Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi: The True Story of Turkish Coffee

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi: The True Story of Turkish Coffee

April 21, 2014
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | 1930's
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | Photo by Bahadır Tanrıöver
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | 1960's
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | Photo by Bahadır Tanrıöver
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | Photo by Bahadır Tanrıöver
  • Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi | Photo by Bahadır Tanrıöver

This is the story of a typical Turkish gathering: after devouring several courses of a delightfully satisfying meal, guests move from the dinner table to the living area, expectantly staring at their host. Nine times out of ten, they are awaiting a cup of Turkish coffee. Whether it is the peculiarity of having a natural kickstart that will keep you awake for as long as you want, or being included in the morning ritual of many Turks, this intense drink can easily become one of your favorite addictions. Taking a starring role in this process is: Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi.


Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi began roasting coffee in 1871, after taking over the aktar (a shop that carries a variety of herbs and spices) belonging to his father. The biggest and oldest coffee company was also the first to serve roasted and ground coffee, instead of selling raw beans, which was more common. The heavenly smell of Turkish coffee took over Istanbul’s Tahmiş Sokak (where the store is still located) and began a tradition that would continue for centuries.


Merging traditional production methods with modern technology, while maintaining high levels of meticulous attention to detail, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is one of the leading brands for Turkish coffee. The quality has remained stable over many generations, passed on from father to son, master to apprentice. Now, Mehmet Efendi’s grandchildren run the business.


The smart packaging preserves the coffee’s freshness right up to its expiry date and the brand has been introduced all around the world, exporting a taste of Turkey to coffee lovers worldwide in perfect condition. Walk by the Tahmiş Sokak store in Eminönü, and you will observe the queue outside of the takeaway window, where people line up as if in desperate need of bread straight out of the oven. Along with Turkish coffee, the iconic location sells filtered coffee, espresso, and cocoa.


When prepared correctly, any cup of Turkish coffee using Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi has a thick, syrupy consistency, stimulating taste buds with an aromatic flavor. The Arabica coffee seeds have the power to bring people together in coffee houses, keep students up all night, “complete” a meal, and accompany Turks during some “me-time.”


No matter where you are, a cup of Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi Turkish coffee never fails to deliver a cup of Turkish history, taste, and tradition. Last year, the brand was the main sponsor of Turkish Mobile Coffee Truck, travelling Europe to introduce people to the delicious brew and Turkish culture. The Guide Istanbul was a part of this collaboration by preparing “Coffee To Go” brochures that included information about coffee and our city’s culture along with unique Istanbul tips. Make sure to follow The Guide Istanbul on social media to learn about the details and dates of the truck for this year. Tahmis Sokak No.66, Eminönü; P: (0212) 522 00 80



For one cup of orta şekerli (medium sweet) Turkish coffee:

• 1 Turkish coffee cup of water (room temperature)

• 2 teaspoons of sugar

• 2 teaspoons of Turkish Coffee

Mix and heat on low temperature in a cezve (copper vessel). Take the foam off the top right before it boils and add it to your Turkish Coffee cup. Pour slowly. Serve with a glass of water, and if preferred, with Turkish delight, cookies, or dark chocolate.


When Did Coffee Arrive In Turkey

The coffee tradition is said to have begun in Turkey when two Syrians opened the first coffeehouse in Tahtakale, and was quickly picked up by the locals. Turkish coffee preparation spread rapidly during the Ottoman times, which gave Turkish coffee its name.

Coffee beans first came to Turkey during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Selim I, when Yemen governor Özdemir Paşa brought the first coffee to Istanbul in 1517. The title kahvecibaşı was created during this time for the person responsible for making and serving coffee to the sultan.


If you want to learn more about the Turkish art of fortune-telling from coffee grounds, head on over to our article about Fal: Fortune-Telling a la Turca.










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