How was Istanbul Coffee Festival 2018?
I’ve spoken to so many people about how Istanbul Coffee Festival was that I felt this blog would be pretty much necessary.
Istanbul Coffee Festival has been taking place for the past 5 years and we can safely say it’s one of the most popular food-oriented festivals in Istanbul. I had always been somewhat distanced to Istanbul Coffee Festival due to the horrendous crowds and the dry-ice shows, but I’ve attended so many good food events this year that they got me thinking maybe there was a potential in Istanbul Coffee Festival too. So, I found myself in Küçükçiftlik Park on a Friday morning. Here’s how it went out.
I started with a small tour around the festival area and seized the stands I would like to prioritise. Passed by the food court and planned my lunch, said hi to the neighborhood hotdog place Diff, and found myself back in the coffee scene.
There was a variety of participants which ranged from Petra to the Consulate of Guatemala, and they were all awaiting the visitors to taste their pour-overs. We tasted, we spoke, we accidentally spilled some coffee on ourselves; I’ve had A LOT of fun. I’ve always loved the concept of tasting with the producers (roasters, in this case) and being able to ask my questions directly to them.
There’s also this one thing that I say to those who ask “How was Istanbul Coffee Festival?”: “I’ve had A LOT of coffee.” I think I visited all the stands and tasted the majority of the coffees available. So there’s no way for me to pinpoint every coffee I’ve tasted in all the stands. But of course, there were some that just stood out.
Mocha Arabica is a new cafe in Fatih. Their name comes from the Yemeni coffee. Our Yemeni friends at this stand were so pleasing to talk to and one of the coffees I tasted was so good that I still clearly remember them. I’ll make sure to visit their new place in Fatih.
Null was there, once again, with their hopped nitro brew. (Yes, hop as in the one used in beer. They aromatise cold brewed coffee with hops and nitrogenate it. It is served from the tap and looks pretty much like Guinness. It’s very slightly carbonated, and you can definitely taste the coffee and the hops separately. It’s a very pleasing combo if you’re a fan of both beer and coffee, like me!)
I’ve had the chance to taste this nitro brew a few times in separate events and I can safely say that it gets better every time I drink it. Don’t ever miss it if you see it at an event.
They were also serving a really nice pour-over. With aromas of melons, apples, and heated sugar (cotton candyish); Ethiopia Wolena is one of the most interesting coffees you can have. I believe you can buy it directly from Null’s website.
Petra had this other natural processed beauty called Ethiopia Sewana. It was very aromatic with sweet oranges on the nose. Make sure to check it out.
How about the food at Istanbul Coffee Festival?
You simply cannot write a blog titled “How was Istanbul Coffee Festival?” and not talk about the food. Istanbul Coffee Festival 2018 wasn’t short in food choices either. Diff was there, with their gruyere filled sausages; BunCo with their soft little steamed buns; and Fornello, with their amazing Italian pizzas. I doubt if anyone left the festival hungry. It was also a lot of fun to freely taste chocolate at Godiva and Lindt’s stands.
What did I see at Istanbul Coffee Festival?
The coffee and food aside, Istanbul Coffee Festival was a great place to observe the people. There’s no need to go into detail on Turkey’s coffee clichés as they’re pretty obvious and they were very visible here too.
They had brought in a bodybuilder-looking muscular fella for “mortar coffee”. Yes, people might have needed to use mortars back when there were no grinders but it was hilarious to watch someone beat the hell out of the coffee beans with a huge stick while the other stands were trying to tune in their precise grinders. There couldn’t have been another marketing scheme where technology was so highly disregarded in favor of tradition.
If you had banned dry ice, the first industries to down would be ice cream shops followed by the showman coffee places. There were, once again, “those guys” with their dry ice shows and their fancy lab equipments. We just love to boil things down to the costumes and the shows. They had a lot of Instagram exposure once again with their mystification of coffee. Oh and before I forget, there were also those “syrup guys” for the people who hated coffee.
And yet, even though I beat them up a little, I’m not against all these. (I may be just a little against the “mortar coffee” but that guy was suffering!) With all the entertainment “sauce” from these stands, the festival took its form as a festival. Everyone had a chance to drink what made them happy, had fun, listened to some music with their syrupy lattes in their hands… They reminded us who spoke about grinders and beans and filter papers about what there was out there in the world. It was nice…
Did you get a chance to attend Istanbul Coffee Festival? Please feel free to share your experience with me!
I love talking about food and beverages just as much as I love indulging in them. I use my Instagram pretty actively at @berk.fi and use this website as a blog. I’m also a student of English Literature in Boğaziçi University.