Photos: Slawomira Kozieniec
Modern coffee bars like Starbucks and Turkish counterparts like Kahve Dünyası and Mado, where a range of Western coffees are sold, are found in Istanbul’s tourist and upscale westernized districts. In most restaurants bars in the old city they have all kinds of western style coffees too.
Elsewhere in the city, the choices are much more limited. Instead of coffee Turks drink çay (tea) all day.
When it comes to coffee, there are generally two types: Nescafé and traditional Türk kahvesi (sediment coffee) served in espresso cups.
Turkish coffee is being made out of very fine grinded coffee. It isn’t processed through a filter but boiled in a tiny coffee pan. Sugar and/or milk is added before it is being boiled.
Don’t start to drink immediately after the Turkish coffee has been served. Give the sediment time to settle down in its tiny cup before you take your first sip.
Turkish coffee is being served with a glass of water. Not to swallow the sediment that has entered your mouth by accident, but to awaken and refresh your taste buds so that you can enjoy the coffee much better. Turks consider their coffee as a delicacy, not as something you drink all day. So many Turks drink it after an extensive dinner with family or friends.
The last couple of years pavement cafes have started to serve Turkish coffee as well and it has become a new trend to drink Turkish coffee during the day without waiting for dinner.
In 2013 Turkish coffee has been added to Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage list. Turkish National Commission for Unesco Chairman Professor Öcal Oğuz stressed that Turkish coffee was more than just a drink, stating that “it is known as ‘Turkish coffee’ all around the world not only because of its commodity, but also because of its style, preparation method and traditional presentation.”
Part of the Turkish coffee culture is to ‘read’ your future from the sediment after you have finished your coffee. They turn their cup upside down, wait till its bottom is cold and then ‘read’ the pattern of the sediment. Really fun to do!
Check out this video about the Turkish coffee culture and traditions.
You can read as well this interesting newspaper article about the history of coffee in the Ottoman Empire