making the tea. Some brew it for 20minutes or so others for closer to an hour. Either way it is very refreshing and something I really enjoy at any time of the day.
Whenever I have time, I love to curl up with a good book and a pot of tea. I have managed to read a few books over the past weeks and thought I would write a brief synopsis in case you were looking for your next read.
- The Kingfisher Secret by Anonymous – A thriller that will keep you on your toes with a few good twists and turns along the way. Russian spies, seductress, murder, and conspiracies are on every page. Kingfishers mission is to seduce and marry a wealthy man who holds political influences, then she must protect a terrifying secret. Easy to read but totally captivating.
- Third Degree by Greg Iles – I am a long time fan of Greg Iles so was happy to find this book. A fantastic thriller with infidelity, murder, deceit, medical malpractice, action, romance and intrigue all thrown in together. Greg Iles takes us on a journey behind the doors of the ‘perfect family’ where a local Dr and his schoolteacher wife look from the outside, to have everything anyone could ever want…but do they really? I couldn’t put this book down, it kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
- Little Black Dress by James Patterson – This is a Book Shot or a short story if you like. Straight to the point, fast and furious. Easy to ready and perfect for a short trip or when time doesn’t allow you to get to in-depth in a novel.
- An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell – Not my normal genre but a nice change of pace. Young love over ruled by an overbearing mother, re-connections as life goes on and the paths that we take in life and how they come to affect us. It has humour, romance, deceit and heartbreak all rolled into an enjoyable novel that really does make you smile as you read it.
Disclosure: Occasionally I link to companies using affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and chose to make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate you supporting my blog ♥
© 2019-2020 Justine Warne and The Tea Chest Blog. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. If you would like to use posts, excerpts, photos and links, you may contact me first. Full and clear credit is to be given to ‘Justine Warne’ and/or ‘The Tea Chest Blog’ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.