Turkish Coffee: Culture and Tradition

Turkish Coffee: Culture and Tradition

Turkish Coffee: Culture and Tradition

Turkish coffee, an integral part of Turkish culture and social life, is the product of a tradition that has been going on for centuries. The importance of coffee is so great that the Turkish word for breakfast (kahvaltı) means “before coffee”. Known and loved by the whole world, Turkish coffee was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


Turkish coffee was discovered in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia in the 14th century. Özdemir Pasha, the governor of Yemen in the Ottoman Empire, tasted and liked coffee and brought it to Istanbul in 1517. After the arrival of coffee in the Ottoman lands, coffeehouses, which had an important place in the Ottoman social life, emerged and became widespread. Coffeehouses were places where people gathered, read books, poems, and played games such as chess and backgammon.


Coffee is an indispensable part of important social occasions such as holidays and engagement ceremonies. Offering coffee to guests shows feelings of friendship and hospitality. Also, it is a very common tradition in Turkish culture to comment on the past and future of the drinker after drinking Turkish coffee. The fortune-teller interprets the shapes left by the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.


Turkish coffee has special preparation techniques and these techniques dating back many years are still used today. It should be cooked slowly and especially in the ashes of the fire if possible. The coffee pot called “cezve” must be made of copper to achieve consistency. 1 gram of coffee and 7 grams of water should be used for each cup. For ideal coffee, after boiling, the coffee needs to wait in the coffee pot for 2-2.5 minutes. Before taking the first sip of your coffee, you should clean your throat with a sip of water.