The most famous story about coffee is related to a series of events that a shepherd in Yemen named Kaldi has experienced. Kaldi realizes that his goats eating from the fruit of a tree, have started to move and hop around. In order to understand what is happening, he, himself picks up these fruits, boils them and drinks their juice at which point he realizes that his energy is increasing. We don’t know to what extent Kaldi developed this process or he liked to drink his coffee with sugar or strong, but we do know that if this story is really true and that he is the true discoverer of this miraculous plant, billions of people are grateful to him now! Especially the Turks; because they have become successful in a lot of things due to this drink! Asking for the girl’s hand in marriage, chatted, looked at the fortunes, or even earned a 40 years of respect thanks to one cup of coffee.
No one knows who has and how much respect on the other, but the real thing to keep in mind is that there is a coffee culture in these lands for hundreds of years. Inscriptions that belong to the era of the Ottoman Empire and these elegantly made cups are the evidence as well. Although the acquaintanceship with coffee dates back to countless years before, the openning of coffeehouses in İstanbul traces back to 1550s. When the drink is coffee in these places, the conversations intensify, deepen, and when it comes to the national issues, things get serious. Displeased with these deep conversations of the common folk, Sultan Murat III finds the remedy in banning the drinking of coffee and closing down the coffee shops. The thing he missed to take into account is that once someone drinks coffee, he will never give it up. Especially if it is Turkish Coffee, which is cooked and buried under the embers in barbecues of these days.
In the following years, even the grandchildren of Murat III whom he could not see broke his banishments. Coffee in Palaces is an indispensable tradition. The palace has employees tasked with just coffee brewing, each cup is a work of art and concubines are tutored to make this ritual perfect. Other coffee addicts outside of the palace learn how to brew coffee from ear to ear. Everyone processed its black pearl until 1871, when Mehmet Efendi started to make its trade by grinding and browning the coffee. The roasted coffee was beaten in mortars, now it is uncommon because it is troublesome and ‘mortar coffee’ comes from here.
Although stone mortars, sheet metals and inlaid handmills are only found in antique shops, the endless coffee love of Turks continue. This blessing that the Europeans disrespect by putting a spoon of coffee into a big cup and pour boiling water over it is shown the value it deserves only in our land. If there are no embers they are cooked in copper pots, if there is not a Turkish Delight, chocolate is served with the coffee, but the the coffee is not abandoned in friendly chats like the foam on it.
The Specifics of Coffee Rituals
*Water, which is an integral part of Turkish coffee, is not to be drunk with the coffee but before the coffee to get rid of other flavors in the mouth.
*In order for the coffe to be foamy the coffee needs to be cooked in clean and cold water and must be throughly mixed before being put into the fire.
* Since only the water is drunk the amount of caffeine inTurkish coffee is lower than the other coffees.
* The foam layer on top of the cup prevents rapid cooling; this is one of the reasons why foam is valuable.
Lord of Coffees
The street next to the historic Spice Bazaar, is named “Tahmis” with beauty of the smell of coffees cooked here in the second half of 1800s. The meaning of this name in Ottoman is ‘roasted coffee’. This streets draws the people going to Eminönü with its smell for about 150 years. You might have difficulty in finding the source of the smell of coffee since it spreads to the whole street, heading to where the crowd is most dense would be enough. Unfortunately it is impossible to find a place where the coffee is cooked because it is a narrow street, but this indefinable beauty sold in paper bags allows you to breathe the very air of Tahmis street at your homes.
Journey of Coffee
Coffee tree is a plant that is ever green in winter and grows only in tropical climates. You have to wait for 3 years to see its white flowers and red berries besides its green leaves that are always bright in color. Although growing tall up to 10 metres under natural conditions in order to obtain better yields, coffee trees are pruned down to only four metres. After this stage is circumvented, fruits from that tree are picked constinuously for nearly 40 years. Located in the two cores of each fruit becomes ready to be processed after they are seperated from the membrane surrounding them.