Tea in Italy – Firenze (Florence) cotton muslin teabag

After several Espressos during the day my friend invited me to have a teacup in our favorite coffee shop. Black tea with some dolci...

We got English Breakfast Tea; my surprise was to find a cotton muslin teabag filled with tea inside the package. The teabag was manufactured by La Via Del Tè (The Tea Road) in Firenze (Florence).

The cotton and silk teabags were the original types of teabags that have been used in decades since the 1900’s and now are mostly replaced by paper or thermoplastic teabags.

Tea in Italy 1 web

English Breakfast cotton muslin teabag

The tea brews instantly since the cotton muslin is very open and allows excellent tea infusion.

Quick tea infusion with the open cotton mesh

Quick tea infusion with the open cotton mesh

This tea brewing efficiency is one of the best I have experienced. After removing the teabag several pieces of lint from the cotton teabag were floating on the surface of the tea. The lint was removed with a teaspoon.

Cotton teabag after brewing

Cotton teabag after brewing

It was an interesting experience to come back to the origins of the teabags. The tea was very good on taste and made a bright moment on a rainy winter afternoon in Vicenza.

Tulips, Turkish tea and friendship – Balikesir, Turkey

Recently in Turkey my friends Kemal and Zek gave me a nice gift set of Turkish tulips. The tulips and plates are hand painted with gold and have a pretty nice design, still maintaining the traditional tulip shape and transparency to visualize the Turkish Tea.
On a trip from Izmir to Istanbul we had the opportunity to stop in Balikesir. After dinner we had the tea served in the new tulips and enjoyed hosmerim (cheese pudding), a nice traditional dessert from the area.
That moment of sharing tea with friends is what makes the tea flow beyond the glasses. It is a fluid sharing pipe of peace.
The tea time as recorded in this picture goes beyond the taste, smell and colors. An old saying “the amphora always keep the smell of the first wine” might be true also for the tulips and tea. The smell of the first tea in Balikesir will always be in the tulips.

The three Turkish teas on the new gold painted tulips are ready. The hosmerim is on the right. What a joyful moment.

The three Turkish teas in the gold painted tulips. The hosmerim is on the right. What a joyful and memorable moment.

Freshly brewed tea in the gold painted tulip. On the right the Tukish Delights to complement the tea. One pomegranate-pistachio  another mastiqe-pistachio. Magnificent.

Freshly brewed tea in the gold painted tulip. On the right the Tukish Delights to complement the tea. One pomegranate-pistachio another mastic-pistachio. Magnificent.

It’s Turkish Tea Time!

Here we have a classical setup for the Turkish Tea: Tulip tea, two sugar cubes, Turkish delight and the two stacked kettles for brewing the tea.

The Turkish tea (çay) is a medium bodied golden brown black tea. It is prepared in a two stacked kettle (çaydanlık). Usually cold water is put in the lower kettle until boiling, then some water is transferred to the top kettle where the black tea is added and mixed. The two kettles go back to the stove in low heat. After brewing for ten minutes some tea from the top kettle is poured to the tulip cup (usually half cup). Hot water from the bottom kettle is added to fill the cup. The use of the concentrated tea and hot water allows to obtain different tea strengths according to the taste. This technique has many variations, and sometimes water is replenished in one or both kettles to get better tea usage. Traveling in Turkey is not uncommon to drink more than 20 tulip cups of tea in a day. It is refreshing and delicious every time.

A warm welcome in Turkey

A tulip black tea with Turkish delight is offered as a warm welcome to guests and visitors in a Turkish home or a store. Here we have the Turkish Delight (aka Lokum ) made with pomegranate and pistachios served with the tulip tea. This is a perfect combination of flavors and warmth anytime of the day or night. Two sugar cubes are always served with the tea and most of the people use only one cube.

Turkish Black Tea

The traditional Turkish Tea is traditionally served in the tulip shaped glass. It is a black tea. The most common brands are Caykur, Dogadan and Lipton. The traditional way of brewing is with a double teapot. The water is added in both bottom pot. When the bottom water start to boil it is partially transferred to the top part and tea is added. When the tea is brewed after 3 to 5 minutes it is filtered and served. In many times the tea is blended with the hot water from the bottom to dilute.
It is typically served in the tulip cups with two cubes of sugar. Most people drink with one cube of sugar.
A variation of this tea is with the addition of mint leaves when the tea is ready to be served. It is very common in Egypt.

Turkish Black Tea has a nice red brown tonality with small light color leaves