Drinking Turkish coffee is a ritual practiced by most Istanbulites on a daily basis, often after meals and accompanied by sincere conversations. Here's a short explanation of how and where to try this robust drink.
Sade (no sugar), orta şekerli (medium), or çok şekerli (very sweet), Turkish coffee is almost always served with a glass of water and Turkish delight, which clean the palate and turn the aftertaste into something bittersweet. If your fincan (the tiny cup in which Turkish coffee is served) is boasting with froth, it means the coffee has been well done. It should be drunk in small sips, so that the grounds can settle at the bottom of the cup, ready to be read in order to tell your fortune.
For the best coffee in Istanbul, head to Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi in Eminönü near the Spice Bazaar, where you can enjoy a cup and also buy freshly-ground beans and pots to make it at home. When touring the Grand Bazaar, stop by the Fes Cafe for a modern presentation of this traditional drink. If a shop owner at the Bazaar offers you coffee, and you’ll find that many will, don’t hesitate to say yes. If you’re lucky, you might even get your fortune told.
Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi: Tahmis Sokak 66, Tahtakale, Eminönü, Istanbul, Tel. +90 212 5114 262, www.mehmetefendi.com
Fes Cafe: Mollafenari Mh., Ali Baba Türbe Sokak No:25, Fatih, Turkey, Tel. +90 212 5281 613, www.fescafe.com