How many specialty coffee shops can one neighborhood support? In the case of Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, the answer is at least one more. As we’ve written elsewhere, the neighborhood has perhaps Istanbul’s densest number of specialty coffee shops. The latest addition is a new location from Turkish coffee pioneer Kronotrop Coffee Bar & Roastery.
Kronotrop has been a staple of the Turkish specialty coffee community since opening their first cafe in 2012. Later, the company joined forces with the prestigious Istanbul Food and Beverage Group, which has grown the brand and served its coffee for all of their restaurants, including 50 Best-ranked Mikla. Thanks to a combination of corporate and franchise shops, the roaster retailer can be be found all around Istanbul and is starting to pop up around the country— with cafés a far afield as Eskişehir with a franchise slated to be opened in Antalya in the near future.
Kronotrop’s Nişantaşı location raised a few eyebrows in the local coffee community: it’s immediately next door to Petra Coffee’s Topağacı location and just around the corner from Borderline Coffee. Expand that radius to a city block and you easily have a half dozen other coffee shops in the immediate vicinity. But Istanbul, after all, is the fifth largest city on earth, and it’s hard to think of a better neighborhood to support specialty coffee than Nişantaşı. The district attracts an electric mix of affluent professionals and young creatives, who tend to be well traveled and on the bleeding edge of new trends.
Visitors familiar with Kronotrop’s other locations will immediately recognize their trademark red, black, and white tile. For a small café, the space feels open and roomy, with lots of soft seating and thoughtful, modern coffee tables. The rebar shelves and bar seating add some industrial edges to an otherwise posh an interior. It’s a layout perhaps best suited for meeting up with a friend, or curling up with a good book. Even if you didn’t bring your own reading material, the coffee tables are littered with back issues of Fool magazine.
The bar is stocked with a La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine and two Victoria Arduino Mythos grinders. Filter coffee is available both as batch brew and by the cup brewed on Hario V60 or Aeropress. On most of my visits I elected to have the batch brew: a naturally processed Ethiopia from Guji Highland Coffee Plantation. It’s a real crowd-pleaser: sweet and balanced with big strawberry jam and dark chocolate flavor notes.
As a Nişantaşı resident, it’s nice to have Kronotrop in the neighborhood, even if now I’m presented with more café options than I know what to do with. It’s hard decision to make before I’ve had a cup of coffee.