Traditionally tea was made in a samovar. This is often an elaborate vessel with a compartment for burning coals at the bottom of an internal tube, which heats the water in the ‘kettle’ section that wraps around it, on top of which rests a small teapot in which the tea brews over the rising heat. The teapot and tea glasses are topped up with boiling water from a tap at the side of the kettle section. Although the samovar is still used, most people prefer the practical, if crude, modern version which consists of a small tin or enamel teapot, sitting on top of a large tin teapot which, in turn, is heated over a flame.
Rize, on the Black Sea coast, keeps Turkey supplied with tea, which is invariably made strong — a measure of 1 teaspoon per person — but individual glasses can easily be weakened with the constant supply of boiling water from the lower teapot. Although lemon peel is sometimes added to the tea-leaves, the method of brewing remains the same. Turkish tea is never drunk with milk.
© 1995 Ghillie Basan. All rights reserved.