Tea and Coffee

Back in the UK I pretty much existed on coffee.  By choice real coffee, commonly Café Nero on Chiswick High Road, a quick espresso and a glass of water if in a hurry or a more leisurely Americano if I had time.   About the only time I would drink instant coffee was at home prior to the morning dash to work.  Even then I would only touch the really good stuff and I drank it strong, with sugar, and never allowed any cow juice to get near the coffee.

I am not averse to other forms of coffee.  I enjoyed real coffee in Jordan, spiced with cardamom.  I have no problem with Turkish coffee, it is much the same as Greek coffee, black, very strong, usually very sweet and with a large quantities of grounds in the bottom of the tiny cup.  I prefer this sort of coffee with a little sugar and naturally with a glass of cold water, it does however not match the sheer delight of a good espresso.

I guess it comes as no surprise that I like coffee in Italy.   Italians seem to understand how to make coffee properly.

So here I am in a country where tea is pretty much the national drink.  I tried the local instant coffee, an expensive brand, it is a bit like regular Nescafe granules, so in my view not very nice at all.  I considered getting the local pan and ground coffee to make Turkish coffee, but well, it is not espresso.  I have looked around market and in shops for one of those stove top espresso machines, the hexagonal ones that work so well.  So far I have not found one, and neither have I found any Italian ground coffee.

I switched to tea.  Got a Turkish style teapot, bought some tea glasses, browsed the supermarket shelves for varieties of tea, and did some research on how Turkish tea is made.  I settled on the local earl grey, which turned out to be lightly flavoured with bergamot, and delicious.

Making Turkish tea is not difficult.  There are two pots one on top of the other.  The bottom pot is filled with cold water, then tea with a little cold water goes in the upper pot, which is placed on top of the lower pot, and the lower pot brought to the boil.  The upper pot is then filled with boiling water which uses roughly half of the water from the bottom pot.  Return the whole thing to the stove on a very low light to keep the bottom pot on simmer, which keeps the upper pot hot.  The tea should be ready to serve in 5 to 10 minutes and will stay good for considerably longer.  Use a combination of tea from the upper pot and hot water from the bottom according to taste.

No doubt when I am back in the UK a trip to Café Nero will happen.  No doubt when in Italy I will be consuming coffee (and ice cream).  No doubt at times I will think fondly of Lavazza.  But right now, in Turkey, I am really enjoying tea.

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8 responses to “Tea and Coffee

  1. Our Turkish neighbours gave us all the right equipment for making Turkish coffee and tried to teach us how to brew it correctly – hopeless!

  2. Practice makes perfect, Jack, but I must admit, that 8 years on, I am hopeless at this as well (note optimistic auto correct that just “corrected” hopeless to hopeful).

    Raised by a Brit, tea is my thing. I have various dalliances with coffee in high-work times, but am as of this moment “on” with daily Turkish tea. There is something about the double boiling ritual that I love in the otherwise rushed mornings around here. You can read about my initial struggles with Turkish tea here: http://slowly-by-slowly.com/2011/08/03/just-dropping-by-caught-in-the-white-cotton-nightgown-with-juicy-peaches-and-once-boiled-tea/ and this is not the last you have heard about my marital tea-making moments of confusion and later, clarity.

    Enjoying watching your process, pul biber folks!

    • Thanks Liz. I too am anjoying getting up in the morning and making tea. The aroma of the brewing tea is delicious. It all happens slowly, then after tea maybe some breakfast. Nice blog entry. – Ashley

  3. I love coffee…decent coffee. I’ve never been a tea drinker, although I do occasionally dri,nk çay, but normally in situations where it’s not polite to refuse. I have a small cafetiere which is fine for one, and I did find an electric filter coffee machine when we lived in Cappadocia. However, it’s impossible to find decent coffee here. I usually stock up on my trips to the UK. When I run out I use Turkish coffee in the filter machine…not ideal but better than the instant rubbish packaged here under the name of Nescafe Gold Blend which is absolutely nothing like the same product in the UK.

  4. I think when we next go to the UK I will get a stovetop espresso machine and a few kilos of Lavazza, I agree, the instant here is not very drinkable. For now the çay is more than sifficient. Really enjoying the tomurcuk çay.

  5. You can order a wide range of freshly roasted gourmet and flavoured coffees from Coffee Haus in Istanbul. See their website at http://coffeehaus.com.tr

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