Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life. -Kakuzo Okakura 

This is the perfect drink after a long, brisk walk, shoulders hunched against the biting wind, or on those mornings when the nauseating prospect of  school/work makes you want to crawl back in bed.

It is essential that apple tea be served in something that can contain a couple of gulps at most: a tiny tulip-shaped teacup, or one of those dainty Arab glasses gilded in gold, for example. It must be small enough that you can cup it in your hands like a piece of warm amber. Besides, small things are better savoured. I used to be one of those people who preferred rousing swigs of soda, mugs of coffee--until I learned to sip. Flavours simply reveal themselves better if you take the time to pay attention.

In Turkey apple tea is called Elma Çay, and you can buy it anywhere. Mostly, though, it is free. I never had to pay for it, personally. You see, one of my brothers happens to share first names with the Turkish Republic's founder/hero. Once waiters, tour guides, market vendors found out, we'd all be offered the beverage, while exchanging stories. Conversation is so much more interesting over tea.

1-2 teaspoons tea per person, boiling water, and the optional spices, are all you need to prepare apple tea. It is basically piping hot juice, anyway. Boil for about 15 minutes. I prefer to add cloves and a stick of cinammon to the brew, because the resulting aroma is reminiscent of apple pie. Or try a drop or two of rose flavouring--I am obsessed with this stuff--for a floral touch. Seeds from a single cardomom pod also yield interesting results.

Finally, add sugarcubes, mix, enjoy. A handful of almonds and dates will accompany this very well. If you are lucky enough to have Turkish delights around, those would be fantastic.

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