Ever asked yourself what would it be like to drink a melted sweet apple candy with a sour touch? Try Turkish apple tea and you may get a pretty good idea. This unique drink is served in restaurants, shops and hotels throughout Turkey, but you can easily make it at home too.
What is Turkish apple tea?
Turkish apple tea is a drink made by steeping dried apple pieces or dissolving apple flavored granules or powder in boiling water. It’s served in small, 100 ml tulip shaped glasses without handles. Apple tea is one of the two most popular hot drinks in Turkey. The other one, Turkish black tea, is a strong and bold tea usually made from tea grown in Rize, an important Turkish tea growing region and served with two sugar cubes. If you ever visited Turkey, it’s very likely you were served one of these two drinks. Both of them are a sign of hospitality, and available not only in hotels and restaurants, but offered by shop owners and bazaar merchants as well.
Turkish apple tea served in shops is usually made from tea granules, tea crystals or tea powders. Tea crystals have a texture and color resembling light muscovado sugar, but both the color and texture can vary. Sometimes, this instant apple tea can look like a white powder but it will still dissolve into a yellow-brown drink.
Instant apple tea doesn’t have a long history. Although you will probably try it if you visit Turkey, it’s said that it is mainly popular among visitors. However, the real apple tea, made from real dried apple pieces, is certainly a part of longer tea drinking culture.
Turkish apple tea tastes very different from your regular apple tea. Firstly, it’s very intense and bold, very sweet with an acidic touch. Imagine drinking boiled, freshly squeezed sweet apple juice with a touch of citric acid. That’s exactly how instant Turkish apple tea tastes like. Apple tea made from loose dried apple pieces is more delicate, but will also have a tangy note.
Potential Health Benefits
Turkish apple tea may have potential benefits, depending on how you make it. Instant tea powders may taste delicious, but they won’t provide any benefits. In fact, they can be packed with sugar and they are artificially flavored. They may, however, contain Vitamin C.
On the other hand, the real apple tea made from fresh apples may provide more benefits. Apples contain vitamins and antioxidants, and they are low in calories. Apple tea made from real or dried apple pieces (if they contain no sugar) will be almost calorie free but full of flavor. Research suggests that apples may have an influence on heart health and may reduce risk of some cancers. However, keep in mind that boiling fresh fruits may change the nutrient content.
Pure Turkish apple tea is made with either instant powder or dried apple pieces and contains no caffeine, unless it’s blended with other types of real tea, such as black tea. Because this tea contains no caffeine, it’s suitable for all age groups and you can enjoy it at any time of the day or night.
How to Make Turkish Apple Tea
To make the most delicious homemade Turkish apple tea, always use fresh apples. You can use any type, but sweet apples are a wonderful choice if you don’t want to add any sweetener. Alternatively, you may use any type of apple you have at hand, or even use different types for making one drink.
Instant apple tea is usually made by just dissolving powder in hot (or even cold) water and will always taste the same. But the real apple tea will often include spices. To make a cup of apple tea, you will need:
- 1-2 apples depending on the size
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ cup of water
- Sugar or honey (optional)
- A pinch of citric acid or freshly grated unwaxed lemon peel
- Small saucepan
- Wash and cut apples into small pieces or grate it. If you are using organic apples, you don’t need to peel the skin.
- Add cut or grated apple, cinnamon stick, and water in a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea and gently press apple flesh to squeeze out all juice.
- Add just a tiny bit of citric acid or freshly grated lemon peel.
- Add sweetener and serve.
Where to Buy
You can buy instant Turkish apple tea in specialized shops or online. Depending on your location, you may stumble upon it in some supermarkets as well. Loose leaf Turkish apple tea is available from many online shops.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.