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Turkish Coffee, without tradition, nothing can reach the universal dimension.

The reason why Turkish coffee is so loved and known in the world is the strong coffee tradition, social rituals and different preparation and cooking techniques that have formed over hundreds of years.


Veyis Durdu, Researcher on Ancient Anatolian Culinary History and Culture Ancient Anatolian Culinary Arts İnstructor. Writer Gastronomy Consultant.



Turkish coffee from past to today


Although there are some written documents about the arrival of coffee in Istanbul, the dates shown for this event differ. Although the exact date of its arrival in the Ottoman lands is not known, he claims that there are records that coffee was first drunk in 1517 during the reign of Selim I (1512-1520). He mentions that the name of coffee was heard during the reign of Selim I and that it was widely drunk a century later. Although not a common use of coffee, another information that conveys a special use belongs to the year 1522. This plant, which was approved by elite circles in the first years of the reign of (Kanunî) Sultan Suleiman I, was identified by Bedreddin al-Kûsûni, the sultan's private doctor, with the "addictive" used instead of medicine, which is known as a panacea, and an opinion in favor of coffee consumption was developed.

The next date given in the sources about the spread of coffee in the world is that coffee was brought to Istanbul and Rumelia for the first time by the Governor of Abyssinia Özdemir Pasha in 1543 during the reign of (Kanunî) Sultan Süleyman I (1520-1566) vía Yemen.

According to İsmail Hami Danishmend, Istanbul's meeting with coffee coincides with the Kanuni period. However, this date, which he stated as the Kanuni Period, is 1555. Based on the information given, although there are different dates in various sources, data on the existence of coffee in the Kanuni Period are presented in most of them, and these are especially supported by encyclopedic publications.





Coffee - addicted in the ottoman palace


The Ottoman dynasty was addicted to this black pearl. In the palace, coffee masters for 40 people were preparing Turkish coffee for the sultan and his guests. The coffee maker stood in front of him with an embroidered towel, and behind him was a coffee maker carrying empty cups and water glasses. Behind him, there was another coffee shop holding my gum with his left hand, and at the end another coffee shop would line up with an empty tray in his hand. The bass coffee maker would offer the sultan the coffee poured into the coffee cup.

Coffee was made without sugar and served with Turkish delight and a glass of water. The Establishment of Coffeehouses in Turkey and Europe is seen at the beginning of the 16th century.

In Istanbul, on the other hand, the first coffeehouse is seen around 1511. According to historian İbrahim Peçevi, the meeting of the coffee house with the Turks in Istanbul was probably with the approval of the (Kanunî) Sultan Suleiman, with the coffee house opened in 1554 -1555 by two Syrian Arabs named Aleppo Referee (Hükm) and Şamlı Şems. This history is also supported by encyclopedic data.

These two people came to Istanbul and started both trading coffee and opening a coffee house in Tahtakale (Taht-el Kal). In this way, coffee and coffeehouse were officially accepted with the permission obtained by being registered in the trade registry, and the first foundations of an institution and therefore a tradition were laid from that date to the present day.

As mentioned in the sources mentioned, the coffeehouse became so popular that in the middle of the 16th century, it is said that referee and Şems made a fortune by spreading the coffee habit among the Turks of Istanbul. It is thought that most people first tasted coffee in a coffee shop, that is, in a coffee house.

After coming to Istanbul, coffee began to be consumed mostly in coffeehouses, that is, outdoors, despite the possibility of drinking it at home. In 1555, Syrian and Egyptian merchants started to bring coffee to Istanbul and opened coffeehouses. In order to gain the appreciation of the consumers, it was necessary to present this drink hot and correctly. Therefore, Syrian and Levantine merchants started to open coffeehouses.

The reason why coffee houses became so widespread was that restaurants were not known in Muslim societies, and taverns and taverns were also prohibited. Coffeehouses soon became places where people would socialize and do something other than religious matters in Muslim regions. It was possible to meet people who were not from the family in coffee houses. Coffeehouses have become a place where people can spend time at night, people who are not from the family can be invited, not much money will be spent, and people can spend their private time. Coffeehouses have ceased to be just places to drink and have become places where forbidden topics have been discussed. Coffeehouses began to be places where political issues were discussed in places such as Cairo, Istanbul, Damascus, and Algeria.

