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After 500 years, Turkish coffee percolates in popularity

On the brink of oblivion about a decade ago, Turkey’s ancient coffee culture is revived by a vibrant new generation of entrepreneurs and young consumers.
A waiter carries two cups of Turkish coffee at a coffee shop in Istanbul October 19, 2007. Turks are turning their backs on traditional Turkish coffee as they acquire a taste for the cappuccinos and espressos served at global coffee chain outlets opening up across this economically booming Muslim country. Picture taken October 19, 2007. To match feature TURKEY-COFFEE      REUTERS/Osman Orsal   (TURKEY) - RTX7D

Technology often destroys tradition. For Turkish coffee, though, it seems to have worked the other way around. Coming back from the brink of oblivion, a five-century-old culture has taken on a new life, driven by the long-overdue arrival of Turkish coffee machines and a new generation of coffee-savvy young urbanites.

In the chronicles of coffee, Ottomans take credit for introducing the great stimulating drink to Europe in the 17th century. By that time, coffeehouses — arguably the first centers of public opinion — were thriving in Istanbul, unnerving the Sublime Porte. Ottomans of all walks of life mingled in the coffeehouses, discussing anything from religion to politics, long before the Parisian cafes became the meeting point of writers and revolutionaries. In the 20th century, however, coffee was overtaken by tea as prices soared, and Turks became the world’s top tea drinkers.

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