03 Aug2008

tea1

After saying goodbye to Athens, and an uneventful morning commuter flight to Istanbul, we arrived at our small hotel just before noon. Our rooms weren’t ready yet, so the gracious and friendly hotel staff offered us a traditional cup of hot apple tea on the rooftop terrace of the five storey hotel. Just over the wall from the gardens of the Topkapi Palace, our hotel had a wonderful view of the large trees and nesting herons that called the gardens home. We also had a small glimpse of the Bosphorous and waters that surround Istanbul…

tea2

I usually take my Earl Grey tea black. And I am a creature of habit. So while I was thrilled to receive this simple yet beautiful cup of apple tea, my initial reaction was that it would be politely sipped as we wasted time waiting for our room to be readied. Not so. A very hot, fruity and outrageously sweet concoction, I don’t know if it was the novelty or low blood sugar levels, but I really liked this apple tea! It soon became apparent that this beverage was more popular than canned soda, and you could almost always spot someone having this sweet tea in the special glasses all around the city.

tea3

It also turns out that the tea is sold to tourists as one of the easiest, cheapest and most iconic of Turkish beverages in powdered form to bring home as a present… And I suspect that some 95+% of all apple tea consumed is now reconstituted from tea with dried apple powder mixed in. We didn’t buy any of the powdered mixes, but as I started to write this post, I googled apple tea, and found several variations of recipes to make your own. And that is exactly what I did…

tea4

Pour some boiling water into a tea pot or glass with about 1/2 of a nice sweet apple (I used a royal gala, peeled and sliced thinly) and a black tea bag and let this steep for a few minutes and remove the tea bag. Add some sugar if desired and voila!, homemade apple tea! It wasn’t as intensely flavored as the Turkish versions that we drank, but it was fragrant, tasty and delicious nonetheless. It’s something I will only have once in a while, but it is a welcome variation on my standard cup of earl grey tea…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. misao says:

    a friend gave me some dried apple blossoms meant for tea. but i don’t know how long to steep it, if i should put sugar/honey, some citrus of sort? do you have any idea how i can enjoy those blossoms?

    Aug 3, 2008 | 2:45 pm

     
  2. Katrina says:

    Yup, when my parents came home from Turkey, they brought back a set of the small tea glasses and a matching teapot, plus the powdered apple tea (or maybe they were tea bags?). Naturally, none of it was ever used. :-/

    Aug 4, 2008 | 12:43 am

     
  3. Lety says:

    The tea looks good. Do you think apple juice can be used instead of plain boiling water?

    Aug 4, 2008 | 1:28 am

     
  4. fried-neurons says:

    I’m also partial to early grey, but I will try the apple tea out. It sounds like an interesting flavor combo…

    Aug 4, 2008 | 2:59 am

     
  5. kreez says:

    I also love this tea, when hubby goes to Istanbul for a business trip, he brings back powdered apple tea and I make refreshing iced tea out of them. yum!

    Aug 4, 2008 | 3:50 pm

     
  6. nj says:

    heyy. when i went to istanbul i made friends with a couple of locals, who happily informed us that the locals in general actually prefer the powdered instant version since its so much more convenient to prepare. and apparently, a lot of turkish restaurants also use the powdered instant version! which does taste amazing, though. =)

    Aug 4, 2008 | 9:24 pm

     
  7. nj says:

    oh and apparently. some traditional turkish apple teas dont contain tea! just apples! (and colouring, for the modern powdered versions) which is why the colour is so light.

    Aug 4, 2008 | 9:29 pm

     
  8. kiko says:

    tried this one… mine came out nice enough but the apple flavour was very subtle…

    Aug 5, 2008 | 1:58 pm

     
  9. jellybeans says:

    the tea looks fantastic. i always loved apple juices but what does the apple tea taste? The color is gorgeous and it looks very light :]

    Aug 6, 2008 | 8:22 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    jellybeans, its a bit like a diluted aple juice but really hot and really sweet. kiko, you need a LOT of apple slices to get the tea a bit more intense…

    Aug 6, 2008 | 8:53 pm

     
 

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