Learn the slang!

AFICIANODOS’ COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: Tiryaki kahvehaneleri]:

Coffeehouses where coffee aficionados congregate.

ASH COFFEE [turkish: kül kahvesi]:

Coffee cooked over the hot ashes in a brazier. Charcoal fires used to be lit both in homes and in coffeehouses. The coffee made in jezvehs placed on the hot ashes was especially flavorful because it cooked very slowly. The arduous task of keeping charcoal fires going was abandoned with the introduction first of piped in city gas, then of individual LPG cylinders, even though the coffee cooked over such fire was less tasty. Until the 1970′s a sand-filled container was placed on top of stoves using gas cylinders and the coffee brewed in a jezve placed on this hot sand to approximate the taste of coffee cooked over hot ashes. Now even this method has fallen out of use.

BITTER COFFEE [turkish: acı kahve]:

1. Coffee without sugar. 2. Another name for the mırra (myrrh) coffee drunk in the southeast of Turkey.

CARDAMOM [turkısh: kakule]:

Aromatic herb added specially to “myrrh” coffee.

COFFEE CAULDRON [turkish: kahveci kazanı]:

The water cauldron with a spout found in coffeehouses: also called a “spare” [yedek]. The most famous master producer of the coffee cauldrons used in coffeehouses and on the Istanbul city ferryboats in the 1950s and 1960s was Emin Taflan from Maçka in the Black Sea province of Trabzon. Each cauldron he produced bears his own unique stamp. He was followed by the master-producer Alaattin Yanik from the city of Maraş in the Southeast.

COFFEE COOLER [turkish: kahve soğutucusu]:

A faint bad odor is left behind on roasted coffee beans, which consequently need to be aired or “cooled” immediately. The wooden containers used for this purpose are called “coffee coolers”.

COFFEE CUP [turkish: fincan]:

A cup, usually made of china, convenient for drinking coffee. Until the 19th century such cups had no handles. From the 19th century. cups with handles became widespread. A record of state fixed prices from 1640 refers frequently to cups under names such as multi-colored green and blue cups. nightingale cups. Persian cups, and rose decorated “pasha” cups with saucers. These cups are assumed to have been produced in Iznik. Coffee cups were also manufactured in several European porcelain factories. for example. Meissen and Sevres, for export to the Ottoman Empire. Masters brought from Sevres and, later. Turkish masters and the ‘Yıldız Porcelain Factory’ also produced cups in a similar style. From the 18th century. besides Iznik, coffee cups were also produced in Kutahya and Çanakkale and at Eyup in Istanbul. Also famous are the so-called “Tophane style” cups with handles and saucers. made from pipe clay, decorated with floral motifs and gilded with gold or silver. most of which exhibit the master’s signature.

COFFEE CUPBOARD [turkish: kahve dolabı]:

In houses and mansions, a cupboard with a door where coffee and the implements used in making it are stored.

COFFEE FIRE [turkish: kahve ateşi]:

Low flame.


The practice of examining the forms produced when the sediment left at the bottom of a drunk cup of coffee is poured into the saucer is known as “coffee fortune-tel ling” or “reading the coffee grounds”. It remains widespread in everyday life even today.

COFFEE JUG [turkish: kahve güğümü]:

The different size containers with spouts. usually made of copper, bronze or tombac, that are used to brew and serve coffee. The smaller ones are known as “coffee ewers”.

COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: kahvehaneler]:

enues where people gathered not only to drink coffee but also for conversation and other purposes. See also: JANISSARY COFFEEHOUSES , MUSICAL COFFEEHOUSES, NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEEHOUSES, TRADESMEN’S COFFEEHOUSES, UNDERGROUND COFFEEHOUSES.

COFFEE MAKER [turkish: ocakçı]:

In coffeehouses. the master who stands by the hearth and makes the coffee. Also known as the “tabi”

COFFEE MONEY [turkish: kahve parası]:

An expression used to mean a “tip”.

COFFEE MORTAR [turkish: kahve dibeği]:

A wooden mortar used for grinding coffee beans.

COFFEE ROASTER [turkish: kahve tavası]:

A ladle or similar container, made of metal (usually iron) and used to roast coffee beans; also known as a “coffee roasting container”. There are also some which are enclosed. In the Southeast it is called a “paddle”.

