The Ritual of Turkish Coffee
The Ritual of Turkish Coffee
As a pioneer of Turkish coffee culture on a global scale, Selamlique aims to preserve the age-old ritual of coffee-drinking with gourmet coffee blends and unique designs. The founder Caroline Koç shares the exceptional story behind the brand.
Where and when did your passion for coffee begin? How was Selamlique born?
Coffee is not just coffee in Turkish culture. It has a lot of rituals and traditions, blending respect and friendship in a harmonious way. These values mean so much to me. We make new friends over coffee. We celebrate with coffee, and we catch-up with dear ones over coffee. We even make peace over coffee. Therefore, we may not think about this in our daily routine, however coffee is a significant part of our lives.
As for Selamlique Turkish Coffee, our brand name derives from the selamlık part of old Turkish mansions and palaces. These were the sections of the house where visitors were greeted, meetings were held, and guests entertained. Separated from the harem, the more private sections of the house, selamlık is named after the word selam, which means greeting.
Selamlique focuses on products with traditions deeply rooted in the Ottoman and old Turkish culture, combining tradition with innovation. When we chose our brand name, we aimed to draw attention to the socializing force of Turkish coffee, a drink generally accompanied by conversation, and producing coffee blends from the highest quality Arabica beans.
Is there any special mission to introduce the deeply rooted Turkish coffee culture to other countries? What is the inspiration behind that?
Turkish coffee is an essential part of our culture with its characteristic taste, foamy texture and aroma. From its hundreds of years old history to the wonderful traditions and rituals related with the way it is served, Turkish coffee offers an extraordinary world for coffee lovers everywhere to explore.
Turkish coffee has a good reputation throughout the world, however it is not easily accessible. When we created Selamlique, we had this dream to bring Turkish coffee to coffee lovers around the world. For this reason, together with Arçelik we developed the first ever Turkish coffee machine working with capsules. We wanted to carry the taste of Turkish coffee in every corner of the world, offering an option for an easier preparation method with the capsule coffee machine. Today, we are proud that this culture has been expanding rapidly in many countries.
How does Selamlique interpret the developments in the sustainable coffee market?
We believe that the economic sustainability of the coffee industry is closely linked to the social sustainability of communities around the world. The coffee sector is valued at around $200-250 billion a year at the retail level, according to the Coffee Barometer report. However, producing countries receive less than 10% of that value when exporting beans, and farmers even less. We need to have a sustainable coffee culture by encouraging innovation throughout the entire supply chain, both as part of the manufacturing process and resulting products as well as encouraging sustainable practices in origin countries. At Selamlique, we have been working towards a circular economy, driving responsible sourcing practices and supporting the long-term resilience of coffee farming.
What is your approach to deeply rooted coffee culture and also to 3rd generation coffee?
Turkish coffee is an essential part of our culture but as Turkey opened up to international markets, Turkish people started to try a wider range of different coffees. Cafés and restaurants also started to serve these products because they are easier to cook relative to Turkish coffee. In the last 20 years, some international coffee chains have sprouted up in Turkey. They offered different coffee types, along with Turkish coffee and drastically changed consumer behavior. The growth of the 3rd wave coffee stores in recent years has also expanded the coffee market and the coffee tradition has become more mainstream in big cities in Turkey.
Selamlique has become a brand that preserves and keeps Turkish coffee alive with its ritual and presentation. We created a sophisticated identity for Turkish coffee that is rooted in these lands but also speaks to the world as a whole product with its natural aroma, packaging, cooking and serving. I believe that we have achieved significant success by producing and presenting high quality Turkish coffees in an elegant way, while promoting it on a global scale.
Can you explain your infusion process? Which coffee beans do you prefer?
Our finely ground coffee is cooked in the pot, and a certain amount of time is allowed for it to sink to the bottom of the small service cup. Turkish coffee is preferably sipped slowly, without a hurry, and served with sugar or without sugar, together with a glass of water and a small piece of Turkish delight. If sugar is preferred, it must be added whilst cooking the coffee. Turkish coffee works well with different natural flavors, and can be blended without losing its signature taste. Selamlique has brand new Turkish coffee blends such as mastic from the Aegean, cardamom from Southeast Asia, cinnamon, Turkish rose and orange, offering appetizing choices for those adventurous enough to try new blends.
What is next for Selamlique?
Selamlique has been growing steadily since its foundation in 2009. It has 15 stores and sales points in Turkey and internationally. We also export Turkish coffee to over 20 countries. Selamlique products are also sold in many international chain stores, including Harrods, our first international store partner since 2010. We will continue with our domestic and international expansion as planned. Our goal is to increase the number of sales points both in Turkey and on a global scale, promoting Turkish coffee and its decades-long tradition throughout the world.