While coffee in the western sense is a burgeoning scene in Istanbul, Traditional turkish coffee is still served in almost every restaurant in the entire country.
However, in Istanbul the chances to find a traditional preparation technique not using commercially marketed machines, that, with the touch of a button prepare an almost perfect cup, are hard to find.
On my recent trip, they were near impossible to find however three spots still line up to that great tradition.
MANDABATMAZ / BEYOGLU
For over 15 years the owner of this hole in the wall, off Istiklal Caddessi, the main thoroughfare from Taksim to Galata, has been serving Turkish coffee, fronmthe same cezve, or coffee pot, over an open flame. With standard perfection of a thick, lightly frothed coffee here you can count on an exceptional beverage.
Watching the preparation here is a bit difficult due to the space but if you have a chance to watch don’t miss it.
PATI CAFE / BEYOGLU
What it lacks in visually stunning interior is more than made up in preparation technique at PATI CAFE. Here you can watch every step, coffee, sugar, water, mix, heat…. up close.
The highlight, mind you, is the heating technique. Sand is held in an open pot that is heated from below, traditionally by fire, today by electricity. Watch as the water is heated by the sand, gently frothing the coffee, to the rim of the cezve, and immediately poured in your single cup. A fun experience that will remind you how coffee was prepared by the Turkish people when they were on war campaigns or as nomads in Anatolia.
CORLULU ALI PASA MOSQUE and MEDRESE
The greatest and perhaps the oldest running cafe and nargile(hookah /shisha) spot in istanbul. This 18th century mosque, medrese, and courtyard is a direct decedent of the coffee houses you would have found in Istanbul as early as the 16th century.
Locals and visitors all unite here to take part in the oldest traditions of coffee house culture.