For a stranger and especially a Greek who is used to frappe and freddo cappuccino, drinking tea 24 hours a day seems too much and strange. But why shall I drink tea, am I sick? We wonder and we refuse politely.
For a Turk, on the other hand, it is inconceivable not to enjoy his tea at least three times a day. Even in the heat, when the thermometer reaches 40 degrees and you, as a foreigner, are looking for something cold to cool and fight your thirst, these small glass cups with hotly blended tea come and go from morning until nighttime. But you have to watch out, because after three glasses your blood pressure can touch 14.
And while we believed tea was a favorite habit of the English and the Chinese, the Turks come to prove us wrong. In Turkey, tea is a tradition. It is produced on the east coast of the Black Sea in the Rize region and its preparation is a "ritual" that is unacceptable for any Turkish housewife not to be able to perform it perfectly. It is the first household lesson that take girls from their mothers or the older women of the house.
Turkish tea needs time to get ready. It's not just put it in boiling water and finish. After simmering for 15-20 minutes, it is served in a small special tulip-shaped cup, a symbol of the Ottoman Empire and specially designed to preserve and enhance the aroma and taste of black tea.
It is not just the flavor and taste that make it a favorite habit in Turkey. It is a highly tonic drink, giving a temporary energy to the one who drinks it - something like the Italian espresso. Let's not forget that the black tea among other things contains lots of caffeine, potassium, phosphorus, oxidized polyphenols, iron, manganese, magnesium ... and much more.
Like coffee, Turkish tea is offered heavy, medium or light, depending on how you like it. It accompanies breakfast, it comes after lunch as a digestive and as a pleasant afternoon break with cookies and biscuits and finally as a favorite habit in the evening after dinner when the whole family sits in front of the TV and watches with anxiety the sequel of a Turkish television series. Beyond these standard, tea is also the main type of treat for visitors both at home as well as in any professional place. It is offered everywhere and all the time... how is it possible to refuse!