Looking for good coffee in Istanbul: 14 locations
Coffee in Istanbul

Looking for good coffee in Istanbul: 14 locations

The first coffee houses appeared in Istanbul in the 16th century, and for several centuries Turkish coffee has been drunk here. The beans for traditional coffee are ground almost to dust, brewed in a jezve on sand and never drunk with milk. Turkish coffee was listed as a UNESCO intangible heritage in 2013. I will tell you where to find real Turkish coffee in Istanbul.

The simple answer to the question «where to drink coffee in Istanbul?» is. — Wherever locals stop by is always the best indicator of quality. My list of places are trendy and legendary coffee shops that make Istanbul’s coffee map richer and more interesting. A cup of coffee costs about the same: from 8 to 15 Turkish lira per drink (1 lira is about 11 Russian rubles).

Map of Istanbul’s coffee meccas

Paradise for sweet tooth — Hafiz Mustafa

The first pastry shop of the Hafiz Mustafa chain opened back in the 19th century, and the interiors of the establishments remain the same to this day. Coffee shops usually occupy several floors. The baklava and rahat loukoum in the pastry shop are said to be the most authentic in Istanbul. I suggest going to the pastry shop on Istiklal Street, climbing to the top floor and watching the never-quiet tourist artery through the window.

Try salep — although it is not coffee, but rather closer to cocoa, the drink is made on the basis of ground orchid roots. Salep has a sweet, delicate flavor and a rather thick consistency — so take your time drinking it, it cools down slowly.

The pastry shop window is an eye-catcher
The pastry shop window is an eye-catcher
Sweets and tea are on display in the window
Sweets and tea are on display in the window
Salep is great for keeping you warm in the freezing weather
Salep is great for keeping you warm in the freezing weather
The top floor offers views of the busy street
The top floor offers views of the busy street

For fans of soap operas and chemistry, Walter’s Coffee Roastery

Walter’s Coffee lurks on the Asian side of Istanbul in the Moda neighborhood. Its creators were inspired by the immortal TV series Breaking Bad. The interior of the coffee shop was decorated as a chemical laboratory, the menu looks like a table of chemical elements, drinks are served in test tubes and laboratory flasks. There is also a corner-photo zone where you can try on protective coveralls and gas masks and buy an apron or a mug as a souvenir. The place will be interesting even for those who are not familiar with the series.

  • Open from 10:00 to 23:00.
  • There’s wi-fi
  • Instagram
It’s like drinking coffee in a lab
The menu is designed as a periodic table
The menu is designed as a periodic table
Coffee shop details
Coffee shop details
You can imagine yourself as the hero of a chemistry lab
You can imagine yourself as the hero of a chemistry lab

Traditional breakfasts are at Mado

This chain establishment can be found in almost every neighborhood of Istanbul. It is good to come here in the morning, order a Turkish breakfast — a large tray with scrambled eggs, cheeses, olives, pastries and sweets — and coffee. In the afternoon, stop by for coffee and traditional desserts such as kadaif, muhallebi, künefe, and buy sweets for your friends before you leave.

Eyes darting around in front of the counter
Eyes darting around in front of the counter
Mado has a huge selection of sweets
Mado has a huge selection of sweets

The world famous Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi

This is the most popular store in the Egyptian Bazaar, or spice market (Mısır Çarşısı) — there is always a long line in front of the store, and the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee spreads for a couple of blocks around. Mehmet Efendi, the founder of the brand, was the first in Istanbul in 1871 to sell roasted and ground coffee, which only needed to be brewed. The firm quickly became one of the most popular places among coffee drinkers in the city and then in the world. Here you can drink a cup of strong black coffee and then buy a pack of beans — the coffee is ground daily and packed right in the store. Prices are favorable: 27.5 Turkish liras for half a kilo (a little over 300 Russian rubles).

  • Opening hours are from 07:00 to 21:00
  • How to find: from the Galata Bridge side, walk along the main gallery of the spice market until you turn left. Opposite the turn is the exit to the open part of the market — this shop will be on the left side, orient yourself to the aroma of coffee and the long queue.
  • Website

In the rhythm of the metropolis — Starbucks.

There is a ubiquitous Starbucks in Istanbul, too. The chain’s coffee shops are located in various parts of the city, and they are never empty — visitors drink coffee, socialize and work at tables and on the open terrace. The menu is about the same as in Russia, but a pleasant surprise will be the prices — drinks in Istanbul Starbucks are at least twice as cheap as in Russian coffee shops.

  • Check the website for opening times of each establishment, on average they are open from 07:00 am.
Starbucks writes the guest
Starbucks writes the guest’s name on the cup.

Buying coffee beans for home or as a gift appears to everyone who has tasted real Turkish coffee. I do not advise buying beans in chain supermarkets like Koska — coffee from them turns out not very tasty and sour. It is better to buy coffee beans in specialized stores: first you can taste and choose the variety you like.

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