Culture Elements

TURKISH COFFEE

A cup of Turkish coffee commits one to 40 years of friendship. THis proverb shows us how vital and important the coffee is in our lives. Purely socral purely cultural experience. With each sip we not only taste the bitter taste of coffee but also taste frienship, love, care, faith and all. The smell of coffee bring back us memories. Memories of love, memories of happiness. You should drink it slowly and use your all senses to get the full experience. Turkish people share a cup of coffee at all occasions. Weddings, engagements, business meetings, social gatherings. No social gathering is complete without coffee. Istanbul was introduced to coffee during the time of Suleyman the Magnificent in the early 16th century. Soon coffee became very popular in court and became integral part of palace cuisine. Making coffee for the Sultan was a serious job. The chief coffee maker had an important position among court functionaries. They were chosen for their ability to keep secrets and loyalty.They could even rise through the ranks to become Grand viziers to the Sultan. Of course it was not just the Sultan who enjoyed this delicious beverage. From sultans’ court coffee spread to the Grand mansions of Ottoman elites and inevitably to the homes of public. So the coffee became popular in the daily life of Ottoman and with the help of Ottoman ambassadors, coffee spread to all Europe starting from Venice and Paris.

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Most of the public were introduced to coffee with the establishment of coffee houses. The first coffee house was opened in the Tahtakale neighbourhood by shems of damascus and hakem of aleppo in 1555 . A few decades after Istanbul was first introduced coffee, nearly on every street corner a coffee house was opened.. Coffee houses soon became the centers of the oral culture & intellectual life and meeting places for men. Some would discuss politics and current issues, some would read books , some talked about literature, some would play chess or backgammon.

Coffee houses were dominated by men .Women enjoyed their coffee at home circles with family members or friends. Drinking coffee was also popular among sufi dervishes as coffee made them awake and energetic for long night prayers.

There are simple yet important rules to get real turkish coffee experience. First it should be taken slowly.It is not something you just drink and go. It is all about cultural interaction and requires a good conversation. Before you order you should also decide how you would like

your coffee to be . Sweet, little sugar, no sugar , semi sweet. Because once the coffee is in your cup there is no chance to add sugar because of the coffee grounds at the bottom. One should know where to stop when drinking the turkish coffee as the grounds have an earthy taste which some people enjoy to eat or even use as a peeling material for their faces. The grounds are used for fortunetelling and actually for some it is a pretty profitable business. Of course you should not believe in fortune telling but there is no harm to have fun 🙂

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TURKISH TEA

Conversations without tea are like a night sky without the moon. Turkish tea (çay) is one of the first things that come to one’s mind when it comes to Turkey. It is at the very centre of breakfast tables, social gatherings, business meetings, ferry rides across the Bosphorus in Istanbul. There is not a certain time to drink it. Anytime, any day tea is enjoyed very much. It plays an important role in Turkish social and domestic life.

Turkey holds the highest per capita tea consumption in the world, so when you come to Turkey you will be drinking a lot of tea. Turkish people prefer drinking tea in tiny tulip-shaped glasses. Each year in Turkey more than 400 million glasses are sold. They drink tea in these glasses because it allows them seeing the crimson colour of tea. This colour is called tavşan kanı (literally means rabbit blood). The name might be shocking but it shows how well-stepped the tea is.

Tea is prepared using a double tea pot. In the lover and larger pot water is boiled and tea leaves are steeped in the top (smaller) pot. This method allows Turkish people to drink tea as they desire, such as well steeped or dark (demli çay), light (açık çay). One or two cubes of sugar added or sugar free can be drunk.