By Jessica Bachiochi
From August 22 to February 12, IC students spent $118,124.40 on Green Mountain and Starbucks coffee sold on campus. There were 73,193 total transactions during this time. And that’s just on campus. But this isn’t the only place on the planet that loves coffee. In fact, coffee has a long and complex history. It comes in many forms, and it has many traditions attached to it.
Turkish coffee, one of the oldest and lasting types of coffee out there, is much different from a coffee we drink here. Its origins can be traced back more than 500 years ago when the first coffee houses were built—during during the height of the Ottoman Empire, which had territory in northern Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.It may be hard to believe, but coffee as you and I know it is something completely different in the parts of the world that still drink this style.
LESS BUT INTENSE
A cup of Turkish coffee is smaller than the 12, 16 and 20 oz. cups purchased at Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks. And it packs a punch. It’s made in a jezve, a device that doesn’t filter the grounds. Instead they settle at the bottom of the cup and give this type of coffee its intense flavor. “Coffee here [in the U.S.] is not that strong,” said Vesna Ilievska, an international student from Macedonia. “I don’t drink regular here. It doesn’t have as much flavor.” Instead, Vesna buys a macchiato in the morning before class.
ALWAYS CAFFEINE, NOT CREAM
Vesna says decaffeinated coffee simply does not exist back home. When she told her family about this alternative we offer here in America, they cried, “What is the point of that?” You order coffee based on how many scoops of sugar you want–bitter for zero, sweet for one to two scoops, or you can ask for something in between. White coffee, or coffee with milk or cream, isn’t very popular. But add what you want, just don’t stir. Nothing can disrupt the grounds at the bottom.
SLOW, NO TO-GO
It’s tradition to drink coffee slowly. It’s a social experience, so there’s generally more talking than sipping. Vesna says her country’s national football (soccer) team was kicked out of a coffee shop in southwest Macedonia for drinking it too fast. He cried he didn’t want their money as he threw them out the door. If you’re not staying awhile to chat with your friends, then they might just say, as they say about decaf, “What’s the point?”
A FORTUNE COFFEE, NOT COOKIE
When you finish a cup of Turkish coffee–when you taste the finely ground coffee beans that feel like chunky chalk dust on your tongue–flip the cup and have your fortune told. The dark residue oozes along the sides of the upside-down cup for about 10 minutes. Once you flip it back over, you’ll find swirls and patterns along the walls that reveal insight into your future. “They can see into your future and past,” says Vesna, who used to spend an hour or so at a coffee shop in high school fortune telling with her classmates.
WITH A LOUD CROWD
Going for coffee is something Diana Dimitrova, the Director of International Student Services in the Office of International Programs, did frequently back home in Bulgaria before she moved to the United States. Though she continued what she calls a “non-assuming” social event in the U.S., she finds the coffee shops, regularly filled with lap-top computers, not as chatty. “You don’t have to drink coffee [in a coffee shop],” she said, but talking and listening is expected.
In other regions besides the countries near Turkey, coffee is a social lubricant, a cure for drowsiness, and maybe something deeply ingrained in human history. In the morning, it’s a dark, sludgy-looking liquid that bubbles when the water and fine grounds are ready to be taken off the stove and drank with your friends or family.