Turkish Coffee: The End of a Tradition?
By: Steve G
One of the oldest ways to make coffee was the Turkish Coffee, also known as Middle Eastern Coffee. Made with an Ibrik and Kahve and a very long and tedious brewing process, Turkish Coffee used to play a big role in the other aspects of the culture. Marriages were made or broken depending on the potential wife’s ability to make the Turkish brew. But a trend in the area is moving away from the timeless brew.
A recent survey conducted shows that the populace is slowly switching from Turkish coffee to more conventional forms of coffee such as lattes or alternatives such as tea. Hamdi Akan, professor of medicine at Ankara University, is a Turkish coffee enthusiast believing that the culture change is propagating a change. “This society is more and more Americanized,” says Akan. On Akan’s website, www.kahve.gen.tr, users agree that tea reflects the Turkish culture more so than coffee. Tea is locally grown and cheaper than its Brazil imported counterpart. Over the last five years, tea consumption in the country has jumped 46% while coffee has started to become more stagnant.
With coffeehouses worried about the change, local businesses have employed other methods to draw people back to coffee. What marketing tactics are employed? Fortune Tellers. As a throwback to the older days, Coffee tradition dictated that people flip their cups over, letting the remaining drops hit the table. Based on the pattern, people are able to determine their future. How far has local businesses gone? Local coffee shops have employed fortune tellers full time to be on hand for all of the coffee patrons.
Gimmicks and promos can only do so well before it becomes novelty. Akan has also taken other steps to try to rekindle the interest in coffee with government intervention. Asking global coffee chains to offer Turkish coffee on their menus can only go so far. Akan even admits that they can’t force people to buy their coffee. “A lack of diversification in Turkish coffee is its greatest problem,” says Akan who believes people prefer variety over one monolithic choice. One of the big problems with Turkish coffee is the lack options. Unlike lattes and teas, there’s little room to deviate from the recipe in Turkish coffee.
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