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A drink of pleasure...

Turkish Coffee and beyond

There are few who have not heard the name and fame of Turkish coffee. But there only a few number of people who know the real taste and the preparation ritual of the Turkish coffee. European countries, which took the coffee habit from the Turks, later developed their own style. Traditional Turkish coffee is a unique ritual with its preparation, cooking, serving, tools and equipment. The producers of coffee are not Turks; however, Turkish coffee is incomparable in terms of its preparation, technical refinement in cooking, and the aroma and flavor it brings as a result.

Etymologically it comes from the Arabic "kahwa". It is thought that this word was taken from the Kaffa region in Ethiopia, where coffee is produced. It was brought to Turkey for the first time during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566). The Ottoman Turks conquered Yemen in 1536, and after the conquest, coffee beans became an important export item for the Ottoman Empire. Since the coffee trade was the main means of generating income, the Turks established a monopoly on the cultivation of trees in Yemen. They did not allow the fertile beans to be taken out of the country without first being steeped in boiling water or partially roasted to prevent them from sprouting. However, these actions did not work very well and at the beginning of the following century, coffee production started in different geographies of the world, starting from South Asia.


Coffeehouses are an important part of coffee culture. The first coffeehouse opened in Eminönü, Istanbul and attracted the interest of all segments of society. This new substance, whose exact identity was not known, was treated as a drug and was banned by the clergy on the pretext that everything roasted to the level of charcoal would be deemed haram in Islam. Despite all, the popularity and spread of coffee could not be prevented. The old coffeehouses had become club-like centers for literary and musical activities. With these aspects, they are considered the ancestors of French coffees.

The tools and equipment used in Turkish coffee from the bean to the stage of cooking and serving are rich enough to create a complete museum. These equipments and tools could also be made of silver or gold. Cups were produced in Iznik and Kütahya workshops and sometimes in the famous porcelain centers of Europe, with shapes and motifs suitable for Turkish taste.

A coffee worthy of a drinker should be cooked for 15-20 minutes on a slow fire. A spoonful of coffee and a spoonful of sugar for every cup of coffee has become the rule today. No matter how it is cooked, a Turkish coffee without foam is unthinkable. Old Turkish coffee, on the other hand, was usually unsweetened. Instead, there was a tradition of eating or drinking something sweet before or after coffee. Drinks such as sherbet or jam, candy or Turkish delight were also eaten for dessert. Thanks to time-consuming preparation techniques, Turkish coffee leaves its taste and freshness on your palate for a long time. It is softer, aromatic, and intense than other coffees. It is quite easy to distinguish Turkish coffee from other coffees with its unique aroma, grounds, and foam.

If the coffee was desired to have a different and pleasant smell, a piece of scented substance was placed in a shell placed at the bottom of the cups. The most used scents were jasmine, amber, clove and cardamom.

The presentation of Turkish coffee would be like a real traditional ceremony. This ceremony includes long, spectacle phases from the roasting of the coffee beans, to the cooking, placing in the cups and offering it to the guests. It is possible to watch an example of real Turkish hospitality and warm respect for the guest in these ceremonies.

Turks have a tradition called 'kız isteme'(asking for the girl). In this tradition, the husband candidate's family goes to the possible wife's family and asks for their permission to marry their daughter. Today, the fact that the girl to be married carries the coffee when requested, and her mastery in carrying it, as well as the flavor of the coffee she cooks, is still an important tradition left over from these ceremonies. Travelers who visited Turkey in the past and ambassadors with diplomatic personality have always mentioned all the features of Turkish coffee and these ceremonies in their memoirs.

Another tradition after drinking Turkish coffee is coffee fortune telling. Various traces and signs that coffee grounds create in the cup and on the plate as the cup is turned to tell fortunes are explained by "experts". According to the research, coffee fortune-telling is seen only in the Turkish-Ottoman world. As a matter of fact, we see that this folkloric practice continues in the former Ottoman provinces, which are independent countries in the Balkans.

There is no harmful side of Turkish coffee that can threaten health. It has soothing and relaxing properties. 50 mg in a cup of coffee. Caffeine is immediately eliminated from the body. In this respect, the Turkish coffee cup has ideal dimensions. When you drink more than a cup, its mind-opening, stimulating, energizing feature comes to the fore. It aids digestion. In this respect, it prevents weight gain and heartburn, if you do not drink it with sugar. It has a reputation as being a pleasurable drink when you drink it at the right time.

