The Turks are very proud of their coffee and describe Turkish coffee as their gift to the world. Ask anyone in Turkey what the most famous brand of Turkish coffee is and, without hesitation, the reply will be Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi.
These days, under the ownership of Mehmet Efendi's grandchildren, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is an internationally recognised brand, stocking supermarket shelves with filter coffees and espresso as well as their Turkish coffee. But it's not the supermarkets we're interested in. Whenever we visit anywhere in Turkey, we like to bring back souvenirs, and for us, that's usually food or drink of some description. When we were in Istanbul recently, we set off in search of a famous coffee souvenir.
Loose Turkish coffee about to be sealedTucked away on its original site at the back of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul is the historic Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi shop which still serves loose coffee to a never-ending daily queue of customers.
The serving hatch of Istanbul's Kurukahveci Mehmet EfendiThe coffee is served through a hatch and, at first, we were put off by the long, outdoor queue. The weather in Istanbul was cold and wet and we didn't much fancy hanging around too long for a packet of Turkish coffee; famous or not.
Packs of warm, freshly ground Turkish coffee waiting to be served to customersHowever, we only had to watch for a few seconds - enjoying the warm coffee aromas wafting through the air - to realise this was a professional outfit. Obviously, they've been doing this for some time! Resembling a small factory line, loose coffee is scooped, weighed, packed, taped, piled, served, money taken, change given, next please. No time for small talk here. All of this happens in a matter of seconds so we decided to join the long queue of coffee appreciators.
A 54g pack of Turkish coffee being weighedWithin minutes, Barry had his 54g pack of loose Turkish coffee. Yes, Barry. Not me. Despite loving the smell of freshly-ground, still-warm coffee beans, I am yet to acquire the taste of Turkish coffee! Practise continues...but alas, little progress is being made. We did purchase some other Istanbul foodie souvenir goodies that I'll benefit from too, but we'll tell you about those another time.
The next step is to learn how to make Turkish Coffee!
Do you buy souvenirs to remind you of your visits to other places? Have you tried Turkish coffee and if so, do you like it?