Istanbul for Coffee Lovers: The 10 Best Coffee Shops
Coffee’s history and presence in Turkey dates all the way back to the times of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Introduced to the court via Ethiopia and Yemen, coffee has gained a firm hold on the land ever since. Its place in Turkish history and culture cannot be underestimated as it became the Ottoman’s favourite drink. In fact, the birth of coffeehouses was in the Arabian peninsula which was then brought to the Ottoman Empire. Many travellers to Istanbul have commented on the coffee house cultures of the empire and the importance of this beverage to the cosmopolitan city of Konstantiniyye. From there, it was later introduced to Europe with the assistance of Ottoman ambassadors who took the beverage and its ritual to foreign lands, delighting people there.
Coffee houses are typically a male space but in the 1920s, life in early Republican Istanbul slowly began to change. Today, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find modern coffee houses in almost every part of the city — some that we’ve listed here, and numerous others that are local favourites in the many lively neighbourhoods of Istanbul.
Furthermore, coffee is a household staple in Turkey but it’s not the variety you’d get in a regular chain coffee shop, it’s the strong, bitter variety that’s brewed straight in a special copper pot called ‘Cezve’. Poured into a tiny coffee cup, with the traditional one being a colourful Ottoman design with tulips in red or turquoise blue. However, these days, the practical way to do it in a jiffy is to use an electronic coffee brewer that takes less than a few minutes to prepare. However, the coffee grounds needed for Turkish coffee isn’t the same as regular coffee or espresso.
For those wandering the streets of Istanbul and wanting a break, today there are tons of options in this crazy city, including American and European retail coffee shops such as Starbucks, Caffè Nero, Lavazza and Gloria Jeans, for instance. Even Nespresso, Segafredo and Tchibo have been introduced to Turkey since the rapid urbanization of the 2000s and onwards. These brands are here to stay across shopping malls and central markets, along with the instant coffee brand Nescafé in Turkish households.
Additionally, the country has its own version of Starbucks style coffee chains and one very popular one is Kahve Dünyası and of course, the most traditional/historical coffee roaster for Turkish coffee is the famous Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi in the historical peninsula. You’ll even find a rare few old-fashioned Ottoman coffee houses scattered across the city. Nonetheless, while you can find specialty coffee whole or ground in these shops to take home, it’s the small independent coffee shops selling an excellent cup of Java that we’ll explore in our article below.
Most also serve Turkish style coffee alongside their other offerings, alongside a great atmosphere. Take a look below at some of the best and make it your pit stop when you’re in the neighbourhood. In the end, Istanbul has such a variety of both coffees and the style of coffee shops that you’ll be hard-pressed to choose where to go, and will have a favourite in no time!
1. Kronotop Coffee
Kronotop started in 2012, way before there were any good quality specialty coffee shops in the country. Today, they operate 14 different branches and put a value on sustainability and quality, which is kept true to word in all their numerous branches.
Carrying around 50+ varieties of coffee from all over the world, Kronotop also offers different coffee brewing techniques and roasts its own beans.
Kronotop also offers coffee workshops and has a loyal following of customers who value the shop’s commitment to sustainability as well as their passion for a good cup of coffee. Try their Nitro brew or the Kyoto or Japanese cold/iced varieties. Their other beverages such as the rooibos cortado and rooibos lavender tea, coffee kombucha, vegan lattes are worth a mention as well, along with their gluten-free and vegan food options.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 7.30 AM AND 11 PM (openS at 9 am ON
ADDRESS: Caddebostan, Caddebostan Plaj Yolu Sk. No:8/B, 34728 Kadıköy/İstanbul + other locations
TRain STOP: erenköy
2. Petra Roasting Co.
Petra roasts the coffee it offers to its customers a mere 24-48 hours before its served, guaranteeing freshness. All of their coffee is single-origin, NON-GMO and direct trade and they roast it themselves. Their passion for the beverage is evident in the amount of information and transparency they provide their customers, both in-store and online. In its main cafe at Gayrettepe, there’s a collective shop, kitchen and roasting area. On the other hand, its other shops have their own distinctive atmospheres, from the 1930s for instance in Topağacı to the futuristic designs of Maslak, for instance.
To increase coffee’s appreciation among the local population, Petra has been hosting cupping sessions and also educational events/information that allows its customers a glimpse behind the company and the coffees they have on hand.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 8 AM AND 6 PM (OPENS AT 10 AM ON WEEKENDS)
ADDRESS: Gayrettepe, Hoşsohbet Sokaği Selenium Residence D:Mağaza 1, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul + OTHER LOCATIONS
ferry/METRO STOP: Beşiktaş/ Gayrettepe (METRO ONLY)
3. Norm Roastery & Coffee
Operating out of one tiny corner in Cihangir, Norm can be considered the neighbourhood’s favourite coffee shop with its organic choices. It’s probably a coffee house you may love having in the neighbourhood so you can buy your coffees before you meet up with a friend!
With its roastery in the quaint Cunda island off the Aegean coast, Norm’s passion is offering the best coffee to the city and its residents. In addition to its coffee, Norm also offers unique desserts such as San Sebastian cakes, preserves and jams such as papaya marmalade and hot plums, for example.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 8 AM AND 8 PM (opens at 10 am on weekends)
ADDRESS: Cihangir, Güneşli Sk. 39/A, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
TRAMWAY/metro STOP: Fındıklı/taksim
Housed in a two-storey historical building in Karaköy, Karabatak Coffee is a local favourite, especially with the Instagrammable set.
Catering to different needs of its customers, they carry the Viennese coffee, Julius Meinl coffee in addition to their own blends. Additionally, they have smoothie bowls, a sandwich or toast and coffee deals and even kombucha!
