Turkish Coffee History

Turkish Coffee history

It has to be said, just like all coffee, there is good and there is not so good. Just as the the supermarkets stock coffee beans and ground coffee that has been roasted many months ago, the same goes for Turkish Coffee. Most people use the small packets of mass produced coffee that is very well roasted and rather bitter. There is a growing group of artisan coffee roasters in Turkey that are using quality beans, taking care to roast the beans to perfection, producing Turkish coffee with a variety of tastes to suit most palates. After all, everyone’s taste buds are different, so let’s roast!

So, how did we get to this point?

There are many different stories of how the world discovered coffee, but we do know that is was during the Ottoman period, coffee was brought in from Ethiopian and Yemen. Wikipedia has a number of interesting history logs that show the global introduction to coffee from Malta to Italy and Europe and then onto the Americas. The start of the world’s love affair with coffee seems to date back to the 15th Century with global domination around the 18th Century. Indeed coffee seems to have spread the globe as the modern world was expanding it’s borders during the age of discovery.

So, what is traditional Turkish Coffee?
The most used terms in Turkey are Türk Kahve (Turkish coffee) and Nescafe (the sachets of granules). In many, if not most parts of Turkey, these are the only options available to you. No single origin or third wave coffee. So whatever “traditional Turkish coffee” was hundreds of years ago, it is not the same today. Unless you buy from an artisan coffee roasters, Turkish coffee is no longer made from Yemen of Ethiopian beans, but from very low grade Brazilian beans. It is either roasted until just after the first crack (light roast), which I have yet to see, and then there is the dark roast and beyond which seems to be the usual level of roast, or in other words, burnt to a crisp roast!
Back in the 15th century and most probably up to the 19th century, coffee would have been roasted in a pan over an open fire, and then hand ground with a mortar and pestle. So the beans may not be “traditionally” produced these days, but the style of making the coffee is the same. It is cooked over a flame in a “cezve” and drunk in a small cup called a “kahve fincanı”.

Afiyet olsun (Bon Appetit).

 

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