First of all it was spread by the Sufis. Although coffeehouses were open to all Muslim men, some places catered to luxury and wealthy people. According to the claims of some medical scientists, dry and cold coffee creates effects similar to alcohol in humans and causes melancholy. However, these statements were not taken seriously. As a social drink, coffee and coffee have caused serious political developments in the Middle East. IV. Murat, fearing the political impact of around 600 coffeehouses in Istanbul, ordered punitive practices against coffeehouses. He also wrapped the coffee in leather like a criminal and cleared his throat.

However, his move was unsuccessful. In order to continue these habits of people, they started to prefer "Turkish coffee" served in smaller cups. The customers of the first coffeehouses were formed by the new elite class, the bureaucracy, that is, the members of the Kalemiye, which was a real autonomous administrative institution in the Kanuni Period. “Some people who are fond of their pleasures, especially many great people from the literate team, have started to come together and organize crowded meetings thanks to coffee houses, and these have become places they frequently visit” He also emphasized that in addition to playing backgammon, checkers and chess in these shops, the number of which is gradually increasing, the relevant places gained a literary quality; He defined these places as places where books and fine writings are read and sometimes poetry and literature are mentioned (1999: 33). As the coffeehouses are filled with people and attract attention, the clergy and preachers are disturbed by this and take action to ban the coffee houses. In mosques, masjids, sermons and advice are given to avoid going to coffee houses.

As a result of the efforts spent, the first ban in history was finally imposed by Şeyhülislam Ebusuûd, one of the leading figures of the Period of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566). Prohibitions are repeated for long or short periods in each sultan's period. Although it was exposed to various prohibitions, its spread among the people could not be prevented and according to Ekrem Işın, especially in the first period of its emergence, coffee houses became places that brought many people together and provided socialization and modernization. Due to the fact that it has a very solid and deep-rooted historical past, it has been easily accepted by the society that it has become a habit as a result of the widespread use of coffee shops.





The Place of Coffeehouses in Turkish Society


For Turkish society, coffeehouses have also been of great importance as places where oral folk culture products are created, spread and transferred from generation to generation. By enabling the production and display of traditional folk narratives, coffeehouses that host storytellers, meddahs, folk poets and karagöz players, who are the creators and carriers of folk culture products, have also become public education venues. The people in the coffeehouses had fun with the activities they participated in passively, either by playing games they could actively participate in such as chess and backgammon, or by listening or watching the bearers of folk culture products such as karagöz, meddah, and folk poet, and they stayed for long hours in these places.

During this period, coffeehouses were established to appeal to people from different groups and professions. These; It has been called with names such as hacegân coffee, artisan coffee, minstrels coffee, neyzen coffee, instrument coffee, teacher coffee, tulumbacılar coffee, hashishmen coffee, morning person coffee and janissary coffee. In the same period, coffee and coffee house became the subject of Turkish literary works. Therefore; In classical poetry, folk poetry, folk songs, tales, rhymes, riddles, proverbs, idioms and anecdotes, subjects such as the characteristics of coffee, its effect on people and the place that coffee has in society are frequently encountered.




Preparation of Coffee as a Beverage and Tools Used in Turkey


Coffee has become a part of daily life as well as the places where people drink it collectively, and it has also started to be drunk at home. Preparing coffee as a beverage in Turkish culture has become a ritual in itself. Tools such as pans, bowls, and mortars, which were previously manufactured and used for other purposes, have gained a unique flavor over time and have been developed into tools and equipment in more useful and more aesthetic forms, unique to the cooking and serving style known as "Turkish coffee" in the world.

In addition, new forms of these have been designed to appeal to all levels of taste. The secret of the taste of Turkish coffee is hidden in the way it is roasted. If it is not roasted enough or over-roasted, it loses a lot of its flavor and smell. The fresher the coffee, the tastier it is, so the utensils designed for home use are for four or five people. This means that coffee is freshly roasted, cooled, ground and cooked as needed, and thus is indispensable in Turkish cuisine. Instead of the mortars used for grinding coffee, hand mills were produced, and these mills were decorated with handcrafts of material value, such as wooden containers used for cooling and storing coffee. Likewise, the coffee pot, which is the name of the container in which the coffee is brewed and entered our language from Arabic, and the cups that were first without handles and used with coasters called envelopes, also have handwork that can be considered as works of art. There is hardly a house in Turkish culture without an elegant cup set.



