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Discovery of Loneliness

The coffee cups appearing on this page can be purchased from all Paşabahçe stores.

The following article was published in July 2002 issue of Turkishtime.

It left the Ethiopian plateau, came to Yemen, but it is called Turkish coffee, because it spread to the west from the Ottoman Empire. It has such a valuable and strong heritage that it is still maintaining its nobility against its "pop" alternatives, because it has a tradition.

Does one want to be a cup of Turkish coffee? Yes, one does, if that cup of coffee has remembrance for forty years. Just like in the song: "If I were a cup of coffee/I would have remembrance for forty years/I devoted my life to you/Why could you not grant me a look." One can become a cup of coffee and be respected in return.

Turkish coffee is in fact a "moment". One of those moments that modern life could not penetrate and "regulate". It is slow; it requires slowness, and that is why it is eastern. Moment of seeing, moment of remembering, thinking, forgiving. It is a moment when one stays alone with himself, values himself and others. One can only value others as long as one values himself. Openness. That is why coffee makes one converse, unites people. One cup of coffee brings value to a moment: I am opening my house and my heart to you, welcome. Turkish coffee is such a phenomenon. It is the socializing feature of coffee that was the subject of a strong ban during the time of Murad the Fourth, even though it did not meet much resistance in its first introduction to Istanbul. Heaven forbid, people formulate views against the government in the coffeehouses? Never!

Coffee is "Turkish" coffee and this is probably a western definition by people who first encountered coffee through Istanbul. However, it came to the Ottomans from further in the east. It is almost certain that the motherland of coffee is Africa, Ethiopia. Legend has it that one day a shepherd notices that sheep (another source claims it was cattle) grazing in a field with coffee trees are much more lively; they had not slept for seven days and seven nights. That is how coffee was discovered. It is also claimed that sprout-able coffee seeds were first brought into the Arabian Peninsula by Ethiopian conquerors. The first consumption of coffee started here in the 14th century in Yemen and was especially popular among the Sufi religious order. Istanbul "met" coffee for the first time in the 16th century, in 1517. This means it would spread further to the west to the Balkans and Hungary. Wherever Turkish soldiers went, kitchen carts full of coffee followed behind. This is a brief history of coffee.

Now.... Measure drinking water by a cup and pour into the "cezve" (small pot with a long handle for making Turkish coffee). Add two spoons full (5 gr) of coffee and two spoons full, or according to taste, of sugar for each cup. Mix coffee and the sugar on very low heat. Share the foam that will form among the cups, coffee must have foam! Boil the remaining coffee a little longer and top-up the cups. It is customary to serve a cold glass of water with the coffee; the water will prepare the palate for the taste of coffee.

Fortune telling from the coffee cup is especially popular among women: "Do not believe in the fortune but do not be without it." The coffee cup (after drinking the coffee) is rotated counter-clockwise above one's head three times, while making a silent wish. Later the lid is placed on the cup and is laid upside down. Placing a metal piece on it may accelerate cooling. It is also believed that this metal will rid bad omens that may be released by the cup. Some fortune-tellers claim that this metal prevents something negative related to the future. The cup is opened after ten minutes. The fortune-teller sits with light from behind her. First she looks at the center of the cup, to ensure concentration. Later she looks around (inside the cup) clockwise, starting from where the lips touched the cup. She then starts interpreting the formations.

To wit coffee: "One does not wish for a coffee, nor a coffeehouse, one desires to have a chat and coffee is just an excuse". See?

A Taste with Coffee Torte with Walnut
Ingredients (serves 6)
200 gr Coffee
270 gr Flour
120 gr Margarine
3 Eggs
100 gr Granulated Sugar
100 gr Powdered Sugar
100 gr Walnut
Powdered Cacao, Salt, Coffee Beans
Preparation:In 250 gr of flour, place small measurements of margarine at a time, granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Knead the mixture by hand, add one egg and continue kneading. Make a ball out of the dough, wrap with foil and refrigerate for half an hour. Grind the walnuts with the remaining flour in a mixer. Whisk the eggs with a fork in a separate cup. Heat coffee and sugar in a cezve until it starts to foam and add the mixture into the eggs slowly. Add and mix the walnut-flour mixture. Spread the dough thinly, and place in a 20 cm-diameter container with cookie paper on the bottom. Cut off the excess dough out of the container, make holes with a fork in the dough and spread the walnut mixture on top. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees; bake the torte for 30 minutes, cool. Adorn with cacao, coffee beans and walnut and serve
Editor's note: the recipe is from NTV

The Traditional Coffee Service
Making Turkish Coffee
Coffee Torte
Discovery of Loneliness
Coffee Cups-Fincan
Turkish Coffee
Kirkpinar Oil-Wrestling
Traditions & Habits
Religious Colors
Islam in Turkey
Istanbul's Holy Places
Ankara's Holy Places
Famous Personalities
Legendary bazaars
Turkish Cuisine
Special Tastes
Hubble-bubble (Nargile)
Rakı and Meyhane
Hamam - Turkish Bath
Luck Games
A Little Turkish Fun

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