COFFEE ROASTING CONTAINER [turkish: kahve kavurma tavası]:


COFFEE TRAY [turkish: kahve tepsisi]:

A two-handled tray. oval or rectangular in shape and made of silver. wood. bronze or copper, especially for serving coffee.

COFFEEMAKER [turkish: kahvelik]:

The coffee jugs with a long spout used in the Southeast of Turkey for making the strong coffee known as mırra or “myrrh”.

COFFEE-SUGAR BOX [turkish: kahve-şeker kutusu]:

Containers made of copper, bronze. tin or wood. with two separate sections, one for coffee. one for sugar. Small ones are used in the home, large ones in coffeehouses. In the Balkans, especially in Sarayevo, they took the form of two separate containers whose lids were engraved with decorative designs.

CONNOISSEUR [turkish: meraklı]:

Well-cooked coffee, worthy of a coffee aficionado.

CONSOLATION COFFEE [turkish: teselli kahvesi]:

The coffee served to people who come to offer their condolences following a funeral.

CUP HOLDER [turkish: fincan zarfı]:

A small. footed cup made of metal for holding coffee cups without handles. The coffee is drunk from the cups in such holders. Although they can be made of several different metals. they are most often made of silver or gold and decorated with precious stones; those made of metals such as copper or bronze are assumed to be imitations of their more valuable counterparts used by the middle class. Some of these cup holders are also made of tombac, wood, bone or filigree.

CUP TRAY [turkish: fincan tepsisi]:

A small round tray 20-30 cm in diameter. usually made of copper. for carrying one or two cups. Most of these are decorated with traditional Anatolian motifs produced by the engraving technique. Some of these trays are also made of tombac (gold-plated copper).

EWER COFFEE [turkish: Ibrik kahvesi]:

The long-spouted copper containers known as “coffee ewers” or “coffee jugs” in which coffee is mixed with cold water and which are then placed either on the hot ashes of a brazier or over a flame and boiled long and slow. Adding a small amount of cold water to the coffee before it is poured into the cups ensures that the grounds precipitate to the bottom of the cup. This coffee. which therefore does not have the traditional foam on top. is extremely strong and flavorful. resembling today’s instant coffee.

FIRE BRIGADE COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: Tulumbacı kahvehaneleri]:


HAND HELD MILL [turkish: el degirmeni]:

The coffee mill. usually made of bronze. in the shape of a 20-30 cm high cylinder that can be held in the hand and used to grind coffee beans. It is more often used in the home. The grinding arm can be removed and stored under the lid. The lid of such a hand mill is first removed and the beans placed inside; the mechanism is then rotated and the pUlverized coffee collects in the lower part. The most famous master-producer of such bronze hand mills was Haci Artin. who until the 1970s ran a shop on Uzun Çarşı Avenue where he not only made new mills but also repaired broken ones

STRONG COFFEE [turkish: ağır kahve]:

A large cup of coffee: or. coffee weighing so many “okas” or “okes”.

ITINERANT COFFEE HEARTH [turkish: seyyar kahve ocağı]:

Name given to the portable hearths used by itinerant coffee vendors in open markets and mosque courtyards.

JANISSARY COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: Yeniçeri kahvehaneleri]:

The coffeehouses that were opened by former Janissaries after the Corps was abolished. The coffee maker was hanging the coat of arms of his former Janissary company at the entrance to his shop.

JEZVEH [turkish: cezve]:

Long-handled container made of a metal such as copper, bronze or aluminium in which pulverized coffee is mixed with water and boiled.


A large coffee cup.

LIP MARGIN [turkish: dudak payı]:

A cup of Turkish coffee is never filled to the brim but only to within 3·4 mm of the rim. The space left over is called the “lip margin”.

MAN COFFEE [turkish: erkek kahvesi]:

A term used among nomadic Turks for “plain” coffee or coffee without sugar.

MATCHMAKER COFFEE [turkish: görücü kahvesi]:

The coffee made and served to guests by a young girl whose hand is being sought in marriage.

MILK COFFEE [turkish: sütlü kahve]:

Coffee made with a lot of milk and little coffee. This type of coffee is usually made for children, who are not supposed to drink coffee.

