Three flat screen televisions are showing The Wizard of Oz on mute while loud speakers blast classic 50s rock and roll. In the background, a dull screeching sound, accompanied by the immediately recognizable smell of roasting coffee, fills the expansive space. A small army of baristas, all dressed in identical horizontally striped shirts, swarm behind the bar, making drinks for the quickly growing queue of office workers on their lunch break. Somehow, all of these disparate things harmoniously join to create Petra Coffee’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Gayrettepe neighborhood….
Istanbul’s Nişantaşı district occupies a unique place in the social strata of the city. Equal parts West Village and Upper East Side, it’s home to the older, upper crust, but also writers, academics, and expatriates. It’s a cosmopolitan neighborhood where you you might spot a soap opera star ducking into a boutique wine shop, but you can still buy fresh artichoke hearts from a street vendor. The district almost functions like it’s own village surrounded by the city. With some of the city’s best parks, restaurants, and schools, Nişantaşılılar need not leave their little oasis hidden in the hills between bustling Taksim and Beşiktaş. With a café like Petra Coffee in the neighborhood, we don’t blame them. …
Coffee shops have long been the cultural informants of their neighborhoods. When traveling, you can usually count on a barista to know the best restaurants, which tourist traps to avoid, and some hidden gems off the beaten path. Balat Coffee & Guide takes that role to another level….
Unseasonably hot weather and freak flash thunderstorms didn’t keep thousands of Istanbullu from flocking to the Istanbul Coffee Festival last week. As avid Turcophiles, we’ve been following the progressing specialty coffee scene in Istanbul since 2012 when the first third wave cafés opened. It’s hard to believe in a few short years specialty coffee in Istanbul has gone from a smattering of boutique cafés tucked away on back streets to filling one of the larger event spaces in the city: Küçükçiftlik Parkı….
Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk wrote in his memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City, “it was in Cihangir (where we too would move as our fortunes dwindled) that I first learned Istanbul was not an anonymous multitude of walled-in lives – a jungle of apartments where no one knew who was dead or who was celebrating what – but an archipelago of neighborhoods in which everyone knew one another.” Pamuk’s observation rings true today. Cihangir has long been a destination for artists and writers, but at the neighborhood’s heart is a community: a village surrounded by a megacity. Norm Coffee is one piece of that community….
Fresh Cup Magazine published my feature “Refining Istanbul’s Coffee” today. The story looks inside Kronotrop’s roastery, a coalition between Kronotrop founder Çağatay Gülabioğlu and renowned chef Mehmet Gürs. A lot of exciting things are happening in the Turkish coffee scene right now, not least what Çağatay and company have in the works. Read the feature here and look out for a longer, in depth article soon.
It’s a quiet morning in Istanbul’s Cihangir neighborhood, and Serkan Ipekli is tired. The 2013 Turkish Barista Champion is fighting an ear infection, but he’s also experiencing the grueling pace of running what amounts to be a 24/7 business: Geyik Coffee Roastery & Cocktail Bar. Geyik, which means “deer” in Turkish, only opened five months ago, but it’s already been a wild ride….
In the past two years the specialty coffee scene in Istanbul has exploded. We covered one of the first quality focused cafes that opened in Turkey’s largest city, and we’re beyond excited about all of the new cafes we’re going to visit in August when we’re back in the country for two weeks. One of those cafes is Cup of Joy in Istanbul’s posh Bebek neighborhood. I’m not ashamed to admit when I lived in Istanbul, I frequented Bebek’s Starbucks. I may not be a fan of dark, stale espresso, but I’m a big fan of drinking coffee next to the deep blue water of the Bosphorus, and Bebek has some of my favorite Bosphorus views.
Cup of Joy may be a new shop, but they’ve already produced a Turkish barista champion. After watching this video from Nople Productions, it’s easy to understand why. Be prepared for some level tamping, pretty latte art, and smooth jazz. And what would a Turkish coffee shop be without some simit?
Brief History of Turkish Coffee
If you had a cup of coffee this morning, you can thank the Turks. Coffee came to the West through Turkey as the Ottoman Empire expanded into the European continent. According to one legend, the first coffee house in Austria was opened with the coffee abandoned by the Ottoman army when they were repelled at the Battle of Vienna.
Fast forward several centuries later and …