Coffee Drinking Habits in Turkey

It is well-known that the Turks brought coffee to Europe, first to Austria when their army surrounded Vienna in 1683. Actually, the Ottoman Turks got coffee from Yemen by the late 15th century in the period of Suleiman the Magnificent and opened the first coffeehouses in Istanbul. This is the beginning of Turkish coffee tradition.

At that time, Turkish coffee (“Türk Kahvesi”) was drunk after breakfast, which explains the roots of the Turkish word for breakfast, kahvaltı meaning “before coffee” (kahve ‘coffee’ altı ‘under’). Turkish coffee has been an important part of Turkish culture. There is even an old saying about it: “Bir fincan kahvenin kırk yıl hatırı vardır.” (“A cup of Turkish coffee will be remembered for forty years.”) It means that the person who offers the coffee is to be respected and remembered for a long time for the sake of his offering. For many people, the most enjoyable side of Turkish coffee is when another person reads the coffee grains, which is a kind of fortune telling.

However, in recent times, there has been a change in the coffee habits of Turkish people. They drink more and more instant coffee. For instance, if you order a coffee in a restaurant, you will get instant coffee like Nescafe or Jacobs. Actually, Nescafe has become the name of the instant coffee in general, so if you order Nescafe, you will get an instant coffee of any brand.

As instant coffee has become popular, the brands have introduced instant coffee mixes with different flavors: You can find a Sugar-Milk-Coffee Mix with hazelnut, chocolate, vanilla or caramel flavor. Here are two advertisements for coffee mixes, which I find good:

Moreover, coffee chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jean’s are spreading in big cities but appeal to a certain group of people, not to the whole society.

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