İstanbul Coffee Culture For Connoisseurs

                  Coffee culture in İstanbul can be first traced back to the Ottoman Empire. After being introduced to İstanbul from Yemen, coffee became a trendy beverage among the ruling classes during the era of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, and later developed its own rituals and ceremonies in the palace. The aroma of coffee was not confined to the palace for long, it soon became a comon part of everyday life. İstanbul's first coffeehouse was opened by two traders, Hakem from Aleppo and Şamlı from damascus, in Tahtakale in the mid-sixteenth century. Soon after, coffeehourses for different occupations tradesmen, janissaries firemen, folk poets, and musicians spread throughout the city, functioning as social, cultural, and entertainment spaces.
                  Coffee culture thrived in Ottoman society and was later introduced to Europe. Some historic Ottoman era coffeehouses are still operating in İstanbul today, serving the authentic taste of dark, strong Turkish coffee. With such history, you may wonder why Turkey's national drink is now tea instead of coffee. After the foundation of the republic, the state encouraged tea consumption to promote Turkish tea plantations and the national economy. Popular preferences switched to tea, a cheaper and more convenient beverage. However, coffee didn't disappear from people's lives.

                  After the instant coffee brand Nescafe entered the Turkish market in 1984, it became a drink commonly served in restaurants and stores as an alternative to tea. Around the 2000s, the arrival of international chains triggered a revival in Turkey's coffee consumption. People quickly adapted the coffeehouse culture to these modern cafes, which are now among the most popular gathering spots for İstanbul urbanites.

                  A few years ago İstanbul started catching up with the trend of specialty coffee referring to the whole process from farmer to cup using single origin coffee emphasizing the transparency of produce, the use of high quality beans with improved techniques, and a scientific approach. İn 2012 Çağatay Gülabioğlu opened Turkey's first specialty coffee shop, Kronotrop. He recalls that, at first, it was not easy for Turkish contomers to get used to the flavor of speciality coffee, which is light and fruity. Their palates were used to the strong taste of Turkish coffee. "They thought there was something wrong" said Gülabioğlu, describing people's impressions when his shop first opened. "They called it sour."

                  But, gradually, more and more people started to appreciate the taste of speciality coffee and it became increasingky trendy, with various kinds of cafes popping up all over the city. Costomers can now easily find a place that suits their own tastes, either for a particular flavor or the right atmosphere. The founfer and owner of Coffee Department, Metin Benbasat claimed that speciality coffeeshops are not seeing others as competitors because each of their coffee is unique. By using different varieties of beans and different ways of reasting, every shop has unique coffee and their own loyal customers.
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