“Conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon”, the famous Turkish folk saying expresses it all! Turkey, undoubtedly, is a smorgasbord of sound, scent and taste. And Turkish Rize tea is not just a beverage there; it is a tradition in itself that dates back its origin to around 5000 years in the tea history. An emotion for people, this magical tea is an indispensable part of every social gathering, breakfasts or business meetings. Although Turkish coffee is widely popular across the world, Turks have given their heart to their local beverage- Turkish Rize tea.
What is Turkish Rize Tea?
Turkish Rize tea, called çay is a kind of black tea that is grown in the Rize Valley of Turkey. It is also popularly known as ‘Rize tea’ as it is cultivated in the Rize province nestled on the eastern Black Sea Coast, which offers a mild climate with high precipitation and fertile soil. Today, Turkey is ranked as the fifth largest tea producing country across the world.
The love of Turks for Turkish Rize tea is unstoppable; in fact, they have made their own way of preparing and consuming this drink, which has led to the famous Turkish tea culture. Whether you are a visitor, traveler or a Turk, it will be served to you as a sign of hospitality, love and friendship. A fundamental part of the social life, Turkish tea also plays a major role in the domestic economy of the nation.
Turkish Tea Benefits
Tea is known to be the second most consumed beverage after water; it gives you instant energy, soothes your taste buds and relaxes your body! Don’t you like a fresh cup of brewed tea in the morning to kick start your day?
Well, most of the people love morning tea and if it’s black tea, the health benefits get multiplied. A massive hit among the folks of Turkey and all around the world, the Turkish Rize tea benefits are not just limited to social gatherings, but it also accounts for ample of health benefits.
This hot beverage reduces the risks of diabetes and obesity while providing a healthy amount of antioxidants to the body.
Black tea is known to have a stronger flavor as compared to the less oxidized teas. In many countries, including China, black tea is also referred to as “red tea” owing to the color of the liquid.
However, in the Western term, black tea signifies the color of the oxidized leaves. In Turkey, both the terms are used i.e. ‘black’ when mentioning the type of tea and ‘red’ when talking about the quality of the brewed black tea.
It has been observed that the green tea usually loses its flavor within the duration of one year; black tea can retain its flavor for many years.
There are many Turkish Rize tea benefits and it should be consumed regularly for a healthy heart and blood vessels. It consists around 70% of flavonoids, which minimizes the production of LDL (bad cholesterol) that leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Further, the Turkish Rize tea also lowers down the blood platelet activation that is involved in the blood clot formation. Besides being a rich source of flavonoids, Turkish Rize tea is also found to have polyphenols, powerful antioxidants helpful in blocking the DNA damage associated with toxic chemicals consumption.
Among the various Turkish Rize tea benefits, a lower risk of obesity and diabetes is a major one. It has been observed that people, who consume moderate amounts of the tea (one to two cups a day) for quite a long time, are likely to have 70% lower chances of developing type-2 diabetes.
Drinking Turkish tea has always been associated with stress relief; black tea is naturally found to have relaxing and calming properties. Due to the presence of amino acid L-theanine in the tea, it helps you to slow down after a stressful day and concentrate better.
And when consumed in moderate amounts for a long duration, the black tea is known to reduce the levels of the stress hormone called “cortisol”. Looking at the bigger picture, Turkish tea benefits are so many that it is certainly a medicinal powerhouse for people.
What is the Taste of Turkish Tea?
Turkish rize tea is too strong and full-flavored to be served in big-sized cups; therefore, it is always served in small tulip-shaped glasses that can be held by the rim to avoid fingertips from burning. It is totally up to your taste whether you want to savor it lighter or stronger as the beverage is prepared by pouring very strong tea into the glass and water is mixed to the desired strength. You can have sugar with the Turkish tea but no milk!
How to Prepare Turkish Tea?
As interesting the Turkish tea sounds, its preparation is also unique! The Turks prepare this tea in the traditional way, i.e. a two-tire steel pot known as “caydanlik” is used. The larger or the bottom part of the double-pot is used to boil water while the loose-leaf tea is steeped in the smaller or top pot. Allow the tea to brew for 10-15 minutes; the tea is ready for serving into small tulip-shaped beautiful glasses either to a quarter or one-third amount.
The joy of drinking Turkish Rize tea in the small tulip-shaped glass is simply incomparable. Around 400 million of these glasses are sold in the country each year (taking an average of six glasses per person).
Although there is no origin related to the shape of these glasses, it allows the drinker to enjoy the rich crimson color of the tea as seen from the transparent glass. In fact, these tiny glasses have become a part of the daily lives of Turks owing to the fact that these are used for measurement while preparing recipes.
Does Turkish Tea have Caffeine?
Like all other teas, Turkish Rize tea (which is a black tea) also has caffeine content. It is roughly estimated that per 240 ml or a cup of black tea consists of 25-110 mg of caffeine. However, steeping duration and water temperature also influence the amount of caffeine. Longer steeping time and hotter water release more caffeine amount in your tea.
Caffeine in Turkish Rize tea, if consumed in appropriate amounts, can provide you with several health benefits like stress-release, heart protection, fat burning and building muscles. It is also known to provide relief from body pains and headaches. Contrary to this, there are side effects of caffeine too; thus it is imperative to consume right doses of black or any tea.
