The United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) – Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 8.COM 8.28

The committee: takes note that Turkey has nominated Turkish coffee culture and tradition (No. 00645) for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Turkish coffee combines special preparation and brewing techniques with a rich communal traditional culture.
The freshly roasted beans are ground to a fine powder; then the ground coffee, cold water (and if required, sugar) are added to a coffee pot called a tzezve and brewed slowly on a stove to produce the desired foam, and to a create a strong, aromatic brew.
The beverage is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water, and is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to talk, share news, read newspapers and books, and plot revolutions.
The tradition itself is a symbol of hospitality, friendship, refinement and entertainment that permeates all walks of life. An invitation for coffee among friends provides an opportunity for intimate talk and the sharing of daily concerns.
Turkish coffee also plays an important role on social occasions such as engagement ceremonies and holidays; its knowledge and rituals are transmitted informally by family members through observation and participation.
The grounds left in the empty cup are often used to tell a person’s fortune – this practice is called fal.
Turkish coffee is regarded as part of Turkish cultural heritage: it is celebrated in literature and songs, and is an indispensable part of ceremonial occasions.
The committee: decides that the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the List:
1: Passed on from generation to generation within Turkish families, the knowledge and skills related to the tradition of Turkish coffee provide a sense of identity and continuity, reinforcing social cohesion and openness through hospitality and entertainment.
2: Inscription of Turkish coffee culture and tradition on the Representative List could promote greater visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and provide an example of a social institution favouring dialogue.
3: On-going and proposed safeguarding measures demonstrate the commitment of the local and national authorities as well as of coffee aficionados and associations to promote Turkish coffee culture.
4: Several community members, experts, and associations participated in preparing the nomination, and gave their free, prior, and informed consent.
The committee: hereby inscribes Turkish coffee culture and tradition on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Turkish coffee dates back to the Ottoman Empire, where it was first brewed in the 15th century.
Coffeehouses, known as kahvehane, played a significant role in Ottoman society as places for socialising, intellectual discourse, and entertainment. In the Ottoman Empire, coffeehouses were frequented by writers, scholars, and politicians, contributing to the exchange of ideas and cultural development.
Sultan Murad IV banned coffeehouses in the 17th century, considering them places of political unrest, subversive dissent, and moral corruption.
In Turkish culture, offering coffee to a potential partner is seen as a romantic gesture, often accompanied by the saying ‘bir fincan kahvenin kırk yıl hatırı vardır,’ meaning ‘a cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.’
While traditional Turkish coffee is served plain or with sugar, there are variations like menengiç kahvesi made from roasted pistachios, and salep, made from orchid roots.
Turkish coffee became a symbol of cultural diplomacy, with coffeehouses serving as platforms for cultural exchange and understanding worldwide.
Of course, some of us know it as Greek coffee, and I know one priest who persists in calling it Byzantine coffee!


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