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

Logo of Istanbul-based Turkish coffee maker Kuru kahveci ehmet-efendi

by Erlend Geerts

in Cafés, Restaurants

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.

The Magical Fruit

Coffee was named as “magic fruit” in Ethiopia and used in medical purposed 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.

Kuru kahveci Mehmet Efendi truck delivering Turkish coffee in Istanbul.

Kuru kahveci Mehmet Efendi truck.

Why is it called Turkish Coffee?

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).

What's Next

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Dumitrescu July 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I am a heavy drinker of coffee and found your coffee the best so far (i bought coffee in Australia, US, France, Romania and for the last 3 years in UK. I buy it in Birmingham, 150km away from home. Could you tell me the closest shop I can buy your coffee? I live in Henley on Thames RG9 1BB Oxfordshire, UK/
Many thanks
Dan Dumitrescu

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 23, 2012 at 12:03 am

Hi Dan,

I’m afraid I can’t help you with that one. But Selin, a friend of ours who runs Turkish Flavours, may. She often travels to the UK and may have some addresses. Do contact her and tell her we sent you.

Good luck,
Erlend

Reply

Sena August 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

I love Turkish coffee and now that I have a chance to go on business trip to Istanbul, I will definitely want to take home with a few cans of Mehmet Efendi’s coffee. The bad news is, I will not have a chance to go to the shop in the Spice market. My client will take me to the Grand Bazaar for an hour or 2 though. Is it possible to find any of your shop in / around Grand Bazzar?

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Hi Sena,

You can find their brand of Turkish coffee in any almost any grocery store or supermarket. Mention it to your client, and I’m sure he’ll get you plenty of packs.

Reply

Amin Patel August 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I buy this coffee in Ottawa. I love it. It is my favourite kind. Glad it’s available in Canada. Sure prefer slow made Mehmet Effendi Turkish coffee over espresso any day !

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 20, 2012 at 1:25 am

You’re right Amin, and I’m told it’s even healthier.

Reply

tivadar szucs January 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I live in Scarborough ON. Where can i buy this coffee? It is hard to find in regular super markets.

Reply

Erlend Geerts January 11, 2014 at 12:52 am

Hi Tivadar,

I never used it myself, so take caution, but I found this site for the US and Canada: turkishcoffeeworld.com

They seem to be legit. If you try them, please share your experience.

Afiyet olsun,
Erlend

Reply

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