A short walk in the bylanes of Istanbul reveals much about the city’s loving tryst with coffee. The aroma from quaint cafes draws in visitors from far and wide. “Kahve, lütfen,” are the magic words and a fresh pour arrives on your table. Coffee is one of the more leisurely activities here; you can sit down with a cup and read away into the sunset, with no prying eyes to dissuade you from a quiet evening. This coffee culture also allows you to immerse yourself in something more intangible here - a tradition that has survived and thrived right from the time of Ottoman Empire, when Turkish Coffee found its origin.
How Coffee Came To Turkey
Arabia was the first home to coffee drinkers and coffee houses, which then made pit stops in Egypt and Persia before settling in the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century; Istanbul opened its doors to the first coffeehouse in the empire. These spaces thrived in an age of great educational, social, and political activity, allowing for socialising opportunities, even if they were restricted to just men. The culture of coffeehouses was also adopted by the West and soon came to proliferate around the world, making coffee an integral part of our daily lives.
How Is Turkish Coffee Made
There is a popular Turkish proverb that says that a Turkish coffee would remain imprinted on your mind for 40 years. I believe it to be true, for each copper cezve (pot) is a powerhouse of flavour and intensity. Made by combining finely ground coffee beans with water, the contents are brought to a frothy stage and often contain sugar (If you’re ordering Turkish Coffee, be sure to mention if you need it without sugar (Sade kahve, please)).
Once the brew is ready, the coffee grinds are added to the cups, which sink to the bottom, leaving the coffee on top unfiltered and potent. An important part of Turkish culture, UNESCO saw merit in its traditional value and added Turkish coffee to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
Cup Of Fortune-Telling Coffee, Please
In addition to the fragrance and potency, what sets Turkish coffee apart from its contemporaries is its ability to predict the future. Sounds mystic? It is actually a common practice in the country to use the thick grounds left on the bottom of one’s cup to peer into the future. Find it hard to imagine? Millennials will remember Professor Trelawney’s Divination class in Harry Potter, when she reads the future using tea leaves. Something on the same lines, but less grim, we hope. Even without the charm of fortune-telling, Turkish Coffee will appeal to coffee aficionados who appreciate a good, fresh strong cuppa.