I’m one of those people who likes to drink coffee as a first thing in the morning. Coffee is a like a wake up call, a morning pleasure, a working inspiration, a break from busy times, a reason to share and an indispensable taste for me… But among my addiction for all kinds of coffee, there’s one special kind which is not only a drink but also a ritual. It’s not the kind of coffee that can be grabbed on the way to work but deserves a special time to enjoy it. It’s called “Turkish Coffee” and I’m in love with it!
A competition was held last Sunday at Ishtar Restaurant in Marylebone in UK to find the best Turkish coffee maker was won by Aysin Aydogdu from Twickenham. Aysin, who is a barista, won the Cezve/Ibrik competition held by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. Coffee makers from Britain, Iran and Uzbekistan were invited to participate.
Aysin, who has represented Britain in the past in this competition, had to impress a five-member jury and to help her entry, put together a harem-like presentation and performance. 26 year-old Aysin will now represent the UK in the Cezve/Ibrik category at the international Caffe Culture competition to be held at London’s Olympia at the end of next month. She will be competing against representatives from 55 different countries. Other categories include the World Barista Championship, Latte Art, Cup Tasters and Coffee in Good Spirits.
When most people think of Houston, Texas, they may not immediately jump to coffee. But as Rob Wash points out in an article published by Houston Press, there are tons of great places to find Turkish coffee in Houston. He specifically points out the Turquoise Grill Brick Oven Bistro, Empire Turkish Grill and Cafe Pita.
Wash also delights us with some knowledge of Turkish coffeehouse history:
There were no bars or taverns in the alcohol-freeOttoman Empire, so the coffeehouse was the center of social life. And it was the Turks who gave us many of our coffeehouse traditions. My friends from Bosnia andCroatia consider it vaguely antisocial to drink coffee at home. You drink coffee in a coffeehouse. But having a Turkish or Bosnian coffee is not like knocking back a quick cup of joe in a diner — it’s a social occasion.
The preparation of Turkish-style coffee is very complex. The powdery coffee grounds are slowly cooked with cold water over a gentle heat source in a single-serving copper ewer until the highly desirable foam forms on top and the fine grounds sink to the bottom. There are various methodologies; some call for double or triple heating.
Turquoise Diaries posted a great article about Traditional Turkish Coffeehouses.
On my previous post there was a lovely photo of two men playing backgammon from Oytun Orgul. The photograph was taken in the Tahmis Coffeehouse in Gaziantep , a city in the south-eastern part of Turkey.
I have visited the very same coffeehouse couple years ago as most of the visitors of Gaziantep. Tahmis is a famous place as it was operated as a coffeehouse since 1903 by the members of the same family. During the Ottoman period, the building was known to built to supply income to the nearby lodge used by Mevlevi dervishes.
Read more about it on her website here.
“…if you really want to submerge yourself in the Turkish culture, you need to look no deeper than the bottom of the teeny, tiny Turkish coffee cup.”
She also pays tribute to an important fact in the history of coffee that is often forgotten:
The first coffee to arrive in Turkey was brought by the Yemeni in 1543 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.The Turkish people responded to the new coffee craze by establishing the world’s first coffeehouses a little more than 10 years later. Not unlike the atmosphere of Starbucks, they became places for people to read, play chess, and discuss music, art, and the latest town gossip.
Lastly, Schaffer pays homage to a Turkish term that sums of the beauty of Turkish coffee:
The Turkish term keyif, which means “idly enjoying the moment,” is used to describe the mood: imagine lounging around on plush cushions surrounding decorative pools with running water meant to soothe the senses. Walls to the left and right are covered with neat, little coffee cups and other small trinkets familiar to the coffee culture. Directly in front of you is one of the best panoramic views of the city. It may sound very much like posh coffeehouses tucked away in Manhattan or Los Angeles, but this was the making of a civilization in the mid-16th century.
Great job, Leah! We couldn’t have said it better.
Shingirmingir, while exploring the role of gender in traditional Turkish coffee culture, lets us on to some interesting personal details about enjoying Turkish coffee. Check it out!
In the old days Turkish girls used to be brought up to make perfect coffee with a perfect amount of foam on the top of the small cup. Turkish coffee is not only aesthetically pleasant, but it tastes heavenly, as well; at least when it is made pure and strong, almost bitter, and with no milk or sugar. Whether or not a girl was considered a catch was defined after the level of her skills for making coffee. Unfortunately my parents never taught me to make perfect Turkish coffee, but my father did teach me to enjoy it; when I was younger he always made me smell the coffee before he put it on. Mmm…smell, he would say and would take a deep breath and fill my lungs with the aroma.
Steve Woolsey, a designer, composer, writer and performer shares some musings on Turkish coffee.
