Strong As Death, Sweet As Love: The Long Rich History Of Turkish Coffee

An old Turkish proverb perfectly describes the intensity and passion behind traditional Turkish coffee: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love”. From marriage proposals to the froth factor, this is a ritual 500 years or more in the making.

The coffee culture around the world has such binding and ritual-like tendencies. 500 years in the making, it is no wonder that Turkish coffee is seen as an important part of everyday life in Turkey.

Much more than a wake-up call, it symbolises hospitality, friendship and respect. In 2013, it was confirmed by UNECSO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – a recognition confirming Turkish coffee as an important part of the world’s cultural heritage.

From a heavy-based coffee pot with a handle called a cezve or briki, the dark and aromatic brew is gently poured into small coffee cups with a sugar cube or two at the ready for sweetening. The coffee itself is slightly bitter, quite strong in flavour, thick and dense in texture with a frothy top, not quite the barista-style latte on the way to work, but a ritual nonetheless.