Turkish Coffee: More Than A Drink

Turkish Coffee: More Than A Drink

European countries developed their coffee brewing methods after deriving coffee drinking habit from the Turks; however, the method of brewing Turkish coffee has remained almost unchanged. In many respects, Turkish coffee has to be regarded different from the rest of coffees and it would be unfair to say that merely because of its preparation or brewing. Coffee beans arrived in the Ottoman lands almost five centuries ago and became popular quickly, shaping a history with spaces and structures named after it. A distinctive way of presentation and drinking habit developed with dedicated utensils specifically crafted for brewing and serving. Moreover, coffee gained an important and unique role in the social relations and culture of Turkey as indicated by the aphorism “when a cup of coffee is offered its memory would be cherished for forty years”. That rich cultural background prompted UNESCO to inscribe the Turkish Coffee Culture and Tradition in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.

An Inseparable Aspect of Turkish Tradition
It would not be an exaggeration to assert that coffee is one of the prominent elements of social life and culture in Turkey, in fact, it can be said that it has created its own culture. The place of coffee in the social life is best indicated by its multitude of roles: It forms one of the preliminary rituals preceding the nuptial ceremony; it is almost always offered to guests; it’s the typical part of any friendly conversation; it is believed by many that shapes of coffee grounds left in the cup provides insights into the future and these often interpreted either for fun or as fortune telling. The place of coffee in the culture of Turkey could also be decoded from the terms created after coffee in Turkish language: kahverengi (coffee-coloured) means brown and kahvaltı (having something before drinking the first coffee of the day) means breakfast.

Turkish coffee form one of the stages of the ritual of asking for a girl’s hand in marriage. The coffee is brewed and served by the bride-to-be to the suitor and his elders. The taste and quality of the coffee, and the manner it is served would be closely watched as indications of the skilfulness of the bride-to-be.

The grounds of Turkish coffee left in the cup have created the unique tradition of coffee fortune telling. The patterns created by the coffee remains in the cup are interpreted to have a glimps into the future of the person who drank it.

The coffee culture has given rise to development of many handicrafts, and decorated coffee-cups, coffee-pots, or coffee-trays are among the most sought after souvenirs from Turkey.