Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, Turkey’s Oldest Turkish Ground Coffee Seller

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi understood already centuries ago that coffee is the best excuse and means to enjoy each other’s company in Turkish society. Needless to say that locals prefer a nicely prepared cup of Turkish coffee over the more traditional version. Also fortune telling, by looking at the bottom of a finished cup, is most probably another invention to extend the conversation process.

Coffee beans.
© Photo by Tico_24

The Magical Fruit

Coffee was named as “magic fruit” in Ethiopia and used for medical purposes by drinking the boiled fruit. After its wide spread in the Arabian Peninsula, the Sufi sect in Yemen made the first processed coffee in the 14th century by roasting and grinding the beans to boil in water.

How did coffee come to Turkey?

During the reign of Ottoman Sultan Selim I, Yemen governor Özdemir Paşa brought the first coffee to Istanbul in 1517. Its reputation grew quickly in the Ottoman palace and there was even a title kahvecibaşı.
Kahvecibaşıs were supposed to be loyal and secretive, since they were responsible of making and also serving coffee for the sultan or the other important statesmen.

Right after the palace, the magical drink was embraced very quickly by the rest of the city. People roasted and grinded the beans in their own houses.

Why is it called Turkish Coffee?

Picture of Kuru kahveci Mehmet Efendi truck delivering Turkish coffee in Istanbul.
In 1544 two Syrians opened the first coffeehouse in Istanbul, Tahtakale. Thanks to the Venetian merchants who came to Istanbul, coffee reached Europe in 1615. The dominant style of preparation all around the world came and spread in the Ottoman times. This is why it is widely known as ‘Turkish’ coffee.

Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is the most well-known and the oldest coffee company in Turkey. Until the end of 19th century shops sold only raw beans. To sell roasted and grinded coffee was Mehmet Efendi’s brilliant idea who worked at his father’s coffee shop in Tahmis Street which still exists in Tahtakale and takes its name from coffee (tahmis means roasted coffee).

Further Recommended Reading

  1. How To Make Perfect Turkish Coffee, and Its Social Importance
  2. Turkish Tea, an Offer You Can’t Refuse
  3. Salep and Boza – History and Recipe of Special Turkish Winter Drinks
  4. Do you have a question? Ask it here!

Last updated on 04/07/2015