Why not invest in a desti for you drinking water? Buy one of these simple earthenware water jugs and you will, especially during the hot summer months, have found a wonderfully eco-friendly way to keep your drinking water at just the right temperature – naturally. In case you’re still wondering what a desti is, read on…

How to be cool and eco-friendly

Most of us are concerned by the amount of rubbish we have to throw away and, even though some of it gets recycled, so much of it ends up littering the roadside, countryside and beaches.

Turkey’s ultimate earthenware water cooler

Your may already have a reusable bottle for when you are outside, but here is a very simple, timeless and ecological way to drink water at home with a clear conscience. It means that not only will you have cool drinking water when you want it but also you’ll be able to avoid adding to the plastic rubbish that is putting our beautiful environment at risk.

The simple ways are often the best

Ask anyone if they know what a Turkish desti is and they may say it’s actually a testi. But owing to the odd looks that word can attract, let’s call them ‘desti’ instead.

A desti is a traditional way to keep water cool without a fridge.

Turkey’s ultimate earthenware water cooler
Women in the Dont district of Fethiye

This basic, unglazed earthenware water jug keeps drinking water clean and at an ideal temperature for drinking, especially in hot weather.

Better than plastic

Using a desti for your drinking water means no (or at least less) plastic waste. It’s an attractive feature on the meal table, guaranteed to be a talking point, and it also means that your water is always the right temperature for drinking. People who use them say that the water tastes much better too.

Turkey’s ultimate earthenware water cooler

The science bit

Earthenware jugs are used all over the world as a traditional way to keep drinking water cool and to avoid using plastic bottles, but how can such an ancient and simple container, without any recourse to electricity, manage to do this? The answer is evaporation.

Nature’s ‘fridge’

Fill the desti with fresh, clean drinking water a few hours before you need it. Whether it is placed in the shade, the sun or inside the house, the same process begins to take place: evaporative cooling.

Women in Don't making testi
Women in Dont (near fethiye) making ‘nature’s fridges’

As the jug not completely watertight, a small amount of the stored water filters through the clay and evaporates once it comes in contact with the dry atmosphere. Evaporation (as the water turns from a liquid to gas) uses thermal energy. This happens using the water inside the jug, which cools down.

How cool is that?

How cool the water gets depends on the size, shape, dimensions, the type of clay used and the amount of water it contains. The weather also plays an important role with humidity and the air temperature effecting the level of cooling.

These were found in Fethiye town centre
These were found in Fethiye town centre

In ideal conditions the water temperature will reduce over the course of a few hours to the perfect temperature… it never gets too cold and is certainly better for you that really icy water straight from the fridge.

Be careful what you buy

A desti must be unglazed in order to work properly. Glazed ones do not cool water in the way described above. The only time that a glazed water container is useful is if the weather is very humid.

Always make sure that your desti is clean of course but keep and eye open for cracks too.

Dont Village, Eşenköy

If you are in Fethiye there are desti on sale in some of the more traditional shops near the fish market.

Turkey’s ultimate earthenware water cooler

Dont, a village near Eşenköy, is famous locally for its desti. Although nowadays they are often used as vases to hold flowers the original desti and larger vessels were used when there was no electricity or fridges.

Desti are made all over Turkey

In Aydın desti are still made and there they have a traditional one with three spouts that are given to brides on their wedding days. They can be bought at stalls from the roadside in Acıpayam in Denizli, Cappadocia, Erzurum… to name just a few.

What do you think?

Let us know if you have tried using a desti for your drinking water; we have for years and think they’re great. It means we can buy large returnable flagons of drinking water. These will be delivered to your door and are returnable, so you’ll have to pay a small deposit on the first purchase. But it means you can decant water straight into your desti and even if the water is warm to begin with the desti will cool it down.

Desti kebab cooking pots

If you are a little confused after reading this because you think desti kebab are a scrumptious meaty meal, don’t worry, you’re right.

Desti kebab


These ‘hot’ pots are a slightly different shape and are used in ovens or tandır but they are made in the same way.

Hope you all have an eco-testi happy summer!







    • A desti means you can avoid buying lots of bottled water… “Fill the desti with fresh, clean drinking water” preferably straight from the tap… or from a large recyclable flagon. The choice is yours!

    • I think the point of the Desti is a container that cools the water (not chills), so it is up to you if you use tap or bottled water.

      • Thank you. Well it won’t be icy but it should be cooler than the ambient temperature if it was left in a glass for example.