If you’ve been in Istanbul for more than a couple of hours it’s probably not news to you that this city has a serious coffee culture. With endless options, finding the best coffee shops in Istanbul is no easy feat. That’s why I’ve gone straight to the source, a local barista that’s passionate about the beans.
Nestled in the heart of Istanbul’s vibrant Karaköy Neighbourhood is Coffee Orient, a coffee house that stands above for the quality of its coffee. The man behind the shop is Mehmet Essiz, a local barista turned shop owner. Here he shares his tips on where to sip the best coffee in the city.
Meet Mehmet Essiz and Coffee Orient
Mehmet got into the coffee scene directly after graduating high school. He wasn’t sold on the idea of college, so he got a job as a barista instead. He quickly fell in love with coffee. It wasn’t long before he realized the sheer magnitude of the coffee industry in Istanbul. The opportunities seemed endless, he knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life.
After working at a small shop, he moved into a barista position at Turkey’s most famous coffee chain, Espresso lab, where he worked his way up to manager. In 2019 he decided to open his own place with the help of his brother.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Coffee Orient. The vision and the shop came to life just before the pandemic forced the city to shut down. After doing takeaway only for the better part of a year, they found out that the rent on the building had more than doubled so they decided to close.
However, luck was on his side. The owner of the chicken shop next door to Coffee Orient recognized Mehmet and Coffee Orients’ potential. He called Essiz and made an offer to move Coffee Orient into his location.
They closed down the chicken shop and got to work. Today they are a thriving partnership and Coffee Orient has reclaimed its place as one of the best coffee houses in Istanbul.
Find Coffee Orient at Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Dericiler Sk. No:6, 34000 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Open Daily from 7 am to 1 am
Coffee Orient on Instagram
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While Essiz lives and breathes Coffee Orient, he’s no stranger to other establishments. When he’s not at his cafe, he’s often be found sipping a double espresso at various cafes around the city. He’s our go-to person for finding the best beans in town.
Here are his top picks:
Spada Coffee & Roasters
Where minimal design meets great coffee — Spada is the gathering place for creative types in Istanbul. The coffee house roasts its beans to perfection at its Tesvikiye St. location in Nisantasi. It doesn’t take a coffee expert to know that Spada is one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
Alongside their artisanal coffee, they also offer an equally exquisite menu of delicious and healthy bites. They have 3 Locations: Teşvikiye, Fişekhane, and Suadiye, all of which are equally beautiful and worthy of a visit.
Kava Coffee Roasters
Don’t be fooled by the small size of the shop, this speciality coffee spot isn’t messing around. Kava Coffee is located on a quieter street in Karaköy (around the corner from Coffee Orient) and is a perfect place to stop for a coffee and a Tahini Roll or Bagel Sandwiches.
The Baristas are always friendly and knowledgeable about what they are brewing. The second floor of the shop is a perfect spot for remote work on their long desk-like table that’s pushed against the window overlooking the street.
This coffee shop wants you to Ask Stupid Questions. That’s their motto and their Instagram handle, so don’t be afraid to walk right in and ask anything you’ve ever wondered about coffee.
They call themselves a part of “third wave coffee” referring to the modern ways of brewing coffee, or for what most of us know as artisianal coffee culture, and one of the reasons why their one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
The baristas are trained on every brewing apparatus from a french press to a Chemex. Alongside learning about the history of coffee and its culture. It’s a place that is truly passionate about what they do. They have three locations all located on the Asian side of Istanbul. If you’re looking for a coffee shop to work from their Yeldeğirmeni location is spacious with a lot of tables.
Story Coffee Roasters
This roaster makes some mean espresso, but while many come for the coffee, they stay for the cinnamon rolls — at least that’s my experience.
All jokes aside, Story Coffee’s mission was to create a place where people could gather and enjoy some quality time together. They hit the nail on the head, especially at their cozy Moda location which is easily one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul. The brick and wood interiors make you want to nestle in and stay forever.
Montag means Monday in German, which makes it an apt name for a coffee roaster. This Istanbul-based coffee house’s main goal is to achieve “taste clarity” that allows its customers to fully experience the clean, bright, aromatic, and sweet tastes of their beans.
Each of their 3 locations have clean and minimal designs that somehow act as magnet to draw in interesting people. Their Moda Espresso Bar location is on the perfect street for sitting with a Cortado and watching the fashionable Istanbulers walk by.