A Guide to Turkish Coffee Culture
Do you like coffee and want to discover how it impacted the lives of Turks? Or are you interested in a break to discover the culinary highlights of Turkey? Uncover the most popular coffee traditions in Turkey including our list of the best cafes and restaurants to sample coffee in Istanbul.
What Makes Turkish Coffee Special
Even though the level of coffee consumption in Turkey is not as high as in Europe, the country has its unique coffee brewing method and a large number of traditions related to this drink. Turks consume coffee from the times of the Ottoman Empire settlement.
Let's dive into Turkey's coffee world to learn more about its peculiarities, way of brewing, and traditions in the post below.
Turks don't like drinking flavored or milk-filled coffee like latte or cappuccino. The original version of Turkish coffee is a rougher version of espresso. It should be dark and strong.
Thereupon, there are a lot of Turkish coffee vs espresso comparisons that highlight the differences and similarities of these two brinks. However, those who like sweet coffee can add some sugar. Usually, it is served with a glass of water and Turkish delights that are also famous worldwide.
How To Brew Turkish Coffee?
The way Turks brew coffee is unique. These days, it's quite widespread all around the globe. If you want to brew a mug of authentic coffee by following the traditional Turkish recipe, you will need the following gear and ingredients:
- coffee pot,
- coffee beans,
- 1 cup of cold water,
- optional: sugar.
For starters, you need to take coffee seeds and grind them into a fine powder. Then, mix all the ingredients into the pot and pour cold water. You should put it on a stove and wait until black foam appears. Usually, it takes 3-4 minutes. Don't stir the mixture.
When the foam starts rising, you have to put the pot off the stove and shake the top. Return to heat back and displace when the foam rises anew. The process is quite complicated. Therefore, if you want to taste true Turkish coffee, you shouldn't rely on affordable coffee makers. The only way to brew it is to follow the instructions.
Turkish coffee should contain grounds. Thereupon, you need to leave mugs with coffee for a few minutes before serving. It is a required step to let the grounds fall to the bottom of the cups. Also, Turkish coffee should be served with foam on the surface. It's a sign of a well-brewed coffee.
Topmost Coffee Traditions in Turkey
Drinking coffee is a ceremony in Turkey that created a lot of traditions. Yet, some of them remain actual. With the help of coffee, Turks meet new people, make proposals, and even tell fortunes.
Gathering in Coffee Houses
Coffee consumption is a tradition that involves gathering people for talking, playing games, etc. Coffee houses played a vital role in the lives of Turks and were the centers of socialization. In previous centuries, there were a lot of different coffee houses for various social classes. Here are the most popular types of coffee houses in Turkey in the 16th century.
- Neighborhood coffee houses
- Guild coffeehouses
- Minstrel coffeehouses
Only men were allowed to enter and spend time in coffee houses in the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, this tradition is still present in some places. Even though women are not prohibited from visiting any public places in Turkey, there are a lot of only-men coffee houses. However, women also can socialize in separate coffee houses for ladies.
Coffee First, Engagement Later
It is an ancient tradition of engagement in Turkey. When a groom came with his parents to the bride's house, she had to brew coffee for all the guests. In case a bride wasn't happy with the potential groom, she had to make his coffee bitter. It was a sign that a proposal is refused.
However, there is also another version of this tradition. The bride couldn't stop making the bride's cup of coffee bitter. She could add salt and black pepper as well.
This tradition aimed to examine the bride's patience and manliness. To pass the test, he had to finish the cup without any complaints.
It is an ancient tradition that cannot be performed without particular knowledge. As you know, Turkish coffee is served with grounds that settle at the bottom.
For starters, you need to finish your coffee if you want to reveal your future. You need to cover your mug with a saucer and turn them upside down. Then, you need to rotate the cup clockwise a few times and lift it slowly. The patterns left by coffee grains can tell the destiny.
People should follow some essential rules during this process. Firstly, you're not allowed to interpret your mug. Secondly, you shouldn't give it to other people to double-check your destiny.
Best Places to Try Turkish Coffee in Istanbul
Wondering where the best places to sample Turkish Coffee in Istanbul? These are our top recommendations:
Address: Asmalı Mescit, Olivia Gecidi, No: 1/A, Beyoglu
2. Coffeetopia Eminönü
Address: Hobyar, Arpacılar Cd. No:4, 34112 Fatih
3. Fazıl Bey’s Turkish Coffee
Address: Serasker Cad., No: 1/A, Tarihi Kadikoy Carsisi, Kadikoy
4 – Pierre Loti
Address: Gumussuyu Balmumcu Sk., No: 1, Eyüp
5. Bebek Kahve
Address: Bebek, Cevdet Paşa Cd., No: 20, Beşiktaş
6. Coffee Department
Address: Ayvansaray Mahallesi, Kurkcu Cesmesi Sk. No: 5 Balat
7. Sade Kahve charming coffee house near the Bosphorus
Address: Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., No: 20, Sarıyer
8. Şark Kahvesi
Address: Beyazıt, Yağlıkçılar Sk., No: 134, Fatih
9. Okkalı Kahve a tiny gem in the center of Beşiktaş
Address: Sinanpaşa, Yeni Hamam Sk., No: 3, Beşiktaş
10. Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi
Address: Rüstem Paşa, Tahmis Sok., No: 66, Eminonu, +90 212 511 42 62.
11. Tarihi Bagdat Kuru Kahvecisi
Address: Suadiye, Bağdat Cad./Kazım Özalp Sok., Kazım Kulan Pasajı, No: 371, D: 6, Kadıköy
12. Norm Coffee
Address: Cihangir, Güneşli Sok. 39/A, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Turkish coffee is rich in traditions, has a great history, and a large impact on social development. Worth noting that coffee changed a lot of lives in Turkey. It helped establish new connections, force or abolish engagements, and even helped people unveil their future.