ISTANBUL – The history of coffee is deeply rooted in Turkish culture. Turkey was first introduced to coffee during the 16th century, having a profound effect on the culture before spreading over to Europe and, eventually, America. Now, in the 21st century that cultural influence still exists but traditional Turkish coffee is being swapped for modern tastes using innovative techniques.
Trendy new coffee houses are popping up in neighborhoods across Istanbul, bringing new concepts to the traditional brew, introducing Istanbul to “third wave coffee.”
“Third wave coffee” refers to a worldwide movement which aims to produce high-quality coffee brewed by coffee artisans rather than simply a commodity. This can be considered a new wave of coffee appreciation and a coffee revolution, giving attention to every step in the process, from when the coffee bean is harvested, to when it is roasted and the final brewing.
Much like fine wine or craft beer, the quality of coffee is the focus in this wave. We have all smelled the alluring aroma of freshly roasting coffee in the streets of Istanbul, as new coffee houses are opting to roast their own coffee in small batches rather than buying pre-roasted beans to ensure freshness and taste.
This new mindset towards coffee brings with it new techniques to support the trend and aid in the discovery of new tastes. When you walk into one of these shops, don’t be freaked out by the eclectic words and names printed on the menus.
These are just a couple of different coffee brewing methods:
Siphon: This brewing method involves mixing coffee with boiling water and filtering it through a siphon. The pot used has two chambers, a vapor pressurizer and a vacuum which produce delicious coffee.
AeroPress: This method requires an AeroPress device which has intricate parts. In the first chamber, the coffee is steeped for 10-50 seconds before it is pushed through a filter by pressing a plunger through the tube. There are two kinds of filters that can be used in this device, paper or thin metal. The result of AeroPress coffee is a very strong concentration, similar to espresso.
Cold Drip: This brewing method takes an extended period of time, usually 12 hours or more, but you will not have to wait that long. The coffee grounds are steeped in cold water one drip at a time directly into a pot. The cold drip is favorable for those who enjoy bold flavor and rich coffee. This coffee can be served hot or cold.
V60 Drip: The V60 drip is the simplest method of the third wave. All you need is a V60 dripper and V60 filters. Placing the filter inside the dripper and the dripper on top of your mug, you simply pour hot water into the filter and wait for the coffee to drip into the mug below. You can enjoy the manual brew in the comfort of your own home as it is simple and easy to make.
Chemex: The Chemex Coffeemaker is a glass-bottle coffeemaker which filters the beverage through chemically bonded papers to remove most of the coffee oils. The manual pour-over container has an hourglass shape which functions much like a V60.
Choose which method of brewing is right for you and head over to one of the many places in Istanbul which serve “third wave coffee.”
Third wave coffee hits Istanbul
One of the first third wave coffee houses in Istanbul offers a wide range of options displayed on their chalkboard menus. The nostalgic smell of freshly brewed coffee beans imported from all around the world hits your nose as you walk towards the self-serve bar. Located in the district of Cihangir, this little coffee shop features award-winning Nuova SImonelli espresso machines which you can hear whistling during your coffee experience.
Coffee Brew Lab
This coffee house is warm and inviting for customers with its wood furniture and exposed brick walls. The long bar allows you to watch your coffee being made and even talk with the baristas about the different types of brewing. Their menu offers almost all the brews of the third wave, with an array of flavors and scents.
MOC Istanbul (Ministry of Coffee)
Located in Nişantaşı, MOC is the perfect place for those looking for new and exotic tastes. By combining third wave techniques with exotic fruits and spices, this coffee shop offers unique creations to its customers.
Cup of Joy
This small coffee house located in the famous district of Bebek is definitely worth a visit. By using some of the best coffee beans available such as the Jamaica Blue Mountain and Panama Esmeralda, Cup of Joy has managed to make a name for itself among coffee gurus as the very best. Their techniques combined with their specially designed cups make the perfect combination for coffee enthusiasts.