MILL STAND [turkish: oturak değirmen]:

The type of wooden coffee mill used on the floor has a wooden base: the mill is held upright and either set on this box-like base or held between the knees as the coffee is ground. It is also called the mill stand. Since they are large and unwieldy, such stands are usually used in coffeehouses and in the great mansions. Surrounding the grinding arm on the top of the box and the hole through which it passes is a wide -mouthed metal (usually bronze) funnel-like pan through which the coffee beans are poured. and a drawer with a sliding bolt at the bottom where the pulverized coffee collects. Mills without a stand are used on a tabletop.

MUSICAL COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: çalgılı kahvehaneler]:

Also known as Sema!coffeehouses. the first examples of these were the coffeehouses of the Turkish minstrel poets. Poets who played the saz (traditional string instrument) and recited epics and traditional folk verse in forms such as the 4-syllable man; and the 11 -syllable ‘koşma’ began to gather in these neighborhood cafes. in time taking them over completely. The Sema! coffeehouses and the coffeehouses of the tulumbacı or volunteer fire brigades eventually splintered off from these neighborhood coffeehouses, following a line of development occasionally independent of the original organization.


The name give to the second largest among the 3-4 different coffee jugs used for making “myrrh” [MIRRA].

“MYRRH” [turkish: mırra]:

The strong coffee widely drunk in the southeast region of Mardin, Urfa and Diyarbakır which acquires a characteristic bitter taste from being poured back and forth from jug to jug while cooking.

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: mahalle kahvehaneleri]:

The most common type of coffeehouse in Istanbu l. Nurtured by the local culture. they were therefore places of conversation whose custom was supplied by the neighborhood residents. At the same time. these venues acquired a function as hubs of social communication. The typical Ottoman whiled away the hours in the triangle formed by home. mosque and coffeehouse. With the opening of the neighborhood coffeehouses at the end of the 16th century. everyday life embarked upon a new process of formation around a previously unknown type of space.

NIGHTINGALE SPITILE [turkish: bülbül tükürüğü]:

Coffee served in very tiny cups.

NOMADIC JEZVEH [turkish: yörük cezve]:

A jezveh whose handle folds over in two or three for easy transport.

PADDLE WHEEL [turkish: yandan çarklı]:

Plain coffee without sugar served with a cube of sugar on the side.

PLAIN COFFEE [turkish: sade kahve]:

Black coffee with no sugar.

ROASTING [turkish: tahmis]:

This term means “roasting the beans”. Shops where coffee is roasted and ground are known as “tahmis” shops or “tahmisçiler” markets (roaster shops or roasters’ markets).

SHERBET [turkish: şerbet]:

1. Very thick. sweet coffee with a lot of sugar. 2. The brown liquid formed when the coffee used in making “myrrh” [MIRRA] is boiled down to the grounds or sediment. which is then mixed with pure water and boiled up again.


A tiny. hand-held brazier, made of silver, copper or bronze suspended from three chains and used to hold a coffee jezveh. Some are also made of tombac (gold-plated copper).

SULTAN’S COFFEE [turkish: sultan kahvesi]:

The name given by the French to Turkish coffee with foam on top.

SUSPENDED COFFEE TRAY [turkish: kahve askısı]:

A round coffee tray, 30-40 cm in diameter and made of copper, bronze or tin, suspended from three equally spaced spokes that rise from its perimeter to a ring at the top from which the tray is carried.


Coffee grounds.

TRADESMEN’S COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: esnaf kahvehaneleri]:

The coffeehouses frequented by members of Istanbul’s different trade guilds, where tradesmen such as porters, bargemen. itinerant vendors. carters, or cooks gathered depending on their branch of trade. In other words. practically every trade had its own separate coffeehouse. to the extent that “Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar” in his work entitled Beş Şehir [Five Cities] even speaks of a coffeehouse in Istanbul frequented by perjurers.

UNDERGROUND COFFEEHOUSES [turkish: koltuk kahvehaneleri]:

With the banning of all intoxicants (substances producing kef or keif) in the reign of Sultan Murad IV, “aficionados” coffeehouses were transformed into underground venues known as “koltuk coffeehouses”.

WEARINESS COFFEE [turkish: yorgunluk kahvesi]:

The coffee drunk after performing a particularly exhausting task.

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