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A Tea in Sarajevo, Turkish Style

Mighty Travels

Two tea lovers make their way around Europe with their Mighty Leaf

A Tea in Sarajevo, Turkish Style July 5, 2007

Sarajevo makes your head swim when you first get there. The Ottoman architecture, the countless mosques, and the call to prayer five times a day are all a massive change from the causal surroundings anyone from North America is accustomed to. However, we surprised ourselves with how quickly it becomes everyday. The town is incredibly welcoming, the people are wonderful, the food is the tastiest, and the Bosnian coffee is something that even hardcore tea drinkers (like us) had to try.

While really a Turkish coffee in origin, these coffees are known locally as Bosanska kafa (Bosnian coffee). One of the best places to have one is at Mori?a Han in the center of Baš?aršija (the old town), where they serve it with all the traditional accoutrements. There is the dark, thick coffee served in a džezva, a small pot that has this wide, flared-out base to contain the coffee grounds that are in a fine powder at the bottom. Then there are the tiny ceramic cups for drinking called fildžan, served along with sugar cubes to mellow the bitterness of the coffee and then a type of candy called a rahat lokumi (translated as Turkish delights) that you can eat with the coffee or after.

It is all very cool and while something that tourists are really starting to grab on to as more people visit Sarajevo, it is still something that the locals who live there enjoy with the great regularity of five times a day or more. We didn't dare attempt that many cups, as the coffee is very strong and we would have been awake until the following summer if we had.

But, we're not trying to convert people over to the coffee side of life with this. We realized that the džezva and the fildžani could easily be used for a loose leaf tea. It's all just a matter of steeping it with the leaves in the bottom of the small pot and then doing what you do with the coffee and wait for everything to settle before pouring. We make no claims as to this being a better way of preparing tea than a modern teapot, but it offers a small change if you ever find yourself in Sarajevo or in possession of a džezva. And yes, we couldn't resist the offerings in the street of the Baš?aršija lined up with the metal smiths and bought a whole coffee set of our own to take home.

Where: Mori?a Han, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina
Tea: Orange Dulce (loose leaf) and Vanilla Bean (loose leaf)