Istanbul, a city that bridges Europe and Asia, boasts a rich tapestry of culture and tradition that can be experienced through its culinary delights. Among the many treasures that await food enthusiasts in this bustling metropolis, Turkish coffee stands out as a symbol of tradition, hospitality, and community. In this brief guide, I take you on a journey through the heart of Istanbul to discover the best places to savor this iconic beverage. You’ll discover where to have a Turkish coffee in Istanbul and taste the real one.
Coming from Italy, I found it so different, but I learned how to appreciate it. Time after time, I tasted different beverages and also different coffees. Well, in the end, going to the best places, I had the chance to try the best ones. Now, in each trip to Istanbul, it became a must. Even if, I never miss tea, there it’s wonderful.
Take advantage also of my tips about Where to Stay in Istanbul: the 7 best hotels of the city.
Where to have a Turkish coffee in Istanbul: recommended places
Let’s go to discover the places where you will have the best Turkish coffee.
1. The historical gem: Mandabatmaz
Hidden in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet district, Mandabatmaz is a legendary coffee house that has been serving Turkish coffee since 1967. The name itself translates to “The Buffalo Doesn’t Sink,” which is a testament to the thickness and quality of their coffee. Stepping into Mandabatmaz feels like a journey back in time, with its charming, old-world ambiance and classic wooden decor. The coffee here is prepared meticulously, ensuring a velvety and rich texture that coffee aficionados will appreciate. Pair your coffee with a piece of traditional Turkish delight, and you have a delightful sensory experience that captures the essence of Istanbul’s coffee culture.
2. A Bosphorus view: Bebek Kahve
For those seeking a more contemporary and scenic setting to enjoy their Turkish coffee, Bebek Kahve offers a picturesque backdrop. Located on the shores of the Bosphorus in the upscale neighborhood of Bebek, this café offers breathtaking views of the waterway and the iconic Bosphorus Bridge. While sipping your perfectly brewed Turkish coffee, you can relax and watch the boats go by. The café also serves a variety of pastries and desserts to complement your coffee experience.
3. The artistic oasis: Karabatak
Nestled in the trendy Karaköy district, Karabatak is a coffee shop that doubles as an art space. With its industrial-chic decor and a focus on sustainability, it’s a favorite spot among the city’s creative crowd. Here, you can enjoy not only a superb cup of Turkish coffee but also a vibrant cultural experience. Local artists’ works adorn the walls, and the baristas take pride in crafting the perfect cup of coffee, making it a must-visit for coffee connoisseurs.
4. Timeless tradition: Fazıl Bey Turkish Coffee
Fazıl Bey, located in the heart of the bustling Eminönü district, is a true testament to Istanbul’s enduring coffee tradition. This tiny coffee shop has been serving up traditional Turkish coffee since 1923. Its cozy interior, complete with antique coffee grinders and copper pots, transports visitors to a bygone era. The coffee at Fazıl Bey is brewed using time-honored methods, ensuring an authentic and robust flavor. Don’t forget to pair it with a plate of baklava for the ultimate Turkish coffee experience.
5. A whirling Dervish experience: Hafiz Mustafa 1864
No exploration of Turkish coffee in Istanbul would be complete without a visit to Hafiz Mustafa 1864. Situated in the historic area of Sultanahmet, this iconic coffee shop and dessert parlor has been serving locals and tourists for over a century. What sets Hafiz Mustafa apart is not only its exceptional coffee but also its mouthwatering array of traditional Turkish sweets, including baklava and Turkish delight. While enjoying your coffee, you can witness a live performance of the whirling dervishes at their nearby cultural center. You’ll have the chance to add a spiritual dimension to your coffee experience.
Where to have a Turkish coffee in Istanbul: conclusions
Istanbul’s coffee scene is as diverse as the city itself, offering a range of settings and experiences to savor the magic of Turkish coffee. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply seeking a tranquil Bosphorus view, there’s a coffee house in Istanbul that will cater to your preferences. So, take your time to explore these hidden gems. And embrace the rich coffee culture that has been brewing in Istanbul for centuries.
The most popular and iconic Turkish coffee is simply known as “Türk kahvesi” (Turkish coffee). It is typically prepared by grinding Arabica coffee beans to a fine powder, mixing it with cold water and sugar (if desired), and then slowly heating it in a special pot called a “cezve” or “ibrik” until it foams. It is served in a small cup without milk and often accompanied by a glass of water and a piece of Turkish delight.
The cost of a Turkish coffee in Istanbul can vary depending on where you choose to enjoy it. In traditional coffeehouses or smaller local cafes, a cup of Turkish coffee can range from 5 to 15 Turkish Lira (TRY). In more upscale or touristy areas, you may pay a bit more.
They make Turkish coffee from high-quality Arabica coffee beans. The beans appear ground into an extremely fine powder, finer than espresso grind, to achieve the desired consistency. It’s important to use freshly roasted coffee beans and grind them just before brewing to preserve the flavor and aroma. While Arabica is the most common choice, some blends may include a small amount of Robusta beans for added body and crema.
Sand coffee, also known as “Turkish sand coffee” or “ibrik coffee,” is a traditional method of preparing Turkish coffee. To experience this unique preparation method, you can visit traditional coffeehouses, tea gardens, or certain specialty cafes in Istanbul.