Turks in the US mark World Turkish Coffee Day
As people around the world celebrate the holiday season, Turks are enjoying their own additional celebration this month.
Among the cities in the US where the celebration is most prominent is Washington, DC, where a documentary on Turkish coffee was shown last week. A proclamation for the day was issued by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser last year. In New York City, there is a celebration ongoing this week in Times Square.
Behind much of this buzz is Gizem Şalcıgil White, founder of the Turkish Coffee Truck Project, which has taken her on a coffee truck tour throughout Europe and North America, and whose coffee documentary has brought the scenery and traditions from Turkish villages to audiences around the world.
"I'm trying to share this with my American friends. It's not only history, but it's cultural heritage. It's a special ritual," she tells The New Arab.
"It's not found on the menu in the US. I want to change that. People are looking for exotic coffee. They want to try something different. There's so much potential."
The popularity of coffee might feel like a modern trend, with the proliferation of Starbucks and other cafes, but Turkey can be credited with bringing about the culture of the hot roasted brew.
The world's first coffee brewing technique, in which beans were roasted, was invented by the Turks in the early 16th century, under the Ottoman Governor Özdemir Pasha of Yemen.
Though coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 10th Century, it was not until the Turks began roasting the beans and serving the drink in the mid-1550s at cafes and for special occasions that a worldwide trend was born. A century later, coffee shops began popping up in western Europe.
Now, White plans to bring the Turkish coffee culture to the Washington, DC area with her new coffee shop and culture house opening in Old Town Alexandria in northern Virginia this month.
She says: "You can come with your laptop and enjoy conversations, coffee, pastries and art."