What’s in A Cup of (Turkish) Coffee?


If you ever come to Turkey, you will soon become acquainted with Turkish Coffee, or as they call it, Türk kahvesi.  It is vastly different from what most Westerners consider to be coffee, so some people like it and others don’t so much.  I happen to be a HUGE coffee drinker and I love myself a good, strong cup of black coffee (which is a little hard to come by in Turkey), but luckily, Turkish Coffee has slowly started to grow on me.


Turkish Coffee at Rixos in Eskisehir

Generally, Turkish coffee is served in a small coffee cup called a fincan with a side of Turkish Delight, otherwise known as lokum.  It is served in a small amount like an espresso and has a thick, somewhat gritty texture (which is what turns some people away from it) and a layer of foam on top.  It is also not the kind of coffee one can easily drink black.  I usually have at least 1/2 a cube of sugar in it.

I’ve been drinking Turkish Coffee pretty much since I got here, but only recently learned about the art of reading Turkish Coffee grounds when I noticed so many of the Turkish teachers doing it in the tea room at school.  Similar to reading tea leaves, Turks will look into their empty fincans for shapes and patterns left by the foam and coffee grounds to tell them what’s in store for their future.

Here’s just a quick little guide to reading your Turkish Coffee cup, just in case you  have access to Turkish Coffee and you’re interested in giving it a try:

Step 1:  Get your Türk kahvesi.  You can order it at a cafe or restaurant, or if you have a cezve, you can make it yourself.

Step 2:  Drink your coffee, but leave the grounds and just a tiny amount of the liquid to swirl them around.  I only mean a drop or two…otherwise it will all just fall out of the cup when you turn it over.

Step 3:  Put the small coffee plate over the top of your empty coffee cup and gently tip it over.  Leave the cup turned over on the plate for about five minutes.  The allows the remaining foam and grounds to drip down and dry up.

Step 4:  It’s time to predict your future.  When you look at your cup, you should see  some shapes and patterns, like so:


In this particular cup, I noticed a mountain shape, which apparently means “a great ambition.”  The interpretation of symbols can vary according to the cup reader.  The best advice I’ve gotten is simply to have fun with it and think about what the symbols I find mean to me personally.

So far, I haven’t found any grims, so I guess I’m doing alright.  🙂


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