The Journey of Coffee from Ethiopia to Europe
Over the centuries, coffee, which was first used for medical purposes, has become an important part of the Turkish ritual of hosting guests.
The coffee plant was first discovered in the Kaffa region of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). In this region, the coffee was boiled and the water was drunk for medical purposes, and called the “magic bean” by locals. Coffee quickly spread over to the Arabian Peninsula and for 300 years was drunk using the Ethiopian method. It began to assume the characteristics we associate with it today in the 14th century. In the periods that followed, coffee beans were roasted on fire, then grounded, and coffee was consumed after boiling the ground coffee in water.
According to some, the first person to drink coffee using these processing methods was Su Sheikh Shazeli from Mocha who lived in the 13th century. It is stated that he especially drank coffee at night to be energetic for worship and to stay awake. This method of drinking coffee appeared in 1470 in Aden, in 1510 in Cairo, and 1511 in Mecca.
In the period of Sultan Selim I, Governor of Yemen Özdemir Pasha brought the coffee that he drank in Yemen to Istanbul. According to Katib Çelebi, coffee first came to Istanbul around 1543. Coffee from Yemen quickly became very famous. Over time, the word “qahwah” changed to kahve (coffee) in the Turkish language, and began to spread across Europe.
In a short time, coffee found a place in the palace kitchen and attracted a great deal of attention. Among the palace officials, a rank called “kahvecibaşı” (chief coffee-maker) was added.
Istanbul’s first coffee shop was opened in 1554. Storytellers entertained people in coffee shops, and there were Karagöz Hacivat (shadow puppetry) and brainteaser competitions held here. In addition, coffee shops were a favorite place for gossip, and everyone from the sultan to beggars expressed an opinion here. Because of this, some of
the sultans considered coffee shops troublesome. Murad IV not only banned coffee shops, he also demolished them. Yet, all the palace’s interventions were in vain, and the numbers of coffee shops continued to increase.
Although coffee was almost unknown in Europe, towards the end of the 16th century, it was being drunk in the most remote villages
of Anatolia. Venetian traders who came to Istanbul took this drink, which they enjoyed immensely, back to their city. In this way, Europeans were introduced to coffee in 1615.
The art of serving coffee is in not adding sugar, but serving something sweet alongside the coffee. Serving Turkish delight (lokum) beside coffee is an old Turkish custom. According to some records, during the Ottoman period, in the palace and mansions, various jams such
as quince jam were served in silver bowls before serving coffee.
1cup cold water / 2 tea spoons coffee
Place the water into a copper coffee pot and add the coffee. Brew the coffee over a low heat stirring occasionally until it begins to boil. Pour half of the coffee into a cup. Place the coffee pot back onto the stove and boil again, pour the rest of the coffee into the cup and serve.
1 kg quince / 1kg sugar / 1 tablespoon lemon juice / 1⁄2 cup water/ A few cloves and cardamom pods if desired
Peel the quinces, remove the seeds, and clean inside. Grate the quinces into a saucepan. Add the tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent them from darkening. Split the quince seeds with a knife and place them in the saucepan. Pour the sugar and half a cup of water over the quinces and cook. When the mixture begins to boil, simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and empty the jam into jars. Close the tops tightly and turn the jars upside down. Leave to cool and serve.