Last week we shared a few Turkish proverbs about yogurt.

This week we are looking at another important part of daily life, Turkish coffee, and how it has found its way into everyday sayings.

Osmanlı Kahvesici - Fethiye - Coffee Cup
Osmanlı Kahvesici – Fethiye – Coffee Cup


Turkish history in a coffee cup

There are many stories about how coffee was first discovered but Turkey lays claim to having the world’s oldest method of preparing it.

The coffee bean is thought to been brought from Yemen to Istanbul by Ozdemir Pasha, in the time of Suleyman the Magnificent, during Ottoman times.

Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee

People’s drink of choice

It soon became a drink of choice and the first coffee house in Istanbul opened in 1554 in Tahtakale, near Eminönü and later all over the Empire.

By Suleiman the Magnificent’s death there were 50 coffee houses in Istanbul and 600 by the end of the century.

In those times coffee houses the meeting point for public life. Authorities tried to ban them but in the end the coffee house won the day.

Have an idiom with your coffee…

With such a long and rich history Turkish coffee has become the focus of many idioms and proverbs. Here are just a few:

The sign of a good cup

Türk kahvesi bol köpüklü olursa ustunde deve yürümeli.”

The foam of the Turkish coffee is so thick a camel can walk across it.

Not that kind of foam!
Not that kind of foam!

Coffee as a sign of friendship

Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir.”

A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.

Used to remind that friendships should not be taken lightly and that one should have a long-term commitment.

How to Make Turkish Coffee - Video Clip

Gönül ne kahve ister, ne kahvehane, gönül sohbet ister; kahve bahane.”

The heart wants neither coffee nor coffeehouse, it wants friendship; coffee is just the excuse.

Coffee’s importance in daily life

Uyku yorgansız kahve dumansız olmaz. Dumansız kahve imansız Türk’e benzer.”

Sleep cannot be without a blanket, or coffee without foam.



Next week: fruity idioms – that is proverbs about fruit!