By , November 29, 2012 7:22 am

There’s an old Turkish proverb that says coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.  Naturally, that’s what Turkish coffee is.

Mike and I were never coffee drinkers before we left home.  I would have the occasional half-coffee, half-hot chocolate but that was about it.  Mike wouldn’t touch the stuff.  Somewhere in Austria that started to change.  By the time we were living in Bulgaria, I was drinking a coffee or two a day, and even Mike was frequenting the local cafe for a freshly brewed Americano.

So it was only natural that we embraced the concept of “When in Turkey, drink Turkish coffee.”  We didn’t expect to like it so much.

In Istanbul, a cup of Turkish coffee will run you between 3.50 and 5 lira (about $2-$2.80 CAD).

Coffee shop in Istanbul

To make it in the traditional method (to the best of my understanding, anyways), fine coffee grinds and sugar are added to cold water in a small copper vessel, which is then heated slowly over charcoal.  Once the grinds start to sink, the drink is stirred to mix it and to create a foam on the top.  Once heated, it is poured in a small cup and served.

Preparing Turkish coffee

The coffee is thick, sweet, bitter, and almost nutty.  It is served very hot, and continues to steep in the cup.  When finished, the bottom of the cup is thick with grounds.

The thick sludge at the bottom of the drink

It is quite popular to have your fortune told from your grinds… we, of course, did a little fortune telling for each other.

A heart and a butterfly

Not sure exactly what a fortuneteller would read into this one, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know… scary little guy

Obviously a pig dog and oversized gerbil fight is in our future


What do you see in these grinds?

2 Responses to “Black as Hell, Strong as Death, Sweet as Love”

  1. Rhonda says:

    Your post brings back lovely memories of Istanbul, one of my favorite cities:) isn’t it amazing how some foods or beverages can so define a country in your mind that just a picture or description transports you back in time?!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Istanbul is one of our favourite cities too. It is amazing how an image, taste, or smell can transport you to another place and time… that’s probably why trying local foods and drinks is one of my favourite parts of travel!

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