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Turkish tea -- what is it?

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Can anyone explain how Turkish tea differs from other loose-leaf teas? My mom picked some up in a little Turkish market last week, and we were shocked by how cheap it was -- $3 a pound. We're used to paying $15-$20 for good English breakfast tea. Is there anything in it that isn't tea, some kind of filler? We haven't had time to open it yet or try the double-boiler teakettle system you're supposed to use it with, but I'm wondering if any Hounds have experience with it....thanks!

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  1. Did you happen to buy elma çayı (herbal apple tea) by mistake? If it's pre-packaged, is there English writing anywhere?

    We buy it (in addition to black tea), and I do find that it's usually a bit cheaper. If that's what you got, don't worry- it's delicious!

    2 Replies
    1. re: sfumato

      My thoughts exactly. I really like apple tea, but it's not really tea at all, mainly sugar and flavourings.

      1. re: sfumato

        I'm not sure because my mom has the tea; I'll have her check the packaging! Thanks for the tip.

      2. There are various grades of tea; a basic 'china black' looseleaf tea should be about $3-$4 a lb, which is probably what this is equivalent to.

        3 Replies
        1. re: xanadude

          The package says siyah cay and (elsewhere) Schwarzer tee.

          1. re: katydid13

            it's probably normal Turkish tea, cultivated from the black sea region/ Rize province..it does taste a little different than English breakfast tea, a bit lighter.


            1. re: katydid13

              Siyah cay literally means black tea. Definitely not apple tea!

          2. Turkish tea is somewhat different kind of tea plant, suitable for preparing a la "Turkish style" as described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_tea
            It is often referred to as "strong" and full-flavored but, this is due to brewing for more than 20 minutes, large amounts of loose-leaf teas in relatively small amounts of water. This is than diluted with hot water before serving. Even after dilution the taste of long duration brewing is prominent.
            If you however try to prepare it in the traditional way (i.e. not traditional Turkish way) there won't be necessary amounts of infusion hence flavor (and also color) and its taste will be immature hence far inferior.
            I'd like to hear about your experience, though if you've tried them.