Gizem Şalcıgil White (a.k.a Turkish Coffee Lady)
Gizem Şalcıgil White, is a Turkish Washington resident living in the US for 13 years. She is conducting what some may call ‘’Cultural Diplomacy’’ by visiting several places around the world with a truck. She is introducing Turkish coffee and its five centuries of accumulated culture since the year of 2012 with her ‘’Mobile Turkish Coffee Truck’’. She had visited 6 countries and 14 cities all around the world with her adorable, sympathetic truck. Her endeavor is supported and sponsored by Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, which is one of the biggest and prestigious Turkish coffee brand in Turkey, and Arzum Okka. In addition, she has a team of volunteers to help her along the way. Nevertheless, what she does could be defined as madness!
She had visited US in 2012; France, Belgium and Netherlands in 2013 and Canada in 2015. She had served the traditional Turkish coffee flavor to over 20 thousand people and introduced the rich coffee culture inherited by the Ottomans. This ‘’Cultural Diplomacy’’ was honored by the US Representative Assembly as a ‘’friendship project’’. It was awarded by various institutions, inside and outside Turkey. The previous destination was London in November, supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
She is doing a great work at introducing the culture of Turkish coffee and the cultural heritage. She says ‘’I chose to do this because I love Turkish coffee a lot. I would not change it to any other blend of coffee. Turkish coffee has always been a great way of communication throughout the centuries. It has a unique place in World history. But unfortunately it is not credited enough abroad Turkey. I took this as a personal trouble. I did not choose to say ‘’What can I do all by myself?’’. I came up with this mobile Turkish Coffee Truck idea that will include Turkish coffee lovers like me. We have been travelling around the world since 2012. I have a daughter which is 22 months old. I also take her with me along the trips and I am hoping to continue this project in the future too.’’
Mrs. Şalcıgil had her master degree education on ‘’Country Branding’’. She saw the trucks travelling around US, introducing foods from around the world to the American people. She thought this mobile advertising method could be a perfect way of introducing Turkish coffee. But unfortunately there were no such trucks to do so. So she decided to step in for the job.
What is so different about Turkish coffee? Aroma, serving and cooking methods differ a lot. But the most significant difference according to Mrs. Şalcıgil’s is that the Turkish coffee sits at the bottom of every coffee cooking tradition. ‘’The first coffee cooking method was developed in the 16th century by the Turks. The taste from its coffee grounds stay in your mouth for a significant amount of time. With its unique style of serving and cooking, it has no equivalent. For that reason, UNESCO has listed Turkish coffee as a ‘’Cultural Heritage’’. It is also a beverage recommended by the doctors due its many benefits.