At the end of the 17th century, the Turkish army withdrew after the extended blockade of Vienna failed. The Turks left behind five hundred large sacks of tents, oxen, camels, sheep, honey, rice, grain, gold, and strange-looking beans that the Viennese thought should be camel food. They started burning the sacks as they would not use them for camels. "What you're burning is Coffee! If you don't know what coffee is, give it to me. I'll find a good way to use it." Knowing Turkish traditions, he knew how to roast, grind and cook coffee. Kolschitzky soon opened the first Viennese cafe called the "Blue Bottle".


At first, Europeans did not know what to do with this new unfamiliar drink. Eventually, they embraced coffee with passion. VIII. Pope Clement tasted the Muslim drink at the request of his priests, who asked him to ban this drink. "Why is this devil's drink so delicious," he said, astonished that "there must be a mercy in giving unbelievers the privilege of using it. We must deceive the devil by baptizing it and making it a true Christian drink."

In the first half of the 17th century, coffee was still an exotic beverage and, like sugar, cocoa, and other scarce substances such as tea, was initially used as expensive medicinal drugs by the upper class.

In the 1650s, coffee was sold on Italian streets by aquaccdratajo or lemonade vendors, who also offered coffee, chocolate, and liqueur. Venice's first cafe opened in 1683. Named after the beverage it served, the "caffe" soon became synonymous with fun friendships, cheerful conversations, and delicious food.

Remarkably, the French followed the Italians and British in opening their cafes because of their later desire for coffee. In 1669, the Turkish Ambassador offered coffee to French guests at pompous Parisian parties. The male guests learned to sit without a chair and drink this exotic beverage in luxurious surfaces in their astonishing suits. Coffee was still seen as just a novelty. It wasn't until 1689 that famous French cafes took root that an Italian immigrant opened the Cafe de Prope. Shortly after the opening, French actors, writers, actors and musicians were now gathering here for coffee and literary conversations. In the next century, the cafe attracted such celebrities as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot.


Coffee and cafes arrived in Germany in the 1670s. At the beginning of the 18th century, there were cafes in many large German cities. At the turn of the century, coffee lover Ludwig van Beethoven was using exactly 60 beans to brew a cup of coffee. In 1777, the hot beverage became too popular, according to Frederick the Great, who published a manifesto in favor of Germany's more traditional drink: "It sucks to notice the increase in the amount of coffee consumed by my people and therefore the amount of money going out of my country. My people should drink beer... His kingdom and ancestors came with beer". Eventually, coffee continued to expand its market despite all efforts to get rid of it.

In 1650, coffee swept through England like a torrent of black coffee when Jacobs, a Lebanese Jew, opened the first cafe for "innovation-lovers" at Oxford University. At the turn of the century, there were more than 2,000 cafes in London, with more space and rent than any other business. Cafes were known as 1-cent (BATU, was it used in cents at that time or penny, pence?) universities because this money could buy a cup of coffee and sit and have extraordinary conversations for hours. On December 29, 1675, King II. Charles issued a proclamation for the closure of cafes. In this proclamation, he banned cafes as of January 10, 1676, because the shopkeepers neglected their business and were "a good refuge for the stray and unruly." There was a sudden worry all over London. Within a week, it became clear that the royal throne would be shaken, and on January 8, two days before the proclamation was put into effect, the king renounced his decision.

The first American cafe opened in Boston in 1689. There was no clear difference between taverns and cafes in the colonies. Beer, coffee, and tea were served together. After the famous Boston Tea Party riot, pragmatic North Americans did not ignore the fact that coffee was grown closer to them than tea and was cheaper as a result. Increasingly, they would rely on coffee grown in their half in the south in the 19th century.

In 1714, the Netherlands gave the French government a healthy coffee plant, and nine years later Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, a French naval officer, brought coffee production to the French colony of Martinique. This is how Latin America met and spread the coffee tree. That coffee tree planted in Martinique has grown. This single plant probably supplies most of the world's coffee needs today.


Turkish coffee culture and tradition has been registered in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List on behalf of Turkey as of 2013.

A cup of coffee has forty years of memory…

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