Turkish apple tea is a refreshing drink, which is perfect for cold winter nights when drank hot or great for summer when you chill it down and add a few ice cubes. Either way, this apple tea is very easy to make and tasty too!
I’ve first come across Turkish Apple Tea, when I was exploring Northern Cyprus, which is now part of Turkey. Because of that, it has a strong Turkish influence and the food, drinks and culture is very much like being in Turkey.
Why make this apple tea?
- Natural – caffeine-free
- Vitamin C
- Refreshing drink
- Great way to use up some apples before they go brown
- Go easy on the sugar to make the drink even healthier
- Perfect for any time of the day
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Origins of Turkish Apple Tea
This tea is made from dried apple pieces, which are infused in a hot water with some cinnamon. The tea is traditionally served in small tulip like glasses on a tray with a spoon and sugar cubes on the side.
Coffee and teas are served like that as well and you can see the serving trays and glasses in every tea room or restaurant. It looks very pretty!
I’m always inspired by local food and drink, when I’m travelling, so coming back home I wanted to try to make my own Turkish Apple Tea at home.
You can buy apple tea powder or granules and simply dissolve them in a hot water, but I think it’s nice to make the drink authentically and start from the real ingredients!
I’m sure that other countries would have a similar type of drink.
I remember that we used to dry apple pieces during summer and made them into tea in the winter in exactly the same way. I don’t think we added cinnamon, but that’s the only difference.
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How does Turkish apple tea taste like?
To make the Turkish apple tea authentically, you need to make sure that the apple taste is very strong and intense. There is also quite a bit of sugar to add sweetness and then lemon (or citric acid) to add zing and a bit of sourness.
Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
Depending on what type of apple you use, you might get a different flavour finish. I normally go for dark red apples, but green apples are lovely too.
The one that don’t have much flavour are the large floury type of pink apples, you basically want to make sure the apple has a bit of a bite to it and it’s lovely zingy and juicy.
If the apple tastes a bit bland, the flavour can be improved with lemon or citric acid.
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It’s nice to use cinnamon sticks to make this recipe, but they can be a bit pricey. If you don’t have a whole cinnamon, just use about 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per large cup.
You can use lemon juice, lemon zest or citric acid for an authentic taste.
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Seasonal variations for making apple tea
The apple flavour goes well with other seasonal flavour variations, if you are happy to divert from the traditional recipe.
Any of the following homemade spice mixes can be used instead of the cinnamon sticks. Just use 1/4 of a teaspoon ( or even a little less, if you prefer) per large mug (300 ml water).
Another seasonal flavour is a hint of alcohol – something like an apple cider, rum or even dash of whisky would work really well with this recipe.
SWEET SPICE MIXES THAT WORK WITH APPLE TEA FLAVOUR
- Gingerbread Spice >>
- Mixed Spice >>
- Pumpkin Pie Spice >>
- Apple Pie Spice >>
- Christmas Stollen Spice >>
- Oatmeal Spice >>
How to make Turkish apple tea recipe
Prepare the apples by washing them and chopping them up into small pieces. If using non-organic apples, peel the apple skin first.
Add water to medium-size saucepan and add the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks.
Bring the water to boil, turn down the heat and carry on simmering for a minimum of 10-15 minutes to allow the apples to infuse the water.
Pour the apple tea through a sieve and discard the cinnamon stick and the rest of the apples (these can be used for pancakes or as a topping for breakfast porridge, so don’t throw them out completely)
Mix in some honey and taste to make sure that you are happy with the amount of sweetness.
Add lemon juice or citric acid to bring all the flavours together and taste again. You should get a strong apple flavour with the sweetness of the honey and a sharp lemon flavour too.
How to serve traditional Turkish hot apple tea
Traditionally it’s drank hot and served in a small tulip shaped glasses. I sometimes add a dash of whisky in especially on a cold autumn evening. It’s the perfect hot drink for late summer or autumn garden parties and of course a great drink for the autumn and winter season.
You can also leave the apple tea to cool down completely, chill in in the fridge (or pour over a few ice cubes in a glass) and serve cold.
Other uses for apple tea
If you happen to make more apple tea than you need, you can also use it as a liquid instead of water in bread or fruit scones.
You can also use apple tea instead of water in any pancake recipe and add some cinnamon to apple pancakes. Serve the apple pancakes with a homemade apple sauce and you have a winning combination for a delicious autumn breakfast.
Turkish Apple Tea
- 2 apples medium to large size sweet red apples
- 2 cinnamon sticks 1 large one or 2 smaller (or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)
- 3 cups water
- 3 teaspoons honey or to your taste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or a pinch of citric acid or 1 teaspoon of lemon peel
- Prepare the apples by washing them and chopping them up into small pieces. If using non-organic apples, peel the apple skin first.
- Add water to medium size saucepan and add the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks.
- Bring the water to boil, turn down the heat and carry on simmering for a minimum of 10-15 minutes to allow the apples infuse the water.
- Pour the apple tea through a sieve and discard the cinnamon stick and the rest of the apples (these can be used for pancakes or as a topping for breakfast porridge, so don't throw them out completely)
- Mix in some honey and taste to make sure that you are happy with the amount of sweetness.
- Add lemon juice or citric acid to bring all the flavours together and taste again. You should get a strong apple flavour with sweetness of the honey and sharp lemon flavour too.
- Traditionally drank hot, but apple tea can be also chilled and drankedcold, if you prefer.
This blog post was originally written on 22 June 2021 and last updated 10 October 2022