When Çagatay Gülabioglu opened KronotRop on one of Beyoglu’s sloping side streets in January 2013, he wanted to give Istanbul’s complacent coffee culture a clean slate. Gülabioglu set out to open the country’s first micro roastery and speciality coffee shop not to revive Turkish coffee but, as he puts it, ‘to serve a decent cup of Joe’.
KronotRop’s bolthole size might define it as more of a coffee stand than a coffee shop; instead grandiosity is channelled into each 25ml of espresso. Gülabioglu roasts single origin beans in-house, one kilogram at a time, which are only ground when customers place an order.
Leave it to Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj to transform a dilapidated hotel in Marrakech into a contemporary guesthouse, tearoom, café, boutique and gallery. Hajjaj saturated Riad Yima with his distinctive creations, transforming Coca-Cola crates into stools and aluminum cans into lamps.
While a great deal of attention was paid to Riad Yima’s visual identity, an equal amount of thought went into designing its menu. While standards like café lattes, espresso and what the manager calls ‘black coffee’ are included on the menu, traditional Moroccan specialties like nus nus (half-half) coffee, spiced coffee with aromatic herbs, and mint tea with saffron constitute the venue’s specialties.
Cemilzade Confiserie Orientale
Opened in August 2010 on Mitte’s well-trodden Linienstrasse, Cemilzade Confiserie Orientale is the sole European outpost for the historic Turkish confectionary brand Cemilzade. White and serene, with accents of dark green and gold, the space comprises a take-away counter and comfortable seating room – a fine balance of oriental flair and Teutonic restraint.
Old school favourites such as lokum and assorted marzipan sweets make good appendages to the Turkish coffee on offer. ‘We largely offer Turkish mokka, with or without cardamom. We also have premium fair trade Brasilia coffee mixed with 70 percent Arabica and 30 percent Robusta beans,’ Sevgi Gürez, the owner, says of her preference for serving eastern brews.
‘Essentially, we’ve always believed there is much to draw from our own culture. We wanted to break the trend of franchising generic brands everywhere and draw ideas from our own culture and history instead,’ says Ibrahim Mouasher, one of the owners of newly-opened Majnoon Qahwa – a new space in Amman’s Taj Lifestyle Center.
The team source their beans from trusted suppliers, roasting them once a week on a Giesen W6 according to their tastes, which, it seems, are particularly educated. ‘We only use the purest preparation methods possible to extract and highlight the flavour of the bean, rather than overpower it. The grind size of every bean to the ratio of water, even to the temperature of the water and the extraction time, are all very scientifically performed.’
Mouasher’s extensive knowledge is filtered into a straightforward menu that offers a choice of five single origin beans, including a Yemeni Harazi and a Yemeni Peaberry. ‘The Yemeni Peaberry is really very unique. I haven’t seen it in another coffee shop before. We also feature qishr, a traditional Yemeni drink made from the husks of coffee. We have an iced qishr drink too, which I think is a world first.’
Arashi’s Coffee & Bar
Arashi’s Coffee & Bar in Tokyo’s Hiroo district offers much more than its straightforward name and diminutive size might suggest. Opened in April 2011, Tehran-born owner Arash Varzdary imports an all-in-one Iranian experience of qahwa, nargileh and fortune telling rituals.
Yes, it errs on pastiche, but Varzdary tips the balance with the space’s visual identity. Opting for Nippon minimalism over Arabian kitsch, the focus is kept on the ritualistic elements of his services. ‘I tried not to emphasise Iranian taste too much. I kept it more my own style,’ Varzdary says.
Arashi’s Coffee & Bar is, Varzdary claims, the first to offer tasseography in Japan. Naturally, coffee is second in Varzdary’s pecking order but a customer still has to drink a cup in order to get the grounds. Good job the qahwa’s good; dark-roasted, strong and imported from Iran.
Dar Bistro & Books
When an old, traditional house became available in Beirut’s Wardiyeh district of Hamra, its quaint gardens and high ceilings inspired three friends – Dima Abulhusn, Ramzi Haidar and Rima Abushakra – to snap it up and remodel it into a space that is part café, part bookshop.
Dar Bistro & Books (simply referred to as ‘Dar’) integrates a broad range of Beirutis by doling out simple, honest espresso-based coffees. Their blend of preference is Italian, imported by fellow Lebanese coffee lovers Crematica. ‘In addition to being smooth and layered, its flavour and character remain the same when in an espresso, a cappuccino, an Americano or a latte. That was key during our tasting period,’ says Dima.
Raw Coffee is on a mission. After struggling to find decent and ethically produced coffee in Dubai, the founders of this ‘boutique roastery’ decided to take the beans into their own hands. ‘You can have a Toyota Lexus or a Toyota Corolla, they’re both Toyotas and they’ll both get you from A to B, but there’s a big difference in quality,’ says Kim Thompson, Raw’s spunky Managing Director.
The roastery’s headquarters in Al Quoz sit in a converted industrial space among a grid of warehouses that also hosts a number of art galleries and cafés. After ruthlessly sourcing only the best beans from across the world, Raw roast them to supply Dubai’s ‘only premium 100 percent locally roasted, 100 percent organic and 100 percent ethically traded fresh Arabica coffee.’
The Dar Tazi compound is a warren of out buildings peppering the garden of a 15th century palace in Fez. One of the complex’s unused storage spaces – a long, low bunker-like building – is metamorphosing into an ambitious cultural café.
Layla Skali, who is overseeing the café’s renovations, commissioned Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni to redesign the structure to cut a contemporary edge through its minimalist surroundings. Maghrebi-style mint tea will, no doubt, be the default order at Multiflex but Skali insists that coffee will also be available to enjoy while pouring over the library of books, or to keep minds nimble during the rich mix of literature, film, music and art events that Multiflex has planned.
Turkish Coffee Ladies
Washington DC, USA
For those without the time to linger in the spaces above, Turkish sisters Gizem Salcigil White and Tugcem Gaines have come up with a handy, alternative solution to today’s fast-paced lifestyles: culture-on-the-go. Determined to share their love of Turkish coffee with others, the sisters took to the road to carry out their goal by strapping a pair of wheels onto their favourite beverage.
Calling themselves the Turkish Coffee Ladies, Gizem and Tugcem plastered a Ford food truck with images of their native Turkey and embarked on their mission, introducing audiences all along the US’ East Coast to the grounds of Turkey’s oldest coffee brand: Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, prepared using automatic Turkish coffee makers.
From the little window through which they hand out their beloved drink and the Turkish delights that break its bitterness, Gizem and Tugcem see themselves as extending the hand of (Turkish) friendship.
This article appears in the issue42Buy Now