The Place of Coffee in Turkish Society and the Culture Formed Around


From the beginning until the end of the 19th century, coffee tradesmen focused on Eminönü and Tahtakale districts, and coffee was shipped raw from there to other parts of the city, all over the country and abroad. Consumers used to roast the green coffee they bought in an earthen coffee pan, pound it in a mortar or mortar, and grind it with a hand grinder in the future.





What is Turkish coffee?


Turkish coffee is not the espresso that Italians drink in one gulp to get energy. Its preparation and drinking should be slow and pleasant. It doesn't come in a hurry. But it is permanent; “A cup of coffee has 40 years of memory”.

Turkish coffee is the only coffee that is cooked and drunk with its grounds. For this, it must be ground very finely so that the grounds settle at the bottom of the cup and do not leave a negative taste in the mouth while drinking.

Turkish coffee is the only coffee with a ritual. In the Ottoman Palace, coffee was served with a special ritual by a team under the management of Kahvecibaşı. Each of the members of the team had a role in the ritual. Unfortunately, although we know many details about the clothes of the coffee team, the tools used and the cups, we have not yet been able to reach the details of the ritual.

Two, the famous traveler Evliya Çelebi, who lived between 1611 and 1682, writes that the number of tradesmen selling coffee in the city reached 500 and the number of shops reached 300 in his own time. Çelebi states the number of coffee houses as only 55, and the coffee shop shopkeepers as 200 people in the same period. In contrast, he says the number of coffee warehouses is around 300.

In this context, coffee and coffeehouses were seen as a danger by the administrators of the period and were banned from time to time.

By the seventeenth century, coffee passed from the Middle East to Anatolia and from Anatolia to Europe. Wars, migrations and diplomats have been instrumental in this journey.

Turkish coffee is the only coffee on which poems, novels have been written, songs and folk songs have been composed, and which have entered proverbs.

So much so that it is the only type of coffee that has been the subject of a famous German composer named Johann Sebastian Bach, about which a classical piece of music has been composed.

In this cantata of Bach No. BWV 211, the father opposes his daughter's coffee drinking habit and complains that he cannot control her. His daughter, on the other hand, opposes her father, saying that she cannot be without coffee. The father finds the solution by threatening his daughter, who wants to get married, by telling her to forget about the wedding if she does not stop drinking coffee. The girl, on the other hand, promises to follow her father's advice, but explains to the men who want to marry her that she will only marry the one who will not interfere with his free coffee. Eser, “Can the cat do without catching a mouse? Who's right to talk to young girls when mothers love coffee meetings and grandmothers can't be without coffee!” it ends.

In line with technology and commercial developments, coffee is sold to consumers as roasted, ground and packaged. At the same time, coffee beans are ground in machines and turned into powder. In these ways, coffee has become a drink suitable for drinking at any time of the day, and in this context, it has become an important tool for people to meet with each other, exchange ideas, chat and have fun.

Names (such as Şazili) or place names mentioned in the legends about the emergence of coffee are used by cultural and economic creators and appear as coffee brands. Again, the changing technology has also been effective in the production and consumption of coffee (such as three-in-one instant Turkish coffees). There has been a transition from copper coffee pots to electronic coffee machines.

As a result of the changing society and technology, coffees that are made fast and coffee types, the places where coffee is drunk have started to show diversity. Coffees enriched with new sauces or flavors

(Dibek, Menengiç, Mastic Mastic, Chocolate, etc.) has found a new consumer base and created traditions around it.

It is a very common tradition to offer coffee to a guest who comes to our house in Turkey. In fact, this practice is considered one of the courtesy rules in our country. During the holidays, coffee is offered to the guests, those who come to visit the sick and condolences. Drinking coffee, in small sips, is like a silent ceremony, where almost everyone being served starts and finishes at the same time. In addition to the coffee, which is usually served in small cups with options such as plain, medium, sweetened, various sweeteners (Turkish delight, candy, chocolate, etc.) and water in small glasses are also served.

In the context of changing venues and presentations, as a result of the inadequacy of small glasses, the offering of tea-cup-sized coffees called Süvari started. Coffee is made on low heat by adding one to one and a half teaspoons of coffee to each cup of water by adding as much water as the number of cups to be drunk into the coffee pot. After the foam of the coffee that has started to be cooked is divided into the cups, the remaining portion is added on it. In Turkey, it is very rare that people do not encounter a coffee service even in a small shop where they go for shopping.

