Cultural heritage includes the sites, things, and practices a society regards as old, important, and worthy of conservation.* It is a new terminology that is mentioned mainly by scholars with the impact of the various doctrinal texts published by UNESCO and ICOMOS that frame the definition and scope of cultural heritage. On the other hand, intangible heritage -as a relatively new concept- implies “living cultural heritage” which may be expressed in oral, performed, social or festive ways.
In that regard, Turkish coffee is an intangible cultural heritage of our culture and tradition. It is a unique coffee brewing technique which utilizes “immersion” method where finely ground coffee is always in contact with the water. We see a similar mentality method in French press technique as well, however Turkish coffee still differentiates itself as it is consumed with keeping the grounds in the cup!
Besides Turkish coffee being a completely unique brewing technique, it also has many cultural and occasional meanings. It is served in engagement ceremonies, or it is considered as a nice way to invite a friend to chat. In Turkish, a famous quote says “Bir kahvenin 40 yıl hatrı vardır” which indicates the social role of Turkish coffee in personal relations. Also, Turkish coffee culture has its after ritual, called “fortune telling”. The empty cup left after drinking is used to tell the person’s fortune-which is a unique association.
In overall sense, Turkish coffee could be considered as an important heritage “thing” as it has cultural, social, and economic impacts on people and local culture. It has the potential to form memories of the community such that they celebrate it in songs, literature and makes it a part of ceremonial occasions.
- - Christoph Brumann, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 2015