Turkish Coffee Lady

I have Turkish ancestors and thought it would be fun to write a story on Turkish Coffee. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area please support Turkish Coffee Lady!

Turkish Coffee Lady

Everyone likes a Cup of Joe in the morning, but why not try something with a stronger, bolder taste? Introducing Turkish Coffee Lady- America’s first gourmet Turkish Coffee Shop located inside Tysons Corner Center on the ground floor of the Lord and Taylor Court.

Turkish Coffee is made from high quality Arabica coffee beans from Central America and Brazil that are blended and carefully roasted, then very finely ground. The coffee is mixed with water and the desired amount of sugar and cooked in a “cezve”, or Turkish coffeepot. The coffee is served in small cups. The coffee is unfiltered and must be left to stand for a short time after serving to allow the grounds to settle at the bottom of the cup.

Founder and CEO Gizem Salcigil White is a Turkish American woman entrepreneur who fell in love with sharing Turkish culture with Americans when she came to America from Ankara to get her masters in Global Marketing Communications. White wanted to work on branding Turkish culture and started a food truck selling Turkish Coffee in DC in May of 2011. It was a success and she was able to fundraise $60,000 from community members.

“Our food truck became popular and we began touring New York and then Europe with a group of volunteers,” she says. “For five years we travelled across America-visiting college campuses- Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Canada.”

Her work has been featured in many major news outlets including The Washington Post, Washingtonian, PRI/BBC, and Turkish media. She was even honored by the U.S. Congress in May 2012 for fostering friendship between Turkish and American people through their mutual love for coffee.

After the tour ended White made enough money to open up her store in Tysons last December. Nearly everything on the menu is imported from Turkey. I tried the Turkish coffee with a Turkish Kadayif and Turkish Delight, while a staff member and friend of White read my fortune. This is done after you finish your coffee and flip it over face-down n the saucer. The coffee marks in the cup are then “read” by an experienced fortune teller or a woman gifted in reading you/

Turkish Coffee Lady has complimentary readings every Sunday. They also cater events in the DC area. As a woman owned business, White tries to empower and educate women through other projects such as Breast Cancer Awareness fundraisers.

“It’s hard starting a business as a woman,” she says, adding that people didn’t take her seriously initially. “I ran into things like delayed orders or brush-offs. Now my biggest supporters are women who say they want to start their own business.”

Turkish coffee has a 500-year old history, an inspiring culture, and rich traditions. It is the world’s oldest coffee brewing method. The first coffee house was opened in Istanbul in the 16th century. Turks introduced coffee, prepared their way to Europe, and later it came to the Americas. Coffee plants reached the New World during the early18th century, though the drink wasn’t really popular in America until the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when making the switch from tea to coffee became something of a patriotic duty. Istanbul was introduced to coffee in 1517 by Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Yemen, who had grown to love the drink while stationed in that country.

Turkish Coffee Lady will host its first anniversary event at the shop on November 17th. Come out and enjoy the celebration!

To learn more about Turkish Coffee Lady, please contact Ms. Gizem Salcigil White at 202-492-4429 or gwhite@turkishcoffeelady.com

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