Did you know that Europe’s first encounter with coffee was thanks to Turkey? Turkey was the middleman between the European countries and the coffee manufacturing countries such as Yemen and Ethiopia in the 16th century.
Coffee is much more than just a drink in Turkey; it’s a culture. Drinking coffee is a part of social life for Turkish people. There’s even a famous saying in the Turkish language, “A cup of coffee is remembered for forty years.” (Bir fincan kahvenin kırk yıl hatırı vardır.) It shows how important coffee is for socializing and bonding with other people.
In this blog post, you will learn essential Turkish words for coffee and some unique coffee rituals in the country!
Turkish Words For Coffee
First things first, let’s start by learning vocabulary for coffee in the Turkish language. The word for coffee is kahve. And since Turks enjoy drinking coffee anywhere, anytime, they have even created different phrases for coffee based on when or why it is drunk.
For example, if you’ve finished all the work and errands of the day early, then it’s time for a pleasure coffee – keyif kahvesi! Or if you have studied so hard for an exam, it’s time for a fatigue coffee – yorgunluk kahvesi! You’re not a morning person? Then you should start your day with a morning coffee – sabah kahvesi!
Here’s a list of some other Turkish words for coffee:
What Makes Turkish Coffee Special?
Turkish coffee has a unique cooking method that has remained unchanged for centuries. Turkish coffee is not filtered, and it’s not brewed. It’s boiled. Unusual, right? Let me explain how this type of coffee is made.
Here’s a quick recipe for one person.
Put ¾ tablespoon of finely grounded Turkish coffee in a long-handled copper pot called cezve, which is specifically used for making this coffee. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar if you like your coffee sweet, but if you prefer your coffee strong, don’t add any sugar. Then add a cup of cold water into the pot. The coffee cups used for Turkish coffee are small, similar to the size of an espresso cup. Lastly, stir everything in the pot and boil it until it foams up. Pour it into the cup with its foam.
And voilà! Your foamy Turkish coffee is ready! You can tell if the coffee is good from its foam.
A cup of Turkish coffee is usually served with a piece of Turkish delight and a small cup of water. For people in Turkey, it’s the best companion for a lovely chitchat with friends and family.
Coffee Rituals In Turkey
The Turkish culture has some really unique and interesting rituals associated with coffee. Let’s check them out.
Salt For The Groom’s Coffee
There’s a unique ritual in Turkey where a salted Turkish coffee is served to the groom by the bride-to-be. This event happens when the groom and his family visit the bride’s family to ask for the consent of the girl’s parents for marriage. The bride-to-be makes Turkish coffee for all guests but adds salt to the groom’s cup. If the groom can drink salted coffee in one sip, it means he can endure any challenges for the girl he loves. As a result, he gets the consent of the girl’s family.
Although today it’s a symbolic tradition, it used to have a different meaning in the Ottoman Era. Arranged marriages were pretty common and normal in the past, but that doesn’t mean girls had no right to choose their partners.
When a suitor and his family visited the girl’s family house with the intent of marriage, the girl made Turkish coffee as a treat for guests. If she served her suitor a salted coffee, it was a sign that she didn’t want to marry him. So, they got the message and kindly left the house. However, if the girl served her suitor a sweetened coffee and added cloves to his water cup, then it was a positive sign that she liked him.
I don’t know what you think, but I’ve always thought how elegant and polite this tradition is.
Grounds For The Fortune-Teller’s Coffee
Fortune-telling (falcılık) through reading the coffee grounds that remain in the cup after you finish drinking it is a common ritual in Turkey. You have to turn your cup upside-down on the saucer and wait a few minutes for the coffee grounds to flow down, creating various shapes. Then, a fortune-teller will try to interpret these shapes based on what they look like and tell you something about your future. But don’t rely on random things that appear on your coffee cup!
After reading this blog post, you may want to drink a cup of strong, or sweet, foamy Turkish coffee at a local café in Istanbul. If you’re planning to visit Turkey soon, drinking Turkish coffee is a must! You can even buy a package of fresh and finely ground coffee from a local shop as a souvenir. That way, you can carry this unique taste and culture to your home with you.