Of Turkish tea – and t-tests

It’s been a grading bonanza this weekend and on into this week.  As I turn the pages, make my comments, labor over assigning grades (I hate them) and figure out how to turn my responses into a meaningful learning moment for some of my struggling students (blow to my ego), I am constantly up and down, refilling my Turkish tea glass  with the strong dark brew hewn of Assam and Rize tea leaves.

I learned this mixture from watching M.’s Teyze (maternal aunt) mix proportions of Rize tea (from the Black sea region) with Assam tea (from, presumably, India).  She swears by the mix, as does M.  Once, I tried to supplement rose-petal infused Assam for just plain old Assam, to no good result and the protests of the aging matriarch who was visiting at the time.  “It tastes like soap,” she was reported to say.  Oh well, so much for creativity.

In any case, this weekend, I am getting the tea myself, instead of relying on the little chorus of dancing ladies, who are usually lovely about delivery, as I have exhausted them – “m’lady,” one of them said the other day, “you are drinking SO much tea, is it healthy?” I finally told them how much I appreciated their efforts, but that I could make tea for myself. After much consternation and debate, the little lady puppets decided to let this be as my skills, they tell me, have improved significantly.  Quipping to them with the best of my statistical humor, I asked them if it was statistically significant.  They drew blank looks.  I reminded them that I am grading exams about “independent samples t-tests” and “paired samples t-tests.”  They again drew blank looks and I let the topic drop, but not before Hacivad Bey asked me if I was referring to the Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi – the Ottoman Empire-era statistics agency who conducted the census between 1891 and 1914.  I just said – “yes, something like that.”  I teach enough statistics in my university, I’d like to give it a break at home, not going to be teaching these puppets statistics anytime soon unless I get another breath of workaholism.  While my tea consumption during this grading phase might be an indicator of workaholism, I would like to think of it more as an endurance-oriented coping mechanism.


A Turkish double tea pot (Photo credit: lorises)

But in any case, back to tea.  Gone are the days when I struggled to execute the perfect brewing of Turkish tea (you can read about one such hilarious learning moment here, where I was caught unawares by an early visitor whilst still in my nightgown, and ended up using once-boiled tea only (Horrors! The yabancı gelin (foreign bride) couldn’t make properly brewed tea).  All I have to say is, for someone like me who hates grading as much as I do, the ability to just run down the stairs to refill my glass is a wonderful option to keep me going.

Any guesses about how many tea glasses worth of tea had to be drunk to get through this stack of tests?

Thirty-two.  More than two per test for this class so far, inşallah it will end soon!

This entry was posted in Academic hell, Turkish Food!, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Of Turkish tea – and t-tests

  1. Rosamond says:

    I have noticed in turkey, well at least the parts i have been, that the glasses are getting bigger. Soon they will have glass mugs lol

  2. 32 cups of tea, Liz?! And how many sugar cubes?!

  3. Alan says:


  4. Very true – I have noticed this as well! M. scoffs at the super-sized çay bardağı as they are not traditional. Perhaps with our hyper sped up culture/s we are needing more and more caffeine to keep up. This does not, however, explain the seemingly-stationary amcas sitting in the Anatolian village cay bahcesis, does it?

  5. 32 – I go for one, much to the shock and dismay of M., who feels that the Turkish tradition of minimal acceptable standards for sugar cube usage is 2 per çay bardağı. 🙂 LOL. Consumed over many hours, though.

  6. You can say that again, grading is the worst part of the job.

  7. Yikes, you must be one caffeinated woman. Well, with 32 cups of tea fetched by running down and then back upstairs, at least you’re getting in your cardio exercise!

  8. Jack Scott says:

    Coming from that other great tea drinking nation, I’m afraid the jury’s out with me whether Black Sea tea is as good as the best from India and Sri Lanka. 😉

  9. Thus the mix approach, I suppose! 🙂

  10. Indeed! Thankfully it took place over several days! Each exam takes about an hour to grade – 16 of them!

  11. Hope you’re recovered from all the grading (and tea drinking). 🙂 Just awarded you another Liebster over on my blog.

  12. intlxpatr says:

    Do you ever drink mint tea? No caffein and very soothing. Mint also grows like wildfire, so you can grow and dry your own mint leaves, or have it fresh. Yummm!

  13. Yes, I recovered just in time for the NEXT wave of grading!!!

    But more importantly, THANK YOU so much for the Liebster, going to go and check it out!!!!!

  14. Oh yes – I LOVE mint tea – and have just finished my stash from last year’s harvest. Somehow, though, it doesn’t get me going to get through the papers-morass 🙂 Maybe I need to reconsider!!!!

  15. …and by the way, when you DO visit Bozcaada, do try “ada cayi” (“ah=dah, chai yuh”) which is that island’s answer to mint tea 🙂 My favorite spot for it is the Cinaralti Cafe – can’t miss it – the one under the massive Cynar tree in the square…

  16. Pingback: Of Turkish tea, American coffee – and the Arabian Nights in the Bathtub « Slowly-by-Slowly

  17. intlxpatr says:

    Sounds like my kind of place, Slowly 🙂 We’ll look for it next time we get to Bozcaada. 🙂

  18. Rosamond says:

    Now i love my English cup of tea with milk and sugar but i love more the Turkish Chai as it is with just a slice of lemon. If only i had time and inclination to put the 2 pots on the stove here in England i reckon i could lose a few LBS in weight.

  19. Rosamond says:

    The amcas drinking chai is automatic, it keeps their hands busy as they while away the time lol

  20. I know this has worked for me!!! Hard to forgo the milk and sugar, though!!! 🙂 Have you tried agave as a sugar substitute???

  21. Pingback: On (Turkish?) teaching tactics: Roses grow where a teacher hits? Hocanın vurduğu yerde gül biter « Slowly-by-Slowly

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