I have been trying to find a decent cup of Turkish coffee in the area for some time. I’ve even tried to find the right tools and ingredients to brew it at home. Ever since I first had a cup in the Czech Republic, it quickly ascended to the top of my beverage-based experiences.
I recently found a cafe not far from my apartment that serves said coffee. It’s called Sweetness 7 (corner of Grant & Lafayette in Buffalo). I had been there a few times prior, but hadn’t realized that the menu included this delicacy.
A few days ago I stopped over to try a cup (a mere $2!), and was surprised and impressed to find what lengths they went to provide an excellent Turkish coffee experience. It was served on a fancy little tray with a small cup for drinking, a small flask of cream, the entire pot of coffee straight off the stove, and one of the best walnut brownies I’ve had in some time.
This is an experience that I will seek out several times a week, for as long as I live in this city.
Murat Tokay published an article in Today’s Zaman, a popular English language newspaper in Turkey, about some fantastic spots to grab a cup of Turkish coffee in Istanbul.
Tokay begins with one of our favorite spots, Pierre Loti Cafe: Located on the hills of Eyüp, with an amazing view of the Golden Horn, the Pierre Loti Cafe is a popular venue for those who want to escape the city. The cafe can be reached by walking up stairs passing through the cemetery located next to the Eyüp Sultan mosque. If you sit near the very front, you can see an amazing view of the Golden Horn before you and sip a delicious cup of coffee. The cafe gets its name from famous French author Pierre Loti, who lived between 1850 and 1923. As a naval officer, Loti came to Turkey in 1876 and stayed for a year. It was during that same year that he discovered the historical coffee on the hills of Eyüp. Ever since then, the cafe on that hill has been called Pierre Loti.He goes on to discuss several great places to get Turkish coffeeheated on coals and cooked on sand, some of the best ways to prepare this delicious drink.
One other thing worth pointing out is Tokay’s discussion about theTurkish Coffee Culture and Research Foundation, a recently created group:
The chairman of the foundation is Atom Damalı, its members include people who contribute a great deal to the sector such as Ahmet Örs, Mehmet Aksel, Merve Gürsel, Osman Serim, Semir Orcan and Ali Sözmen. The mission of the foundation is to set up a standard of how to make Turkish coffee and give it the global attention it deserves. The foundation is also planning to write a book and film a comprehensive documentary on Turkish coffee.We’re certainly going to keep an eye on the Turkish Coffee Culture and Research Foundation, and we wish them the best!
It’s not easy being an Albanian bride. They’re judged on appearance, behavior, pedigree — and, of course, coffee-making skills.
Six brides were put to the test Sunday during a Mother’s Day celebration at the Albanian-American Cultural and Islamic Center Hasan Prishtina on Columbia Boulevard in Waterbury. Organizers made a game of the Albanian tradition of coffee-serving by having six brides compete on who can make coffee and serve their mothers-in-law the fastest.
Each lined up with a small burner, a serving tray, small cup and saucer and a xhezve, a Turkish coffee cooker, in front of them. They worked fast, spooning Turkish coffee and sugar in the xhezve and enough water to fill a small Turkish coffee cup, about the size of an espresso cup. The coffee cooked in the burner, with each bride watching the boiling point as relatives cheered them on.
By Amy Scattergood, May 11, 2009
These utterly gorgeous contraptions are brass grinders, made for pepper or other spices, or for the grinding of Turkish coffee. They’re both from Turkey: the smaller of the two I bought at the spice bazaar in Istanbul a few years ago; the larger is from Turkish Coffee World, a fantastic online site that sells Turkish coffee paraphernalia.
Turkish Coffee World is run by Istanbul native Mustafa Arat, who operates a one-man company out of his home in the sun-drenched suburban world of swimming pools and occasional palm trees in Corona, California. Arat imports his coffee grinders and pots (cezve) and cups from Turkey, as well as coffee itself from Mehmet Efendi, an Istanbul coffee company which was founded in 1871.
The grinders are stunningly pretty; they’re also seemingly indestructable, unlike all the other coffee grinders that have passed through my kitchen to date. You can adjust the grind by turning the screws on the side. The tall grinder grinds very finely, which is how Turkish coffee is ground, like powder. I’ve set the smaller of the two to grind more coarsely, which is how I like my black pepper. I’ve also used it for allspice, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns.
If you don’t have one of these, by the way, and are still interested in making Turkish coffee at home (very easy: see Arat’s site for how to do this), you can use any medium roast coffee and simply grind it at the grocery store. It turns out that most of the public coffee grinders at grocery stores have settings for Turkish coffee grind, which I didn’t realize until Arat told me to check. It’s worth getting one of these though, so you don’t have to grind your Tellicherry peppercorns at Trader Joe’s, which I don’t imagine they’d appreciate.