Turkish coffee is a well-known hot beverage usually enjoyed after the meal especially after the dessert. It is served in unique small cups such as espresso cups called “fincan” traditionally in copper though. Turkish coffee is prepared in unique small pots used only for this purpose, also preferably in copper. You add for each person one cup of water, one tea spoon coffee and sugar as of taste.
The taste of Turkish coffee remains best when drunk without sugar some say. Although for some tastes sugar is necessary. This is why you may order a Turkish coffee without sugar, with medium amount of sugar or with a lot of sugar.
There are several explanations as to why Turkish coffee is served in such small cups. The main reason remains that it used to be a good that was not affordable due to financial deficiency. On the other hand, Turkish coffee is a strong drink with caffeine which can keep you awake by drinking it only in this small cups and more could harm your health especially the ones with heart, blood pressure or kidney diseases.
Since this coffee is very strong you are supposed to drink a small amount of it and enjoy it slowly. Wherever you order a Turkish coffee it is barely possible you will get just a cup of coffee. Usually, it comes with a small cup of still water and a Turkish delight called lokum. Lokum is a sweet in form of a little cube covered with powder sugar. There are many varieties of flavours in lokum like different kinds of fruits, nuts and even roses.
You are supposed to drink the water before enjoying the coffee. That helps you taste the essence of the coffee fully some say. The other intention for drinking water in advance is that especially Turkish coffee is hard to digest for the kidneys. By drinking water in advance you help the digestion process. While enjoying the coffee with small sips many read something, enjoy some time off or one can also have a “fiskos”.
So called fiskos is just an old description for ladies’ gossips. Traditional fiskos takes places around a table decorated with handmade laces, delicious Turkish coffee and even sweets. In a fiskos there will be someone who can predict the future by reading the coffee left on the bottom of the cup. For that after the coffee is drunk the cup is supposed to be turned by attaching the cup backwards on the plate. To be sure it is time for the prediction the bottom of the cup needs to be touched. When it is cooled it means your coffee is ready to be fortune-telling. So the conversation gets intense after the bottom of the cup is cold. Firstly, the fortune-teller reads the cup. At last she pours the coffee left on the plate inside the cup and reads the plate.
Another tradition Turkish coffee is known for its marriage proposals. Whenever a boy and a girl like each other or the parents arrange it, the boys side (i.e. elderly of the boy’s family with the potential groom) visits the girls side. Amongst others the conversation is usually about the boys and girls educational or professional status and the families’ backgrounds as well. Meanwhile the girl will be preparing Turkish coffee in the kitchen. She serves the beverage in a tablet starting from the oldest of the guests. When serving the boy an eye contact is common.
The grooms’ family will get an impression about the girls cooking skills while drinking the coffee. Even by looking at it some can say if it is well prepared or not. If the top of the coffee is very foamy the coffee usually will have a better taste.
In addition, If the girl likes the boy she may add salt into his coffee in advance. Some even add spices. This is a playful tradition to give the boy the message she likes him. If the boy drinks it without complaining, she takes it as a positive message that the boy will endure her no matter what.
Business administration and Kung Fu student in Zurich.
Photo Credits: Mah Ta, Roving-Aye!, LWYang, michael davis-burchat