Karabatak has become quite famous these days, especially with Instagrammers. As such, the prices are on the higher side, but that said, the memorabilia and the interiors are quite lovely and creative. Moreover, there’s a quiet section for those wanting to work and both indoors and outdoors seating.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 8.30 am AND 10 PM (open 10 am to 5 pm on weekends)
ADDRESS: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
TRAMWAY STOP: karaköy
5. Rawsters Coffee&Supply Co. 42 Maslak
A great place to chill with friends or alone, Rawsters in 42 Maslak (in the same location as one of Petra Roasting Co.’s coffee shop) is trendy enough that sometimes, you won’t feel you’re in Istanbul!
The cosy atmosphere offers co-working tables with delicious coffee and excellent service. There’s also a smaller top floor, great for people watching.
Coffees brewed three ways (Aeropress, Chemex and Kalita Wave), golden latte, flat white, black eye, piccolo, etc are on offer. Moreover, they have a great selection of herbal teas, cold drinks and desserts/cookies include fruit biscotti, sugar-free muffins and even a vegan option.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 7.30 am AND 9.30 PM (opens at 9.30 am on weekends)
ADDRESS: 42 maslak, Maslak Mah., Ahi Evran Cd. No:6 D:171, Sarıyer/İstanbul, 34398 Sariyer/İstanbul
metro STOP: İtü-Ayazağa İstasyonu, Atatürk Oto Sanayi
6. Coffeetopia Bahariye
Situated very close to the Kadıköy’s bull statue, this four-storey coffee shop has great coffee, baked goods and amazing vibes. Each floor has views over Bahariye as the Nostalgic Tram crawls past. As such, it could be your choice to spend the day away or get some work done here. What’s more, on the fourth floor, there’s even a library and a study area.
In Coffeetopia, there is a long list of brewing techniques offered, such as their 18-hour cold brew, Chemex, V60 or Ristretto. In addition to their amazing coffees, their herbal teas and lemonade are also worth trying! Make it a meal with some good sandwiches or wraps, or opt for snacks such as cookies.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 8 am AND 10 PM
ADDRESS: Osmanağa, General Asım Gündüz Cd. No:11, 34713 Kadıköy/İstanbul
TRAMWAY STOP: Kadıköy
7. Sunday Coffee Bar
Situated in Teşvikiye, close to the popular neighbourhood Nişantaşı, you’ll find Sunday Coffee Bar with its retro, colourful decor.
Julius Meinl coffee in all its Viennese varieties can be found here, smooth jazz in the background accompanies you as you enjoy the atmosphere with friends or otherwise, choose to work. On the coffee menu, in the hot coffee section, you’ll find cortado, Franziskaner, almond and mint latte and a syphon. For their cold coffee, they’ve got some interesting options: cold coffee with chilli, frozen pumpkin and frozen Turkish coffee! Other beverages such as salep, tomato juice, Arnold Palmer, herbal teas and smoothies are also on offer here. If you love Julius Meinl products, they’ve capsules, ground and whole beans and even their coffee cups with the logo!
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 7.30 PM AND 10 PM
ADDRESS: Teşvikiye Mahallesi, Ahmet Fetgari Sk. 44/B, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul
funicular/metro STOP: maçka/osmanbey
8. Story Coffee
With two locations, Story Coffee offers up some amazing historical and nostalgic vibes with its motto: “coffee, food, friends”. In Moda, you’ve got an ivy-covered building with outdoor seating and in Yeldeğirmeni, there’s a roastery and a back patio/garden with seating and an industrial vibe.
Along with their single source coffees which includes matcha latte (not many places have it!), affogato, v60 pour-over and a “dirty” chai latte, the place also offers delicious bagels, pancakes and loose-leaf tea. For food, their California breakfast burrito and chicken-pesto sandwich stand out on the menu. If you want to take the stuff home, they offer cold brews and take-away desserts.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 9 AM AND 10/11 PM (some days, the
yeldeğirmeni location opens at 7.30 AM, closes at 11 pm)
ADDRESS: Caferağa, Dalga Sk. No:22, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
TRAMWAY/ferry/metro STOP: moda ilkokulu/Kadıköy
Since it opened in 2012, Çekirdek is loved by the locals and is a small cute shop and micro-roastery in Moda on the Asian side of Istanbul. Their self-roasted coffee is much loved, as well as its owner Tunca Özgürer.
The coffees on offer go well with the small desserts, cakes and sandwiches. For example, their flat white is one of the best on this side of Istanbul. With only around 5 tables available, it gets busy quickly but there’s also take away available. Not having a big social media presence, this coffee shop enjoys its reputation via its customers probably through word-of-mouth.
OPENING HOURS: YOU CAN VISIT BETWEEN 6.30 AM AND 5.30 PM (closed on weekends)
ADDRESS: Caferağa, Şair Latifi Sk. No:9, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
TRAMWAY/ferry/metro STOP: moda ilkokulu/Kadıköy
10. Montag Coffee/Espresso Bar
Its motto to offer “clarity” and allow the coffee beans to stand out, the company is committed to cooperation and collaboration between farmers, green seed traders, roasters, baristas, investors, operators and consumers. Sleek and minimal is what comes to mind when you head to the Montag coffee shops, but their coffee offerings are also limited: a few specialty and premium varieties.
This is a great place to get some work done, especially on its first-floor balcony in Kadıköy. Moreover, it’s the attention to detail and the coffee beans that make Montag stand out. On their website, you can find a Hario Buona Kettle, a V60, a cold brew bottle as well as a Delter Press on sale.