The most exciting neighborhood for coffee in Istanbul right now is a full 12 kilometers from the city’s center, and technically it’s not really a neighborhood. Maslak is something of an urban curiosity— a suburban financial district on the Northern edge of Istanbul’s European side. But this island of skyscrapers is also home to a booming number of specialty coffee shops— driven by the plethora of white collar office workers that populate the glass high-rises during working hours. The newest of of those shops is the latest café from roaster/retailer Petra Coffee, in the lobby of the Mudo Concept Tower….
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. …