Turkish Coffee is not considered just a beverage by many, but also an experience that should not be missed while in the Middle East. Turkish Khave is so synonymous with Turkish life and cuisine, that it has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turkey. Yet, it has been replicated in many Middle Eastern countries; producing many variations of the drink.
Due to the fact that I aim to recreate and share experiences of my life in this blog, I will not focus on the making of the coffee in this post, even though that is an experience in and of itself. Rather, I will focus on the experience of drinking it. I consider it important to share the experience of drinking Turkish Khave, albeit in a series of photos, in relation to my own cultural background, which is British Caribbean colonial.
The English are not known for whetting the appetites of the world, but they are almost synonymous with tea- high tea. High tea or Afternoon tea carries with it a certain amount pomp and delicacy of a fine art to be mastered.
And while the practice of this fine art is slowly waning in this fast paced digital world, it is the only 'tea' experience that I could find comparable and more importantly that I can claim some cultural affiliation to.
High tea or Afternoon tea conveys a certain sophistication as mentioned before. However, having experienced Turkish Khave, I don't believe that I can have another experience whereby I have no choice but to feel like a Queen.
In these photos, I hope to convey that experience to you.
Presentation is everything
I have had khave several times, and I have to admit every time the presentation blows me away. From bronze to silver to gold plated, the khave is presented in the most beautiful nickelised copper sets that one could imagine.
All the pieces to the puzzle
As I said, the presentation is always beautiful. But what about the elements that go into making the presentation so inspiring?
As you can see, the presentation is a large part of the experience. I find myself many times when my Khave is presented just sitting looking at it and finding no excuses whatsoever to refrain from taking as many photos as possible.
"Cok guzel" is my guaranteed response to my waiter.
It takes my breath away every time.
It is true that afternoon high tea in England is served in beautiful tea sets, which when presented can evoke feelings of sophistication, but I still contend, not quite like Turkish Khave. sets.
The bottled water presented is always served with Turkish Khave. Why? Usually drunk after a meal, the water is necessary to cleanse ones palette. After drinking the water then you can begin drinking your Khave.
How much sugar?
Before ordering, it would have been requested by the waiter just how sweet you like your coffee. In Turkey there are four intensities of sweet: sade (no sugar), az şekerli, orta şekerli and Çok sekerli. Most people order orta, which is not too sweet and or too bitter. It should be noted that no spoons are served with the Khave set.
Last but by no means least, the bowl, which always contains some kind of sweet to be munched on as you drink the Khave. Popular favourite is the Turkish Delight, but pictured here, is a medley of chocolate: white, milk and dark covered nuts and coffee beans.
I guess the high tea equivalent would be scones, slices of cakes and tea biscuits.
Conversate or Meditate?
I think one of the reasons that I have always loved drinking 'tea' i.e. any hot beverage is because it is always an opportune time for me to think about what is going on in my life, daydream, read or talk with my mother or sister. The drinking of tea for me, back home in the Caribbean has always been associated with these behaviours.
Luckily for me, Turkish Khave supports these behaviours too as a matter of tradition. However, it errs more on the side of conversation. As said before, Khave is usually served after a meal and at any time that a Turkish meal is served, breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can be assured that most people don't eat alone.
Meant to be savoured over a long period of time, it is up to you to decide if you will choose to drink it over an engaging conversation or quietly ruminating.
At this particular time of taking these photos, I had the chance to sit and talk with a friend Amer. I wrote the story of our conversation in the blog post 'My Afternoon With Amer' .
The big reveal
The demitasse cup is usually covered with some ornamental top. Taking it off adds to the experience of uncovering a treat that was specially made just for you.
What we see here is a porcelain demitasse cup served in the copper engraved set. This presentation certainly adds to the experience of drinking Turkish khave, and done over conversation serves, as the perfect template on which to create memories.
All photos taken by Petra. All rights reserved.