August 29, 2011

How Turkish Coffee Helped My Dad Quit Smoking and Continue Living

mustafacoffeeEven though my family is Turkish, we didn’t discover the delights of drinkingTurkish coffee until a few years ago. My dad sort of stumbled up on it whilelooking for ways to quit smoking (after a heart attack, he knew that if he wanted to continue living, his terrible smoking habit would have to stop.) 

While my dad was reading everything he could get his hands on to figure out how he could quit smoking, he read somewhere that the best way to lose a bad habit is to swap it with a good one. That made a lot sense to him, so he started to search for a “good habit.”


People that have had to quit this habit know that one of the worst times the cravings occur is right after meals. He needed something to help during these periods and started to make Turkish coffee after his meals.

Why Turkish coffee?

Because it requires patience, it takes concentration; it’s drunk sip by sip, which is great for curbing urges.
There are several reasons for it being a relaxing activity. For one, Turkish coffee is not the kind of a beverage you can just grab it and run with it, or gulp down on the rush to work. You have to sit down before you can even drink it– otherwise, it will spill because the cups are so small!

Then what? 


Well, you have to wait a little for the grounds to settle at the bottom. You are most likely dying to take a sip at this point, but patience is essential to a sound mind. Now is a great time to strike up an interesting conversation with a family member or anyone nearby. 

In general, coffee has a powerful ability to enhance communication and interaction. This is particularly true about Turkish coffee, for the reasons being discussed.

Now what?

Take a sip.

Just “a sip?”

Well, you can’t chug the thing down like a Starbucks milkshake.

And why is that?

Well, for several reasons. For one, you need to wait a minute or so for the grounds to settle. Next, you don’t want to rush through the experience! The foamy layer on the top is considered by most to be the richest part of the experience; there are subtle nuances in flavor that should not be rushed through.

And, the coffee did take some time to prepare, so you don’t exactly want to rush at this point.


Most importantly, just relax. 

Take some time to savor it slowly and really appreciate the Turkish coffee experience. Draw a deep breath, and notice the rich deepness in scent that is only released from grinding beans to such a fine consistency. Sip the coffee and swish it around you palate to really taste the flavor – just like wine tasting (in fact, the word “coffee” is thought to originate from “kahwa,” which translates directly to wine in some languages.)

Calm yourself, reap the benefits of your preparation and enjoy the activity that people have been enjoying for centuries. This is what Turkish coffee is about.

After all this, you’ll find yourself only 3/4ths of the way into actually drinking your coffee. Don’t worry about it getting cold; Turkish coffee cups have been designed and crafted especially for the purpose of keeping the drink hot for long periods of time. The cups are very thin, and the material retains heat so well that the coffee stays hot for a long time. In contrast, modern drip coffee cups of flimsy cardboard and foam hold no light to this classic perfection.

In addition, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone drinking Turkish coffee out of a plain white demitasse cup. The cups used are usually decorated with colorful art designs. Sometimes, the uniqueness or the artistry of a certain cup itself will even spark a conversation!

Lets continue the process.

While you’re sitting there, sublimely sipping your coffee, why not include some sweets to compliment your creation? Many people like to have a Turkish delight or a piece of baklava on the side rather than adding any sugar to their cup. (By the way, the key to these sweets is freshness, freshness, freshness. This can often be difficult to find in your locale, so rest assured that our sweets are fresh from Turkey.)

By now, you are getting to the bottom of your cup, so is the whole ritual over? No, not quite yet. Now you need to turn your coffee cup upside down on your saucer. Why? Well, there are people who claim to have an ability to read your fortune from the grinds. It’s sort of like reading your horoscope from a cup of coffee. Even if you don’t believe in these sorts of things, the results can be very interesting, and your imagination will be perked.

What do you see? A healthier future?

Be social and prosper.

The experience of drinking Turkish coffee continues beyond the last sip. As stated earlier, the beverage has be lauded for as a catalyst for opening dialogue and causing one to engage in invigorating conversation.

While the beverage is still delicious and worthwhile alone, Turkish coffee is really all about socializing. Like a good glass of wine, it was meant to be shared. There is one Turkish proverb that states: “One neither desires coffee nor coffee house, one desires to converse, coffee is but an excuse.”

Any smoker knows that their habit is just as social in nature; this is why Turkish coffee is a great replacement for the rituals of you past habit. Grab a friend a make them your “coffee buddy,” who will meet with you to prepare the drink on a regular basis. 

Start a town meet up for smokers that want to quit and take on a new habit, and collectively fall in love with Turkish coffee. Bond with members of your household by sharing you new hobby with them, and encourage them to try it even if they “don’t like coffee.”

I hope Turkish coffee can be as helpful to you in your quest to quit the habit as it was to my dad. Let us know in the comments if you decide to take the “Turkish coffee challenge.” Good luck!