The habit of drinking coffee, which has become a part of the diet, is maintained by the households even when there are no visitors at home. In Turkish tables, the coffee that is drunk after the meal is an element that completes the meal. In transition periods, drinking coffee has become an important custom, especially in the first step of marriage, during the marriage ceremony.

Drinking coffee is almost a prerequisite for making a promise. In this context, coffee has a great role in the tradition of asking a girl, which has a very important place in our culture. In this ritual, coffee turns into a nonverbal communication tool; For example, the offer of coffee indicates that the girl is given, a well-made coffee indicates that the girl is resourceful. Likewise, offering coffee is a tool for the groom and his family to see the girl easily.

The coffee, which is drunk as a result of asking for a girl, is first served to the family elders of the male side. The girl offers coffee to her parents and then to all the guests there. The groom's coffee, on the other hand, is served separately by adding various spices or salt to it instead of sugar. While various meanings were attributed to salty coffee over time , today it is seen as a test of love.

There are also coffee cup sets and coffee pot sets in the dowry of every young girl. Coffee, which is highly preferred as a social drink among adults, is not often given to children as a result of traditional rules. In this context, children who want to drink coffee are told that their mustache or beard will not grow, their skin color will become darker like coffee, and they will not have children in the future. These beliefs continue widely, probably because of the harmful effects of coffee and the caffeine it contains.

Coffee, which is a part of social life, has become a symbol of hospitality and kindness in Turkish society. The coffeehouses established after coffee became widespread paved the way for a social life that could develop outside the home.

As a result of the commodification of coffee, coffee consumption has changed with fortune telling as a result of people's curiosity to learn about the future of entertainment and living centers established in different forms and structures from coffee houses. As a result of the cultural changes experienced, the opening of fortune-telling cafes, the addition of various spices and salt to the coffees offered to the groom in the marriage ceremony, and the change of the tools and equipment used due to the coffee presentation are observed in its natural course. However, the deep-rooted culture and traditions created around the coffee that has emerged continue to introduce itself to the world as "Turkish coffee". In this context; For taking serious steps towards the protection of the “Turkish Coffee Culture and Tradition”, which has been passed down from generation to generation throughout history and which contains many elements related to our cultural heritage, by UNESCO and for the preservation of traditions and social practices shaped around this culture: 02-07 December 2013 The 'Turkish Coffee and Tradition' Candidacy File, which was examined within 31 files nominated for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the 8th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Baku with the participation of approximately 800 delegates from 103 countries between was accepted as the eleventh registered heritage in Turkey's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. http://www.unesco.org.tr/

As you can see, coffee, which turned into a beverage that did not exist until that day in Istanbul with the coffee beans coming from Yemen, first spread to the Ottoman lands and then to all of Europe via Venice and Vienna. While no soft drink was on the UNESCO Intangible World Cultural Heritage list before, UNESCO's inclusion of Turkish Coffee Culture on this world heritage list in 2013 was made possible thanks to these unique features.

In other words, behind any coffee variety known in the world, there is no cultural accumulation that can be compared with Turkish coffee. Thanks to the brand new brewing and cooking technique invented by the Turks, the coffee was cooked in hot pots and coffee pots and took the name TURKISH COFFEE .

Various legends have been formed around the discovery of the coffee bean, one of the oldest known plants on earth. Again, it is not known with certain data by whom coffee was first consumed as a beverage. However, there is also information that coffee as a plant was used in the eleventh century and as a beverage in the fourteenth century. The Middle East, that is, Yemen, Ethiopia and Abyssinia, is the place where coffee is first grown. Coffee, which is used as a herb and beverage that spreads from the Middle East to Anatolia and Europe in various ways, has been interpreted according to each culture and has taken its place as Turkish coffee all over the world with its different cooking techniques and special rituals and traditions today.

Like all culinary cultures in the world, Turkish coffee is the common cultural heritage of all humanity.



Turkish coffee brands


Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi

Ahanda Türk Kahvesi

Kahve Dünyası Orta Kavrulmuş Türk Kahvesi

Tchibo Türk Kahvesi

Harput Dibek Kahvesi

Hacı Şerafettin Gümülcine Türk Kahvesi

Tada Sahure Hanım Türk Kahvesi

Mandabatmaz Türk Kahvesi

Osso Osmanlı Kahvesi

Mahmood Coffee Hazır Türk Kahvesi