Tea Cultivation History of Turkey
Tea consumption has become a popular choice among the Turks, recently, in the 1930s. It was in 1878 that the governor of Adana, Mehmet Izzet had published the Çay Rişalesi (Tea Pamphlet) elaborating the health benefits associated with drinking tea. Post this, many tea houses came into existence, but coffee was still the preferred beverage among the Turkish people at that time.
In 1923, when the Ottoman Empire era ended, the Turks lost Mocha in Yemen and so it became expensive to import coffee. During that time, the founder of Turkey, Atatürk encouraged tea consumption over coffee, which became unavailable after the World War I.
Coffee had to be imported from Brazil, which turned out to be costly affair while tea was domestically sustainable beverage. By this time, the Turks moved towards tea and found the Rize province located on the eastern Black Sea Coast that offered favorable conditions for tea cultivation. It was in 1924 when the initial tea plantation was started in the Rize Valley with tea seeds brought from Georgia, the neighboring country to Turkey. And rest as they say is history!
Tea Culture History of Turkey
On the bustling streets of Turkey, you can easily spot people enjoying this crimson colored tea in pretty tulip-shaped glasses. Turkish Rize tea has become an inseparable part of the social life here; from auspicious occasions to street vendors shouting Çay is a common sight. The Turks can be seen savoring this hot beverage at social meetings, at work, when visiting or entertaining guests. At workplaces, often an employee is hired just to make the Turkish tea and coffee for the staff.
Served in a tiny tulip-shaped traditional glass, the Turkish tea is offered generally with few sweetmeats. In the Eastern part of the nation, people place a sugar cube beneath their tongue before sipping the tea from the glass instead of adding sugar in the liquid.
Turkish tea is popularly served in cafés by a çaycı (tea-waiters). Regular tea- drinking Turks can often be found at a tea house or a tea garden where it is offered with a samovar (Turkish: samever) or urn; people can refill their glasses on their own as per their wish.
Tea culture in Turkey is a part of the social events, especially in the remote areas. Wedding celebrations are held in the tea gardens and bridal showers are considered incomplete without the samovars of Turkish tea.
Turkish Rize tea is not only popular in the country from where it has its roots, but this delicious and refreshing tea is widely acclaimed all across the world. An integral part of the daily routine, it has become the cultural part of the people. Serving of Turkish tea depicts the warm hospitality of a family to its guests and is equally enjoyed over business conversations by entrepreneurs.
Tea gardens have become one of the most enjoyable places for social meetings among kids as well as adults. Apart from Turkish Tea benefits, the hot beverage has made Turkey famous throughout the world for its impeccable tea cultivation. Turkish tea is no doubt an asset to Turkey in a myriad of ways!
Why to wait too long to taste this wonderful beverage – Turkish tea?
Here, I’m going to tell you some best Turkish Rize tea brands from two well-known Turkish Tea Manufacturing Companies, which you can buy online.
Caykur: It’s a Turkish state owned tea manufacturing company based on Rize, Turkey. Caykur’s tea products are produced as per European standard and free from pesticides. Their tea gardens are located at the snow covered slopes of the Black Sea Region of Rize valley. Caykur’s tea products are exported under European organic BIOSIEGEL level.
- Caykur Black Tea, Altinbas: It’s the most popular Turkish loose leaf black tea brand and free from pesticides. It provides a strong tasty flavor with nice dark amber color.
- Special Turkish Tea (Filiz Tea) 500g: This brand also very popular in Turkey and it’s free from chemical and other additives. To get the best taste and aroma it’s recommended to mix this with Earl Grey Tea and drink as a blended tea.
- Caykur Rize Tea – 500g: It’s a loose black tea brand that offers very gentle taste and flavor. It’s not so bitter and astringent regardless of its steeping time. It’s also free from pesticides.
- Caykur Organic Hemsin Turkish Tea in Metal Can, 400gr – 0.9 Lbs: This brand is also pesticides free and popular and favorite for many tea lovers. It offers a very good brisk taste and earthy aroma while brewed.
Marmara: It’s also very popular brand name in food and beverage business in Turkey. It’s a family owned tea growing and manufacturing company based on Marmara, Turkey. Marmara produces and grows tea in natural way without using pesticides and chemicals.
Marmara has two distinctive Turkish tea products. One is purely based on camellia senensis and the other is herbal tea based on Sage leaves.
- Marmara authentic loose Turkish Black Tea, 8 ounces: This is a vegan and gluten free product which provides strong, brisk and aromatic flavor. This tea is enjoyable throughout day and provides best taste when brewed mixing with milk.
- Marmara Natural Sage Tea, 4 ounces: It’s a herbal tea product produced from Sage leaves. Sage is a herb grown on the deserts of Mediterranean. This tea provides very distinct floral aroma when brewed. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold and the taste and aroma profile remains the same. This herbal tea is beneficial for liver and menstrual related problems.
Brewing Style – get boiled water in a 6 ounce cup and put 1 or 2 sage leaves and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. strain and add 1 teaspoon honey before drink.
If you need caffeinated drink then mix ½ teaspoon of Marmara Turkish Black Tea for each cup.
Brewing style for other Turkish Tea
Quick Brewing Style: Get boiled water in a cup, put 1 teaspoon of tea per cup and steep for 5-7 minutes. Strain and add sugar as per your choice and enjoy!
Traditional Brewing Style: If you want to brew Turkish tea in traditional style then go through ‘How to Prepare Turkish Tea?’ mentioned above.