We all love Italian coffee, right? Well, certainly the versions of latte, cappuccino served up by the giant conglomerates such as Starbucks, Costa, Nero etc and copied by copious independent cafes, merely to keep pace. But what about Turkish coffee?
My first perception of Turkish coffee was when I would travel to Tottenham Hotspur home matches in North London and after alighting at Seven Sisters tube station I would walk past a myriad of Turkish coffee bars and see young Turks through the windows sitting in groups with a small cup of coffee in front of them and generally smoking a cigarette (no doubt Turkish tobacco). I always wondered where the pleasure was to be found in quaffing what looked nothing more than a mouthful of black coffee but I assumed there was something in it. And of course, in the James Bond movie From Russia With Love, Ali Kerim Bey offers Bond a Turkish coffee which he requests medium sweet.
My first taste of Turkish coffee came soon after the outstanding Turkish Anatolia restaurant opened in my local Lytham St Annes and we paid a visit for Mother’s Day. We ordered Turkish coffee and I initially declined to take it with sugar. However, I was advised by the Turkish restaurateur to take it with sugar so in true 007 style, I ordered it ‘medium sweet’. I watched him make the beverage in a traditional cezve pot and pour it into cups narrower and slightly taller than the traditional espresso cup. I was initially surprised at how thick the coffee was and because I usually take espresso without sugar I also noticed the sweetness which helped reduce the bitterness. After you drink your way to the bottom of the cup you find a thick layer of coffee grounds which are not to be drunk and a bit of research tells me there is various superstition attached to the grounds which can reveal your fortune!
Yesterday I was enjoying Turkish coffee again with C in Manchester’s Topkapi Palace restaurant where we enjoyed a meal from the lunchtime menu, two courses for £7.35 with a bottle of Turkish wine followed by the coffee ordered, as usual, medium sweet.
If you have the chance I would recommend searching out the opportunity to try a Turkish coffee which makes a pleasant change from the usual espresso and gives you a similar hit of caffeine. It also takes your taste buds all the way to The Bosphorous where east meets wets…etc zzzz