This post is dedicated to one of the most famous types of coffee, the Turkish coffee. Turkish Coffee is not just a traditional drink, but also an important figure in the global coffee culture. Before I introduce you to one of the most unique ways to making Turkish coffee, I would like to share with you historical background so that you know what made Turkish coffee famous.
The history of Turkish coffee or as they say it in Turkish “Türk kahvesi” dates back to Ottoman times. Though the exact date when coffee was brought into the Ottoman Empire isn’t specified, it is reported by historians that coffee was brought in 1555 during Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. When the Ottoman governor of Yemen, Özdemir Pasha was exposed to trying coffee in Yemen, he loved the drink and when he went to Istanbul, he introduced it to the sultan. One of the methods of drinking coffee discovered in the Ottoman Palace is by roasting the beans over a fire, finely ground and then slowly cooked with water on the remains of a charcoal fire. With its new brewing method and aroma, coffee's renown soon spread even further afield.
Later, as coffee traveled from one country to another, and from one culture to another, every region has localized the methods of making the coffee. The coffee making process has developed and every culture attached its ways to prepare a cup of coffee. Consequently, nowadays we see many techniques of making coffee that have been discovered through out the years.
As it can be noted, coffee became an essential part of the palace cuisine and became very popular. It was later spread to the city, where people started to make coffee at their homes. People in Istanbul became smitten with the beverage and the taste of coffee. They even got interested to discover new methods to roast it. Green coffee beans were purchased and then roasted at home on pans. The beans were then ground in mortars and brewed in coffeepots known as "cezve", which you can see at the picture below.
Coffee, as a result, became a social norm that brings a culture of togetherness, generosity and love.
In many cultures, and in Turkish culture, coffee is a social activity that get people to socialize with each other and discuss current events, read books and it could get as entertaining as playing chess while having coffee. Moreover, coffee is a gesture of hospitality in Turkish houses.
Another interesting aspect relating to Turkish coffee is that its presentation as it’s iconic. Turkish coffee comes in a small tiny cup accompanied by a very tiny cup of water. It is believed that drinking water after coffee is a healthy habit to digest easily.
Ethnography Museum of Ankara
Below are pictures I took during my visit to the ethnography museum of Ankara. It is one of the best museums to visit in Ankara as it has beautiful architecture and interior. dedicated to the cultures Turkish civilizations. The building was designed by architect Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu and was built between 1925 and 1928. In the museum you will get to see precious historical pieces that represent the Turkish civilization. In the picture below is an Ottoman set of Turkish coffee cups or in Turkish ‘Fincan’.
Below is the map to help you find the Ethnography Museum of Ankara.
It is easy to reach and really worth visiting.
If you are interested to know more about
the history of Turkish coffee, I recommend
you this book in the picture below. The book
has been a great source for me to write this
post. However, you will find more details
and information about the history of
Turkish coffee. It is definitely a good read.
Moving on, as a lot of drinks and methods have evolved, so has the Turkish coffee. This post’s coffee experience is special since I take you to see a very unique method of making Turkish coffee. It is a traditional technique to make coffee on hot sand. This technique makes the coffee roast for longer time, which results in a better taste and deeply prepared drink. Yes, hot sand! Although the technique is traditional, the presentation of the coffee at Kafes Firin is modern as it comes in a modern tiny cup with a nicely engraved wood plate.
Try it yourself!
Let’s start with the Ingredients:
Start with filling the pot with water, then add the very finely ground coffee, and if you like your coffee sweet you can sugar. You are free to add your favourite spices. You might want to add a little cardamom in there.
To master Turkish coffee, you are supposed to heat it to a point where it is just about to beginning bubbling, but under a rolling boil, when you see that it is beginning to foam up take it without reducing the heat, repeat this process for 4-5 times as soon as you see the foam is perfectly laying on top. This will allow the foam to beautifully cover the cup.
Making coffee on sand is a traditional technique that has been used long time ago. The advantage of this technique is that you do not need to worry about the temperature of the heat source, because pots are left on the surface enabling coffee to take its time to brew.
To watch how the coffee is made in action, check out the short video below and get to know the barista's behind it all.
Turkish Coffee Reading
Turkish coffee reading is a very popular ritual that accompanies the culture of having Turkish coffee. People try it out, either for fun or for serious approach. Reading the cup is a practice that aims to interpret the symbols made by the bottom of your coffee. Since Turkish coffee is served in a small cup it leaves thick, muddy sediment at the bottom of the cup. When I flipped the cup up side down, I had to wait a little before the waiter offer to read my cup. A while when I turned the cup to its face, the surface of the cup was filled with coffee left on the sides. These are the symbols and shapes created for the fortune-teller to read. He started making predictions, and it was fun to know what he saw. However, if you check it out you do not necessarily have to believe in it, as sometimes it might not be accurate. This barista, however, predicted few things and I was shocked how he was able to do so. When I asked him to know whether he is just a random reader or not, he said his father and grandmother are very good cup readers and they do it professionally. Practicing Turkish coffee reading needs knowledge, experience and intuition, and he got them from his family background. The shapes and pattern can be interpreted in various ways and can have more than one meaning. There are common symbols such as a ring means marriage or new love and flower mean happiness. But every reader can interpret differently so there are no set meanings of each shape.
About Kafes Firin
Kafes Firin (click on the name to check out their website) is a nice bakery and coffee place in Ankara. The shop offers a wide and unique selection of pastries and desserts to pair with your coffee, as well as amazing coffee menu. The also shop has numerous branches around the city. However, the best location and the one I personally like in Panora AVM. This is because of the friendly atmosphere the space has, it is bright and cosy. Since the shop is located in Panora, which is one of the famous shopping centre in Ankara, you will have the opportunity to go shopping and enjoy the mall after having coffee. And finally, the staff and the baristas are very friendly and have great customer service.
Here is the address to Panora AVM where Kafes Firin coffee and Bakery is located:
I hope you all enjoyed reading this coffee experience and I hope you all get to try it. It's an amazing coffee and I would encourage you to try traditional drinks more since they could give you great exposure to not just a coffee a type but also a new culture.
Until next time.