By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

I drink tea, and do not drink Turkish coffee. When I see around, I usually find myself alone, for having this sort of behaviour, since people in this part of the world usually drink both tea and Turkish coffee. But I drink only tea.

Looking back, for the first 36 years of my life, before coming and settling in Cyprus, I lived a social life where there was no Turkish coffee, and tea was what we always used to drink. But there was a lot of difference between the tea that I used to drink then what I drink here.

In Pakistan tea means, tea with milk in it. I remember, when I was a pre-school child, my parents usually did not offer us tea, but my elder brother and I did like tea with lots of milk and cream in it. Luckily my grandparents used to live very near to our house, and my aunties were also cooperative in offering us tea with lots of milk and cream. Of course they were not telling my father about all this.

Later on as the time passed by, my lust for tea remained. This habit became staunch as I started working after completing my education and 4 or 5 cups  used to be my daily consumption.

But then all of a sudden everything changed. In the winter of 1972 we came to Istanbul, where for the first time I encountered Turkish tea. The way the two kettles were put over one another, they way the tea glass was filled, and the way the red colour of the tea become darker and darker, and the way the tea glass was held, giving the whole palm a feeling of heat, simply thrilled me.

From that day onwards I became fan of  Turkish tea. Of course without milk. But once back in Pakistan, after a couple of months, there was no other option for me but to re-start drinking tea in Pakistani style (tea with milk). But I never forgot the taste and the thrill that I had experienced drinking tea in Istanbul.

Since 1991 onwards when I came to Cyprus, I said goodbye to tea with milk, and from the very first day here I started drinking tea without milk. I very rarely drink Turkish coffee, only when I happen to be in circumstances where I could not request tea, due to one reason or another, and I have  to accept the Turkish coffee offer. So usually my average of drinking tea is about 5 cups daily, whereas the same average for Turkish coffee is 5 cups a year.

Now coming to another aspect of the story, why I do not drink Turkish coffee. For that once again I would like to go back to the past.  I remember when for the first time (during 1991) when someone asked me what type of coffee I would like to drink, (mixed, without sugar or with sugar), I simply could not understand what should I say in reply. I simply looked around, the fellow sitting just next to me had asked for mixed (orta). So I also repeated the same.

Since that day up until today, whenever I drink Turkish coffee, I ask for a mixed one, because this is the only type that I have ever tasted, and I do not feel like tasting the other types.