November 24, 2011

Turkish Coffee House Talk Could Teach the World a Thing or Two


The coffee house was invented almost five centuries ago, in Istanbul. But it wasn't Turks who turned the concept into a global business model, it was the Americans. While Turkish waiters kept on serving traditional coffee and water pipes to their loyal customers at cheap prices, Americans designed menus full of delicacies and calories, decorated their coffee houses with comfy chairs, and offered free Wi-Fi. Nevertheless they will still find it hard to convince loyal Turkish coffee addicts like me into giving up our die-hard drinking habits: for us, the siren logo represents terrible coffee consumed over comfortable furniture and the flavour of Turkish coffee remains indispensable.

It is good news for us, then, that Turkish coffee culture has now pitched up right in the centre of London: a few weeks ago, Kahve Dünyası ("The Coffee World"), our tardy response to the Starbucks model, opened in Piccadilly Circus. The chain was established as late as 2004 in Istanbul's Eminonu district, where the first ever coffee house opened its doors in 1555. Many Turks have fallen for Kahve Dünyası's traditional but also conveniently modern ways: there are 68 types of coffee on offer as well as an extensive chocolate collection. Orders are taken by a waiter and not at a counter, and the Turkish coffee will arrive at your table the way you like it: plain, or with little, medium or lots of sugar.

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