Brewing methods galore at Drip Coffeeist

On January 3, Drip Coffeeist opened its newest location in Asmalımescit, in the heart of Beyoğlu. My first trip to Drip Coffeeist was a visit to its original location right off of Bağdat Caddesi. My friend Fatma introduced me to Drip Coffeeist’s cold drip and brownies and I was won over.

A new location in Asmalımescit means all the goodness of the original location is now more easily accessible for those of us living on the European side. Drip Coffeeist’s diehard customers had encouraged, in fact, pushed the owners to open another location on the European side. And when your first coffee shop is as successful as Drip Coffeeist’s, why not?

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Wall art at Drip Coffeeist in Asmalımescit

Like most coffee shops in Istanbul, customers have a variety of brewing systems to choose from, but unlike the other shops, Drip Coffeeist has perhaps the largest selection of different brewing methods. Imagine my surprise when the owner pointed out a brewing system I had never seen before.

That’s right, I’m talking about the Belgian syphon, not to be confused with the Japanese syphon, which is commonly referred to as the syphon in Istanbul’s third wave coffee shops. The Belgian syphon, or Royal Belgian Coffee Maker is – like its name – very royal-looking. Unlike the vertical Japanese syphon, the Belgian one works through a balance mechanism (for the full details, click here)  With a short brew time, the historical device is perfect for those who prefer a stronger body without the wait. Drip Coffeeist was one of the very first to use the king of coffee makers in Istanbul and so far, it’s the only coffee shop I am familiar with that is currently offering this brewing mechanism.

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The king of coffee makers

In the summer, the drink of choice at Drip Coffeeist is the cold brew, and it is indeed, very good; after all, it’s the drink that peaked my interest in interviewing Drip Coffeeist. The baristas at Drip brew their cold drip in the Kyoto-style meaning water drips drop by drop down the chambers to saturate the coffee grounds (for more details, click here). The process is extremely time intensive but the end product is worth it. Bottles of freshly brewed cold coffee can be purchased from Drip Coffeeist’s cold case and taken home to enjoy.

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Japanese-style cold brew mechanism

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Grab & go cold brew

If this all seems rather overwhelming, the baristas are happy to give customers a short briefing on the various beans and brewing methods in order to help them select the best combination. While chatting with the owner, I had a feeling that if you attempted all the varieties of beans and roasting methods, you would never be able to get through them all, and yet he reassured me that after 3 or 4 tries, most people find the perfect combination for their taste.

Drip Coffeeist uses single-origin beans, purchased in green bean form from suppliers in Istanbul. The beans are then roasted at Drip Coffeist’s Bağdat Caddesi location according to the particular brewing methods they will be used for. This process ensures that Drip Coffeeist controls and oversees the entire process, from green bean to the customer’s coffee cup. The best beans? El Salvador for espresso and Sumatra for brewing.

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Choose the beans for your perfect cup

So there you have it, go pick out your perfect combo at Drip Coffeeist. I tried a pour over with the Ethiopian beans and it was delish.

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Visit Drip Coffeeist in Asmalımescit

Drip Coffeeist’s Asmalımescit location can easily be reached from Tünel, Şişhane metro, or Istiklal Caddesi, and is located on the same street as the Adahan Hotel.

Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi,General Yazgan Sokak, No 9/A, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

Twins Coffee Roasters, bringing latte art and the flat white to Istanbul

The place: Twins Coffee Roasters 
The offerings: latte, cappuccino, espresso, filter coffee, Turkish coffee, and more
Price range: 4-8 TL
The pros: A real cup of coffee in the center of Istanbul complete with freshly ground espresso and lovely latte art
The cons: The location is a bit strange but must be a hit with the nearby consulates


Twins Coffee Roasters had only been open for 5-6 weeks and I already had it on my list of my places to-go. Instead of celebrating Çocuk Bayramı (Children’s Holiday) on April 23 like everyone else in Turkey, Gürkan and I headed up to Gümüşsuyu to try out Twins. An easy walk from either Beşiktaş or Taksim, it’s located right next to the Asker Hastanesi on Gümüşsuyu Caddesi.

We were somewhat surprised to see the place mostly empty, but then again it was a national holiday and trying out Istanbul’s newest coffeeshop probably wasn’t on most family’s Çocuk Bayramı to-do list. We walked inside and met Yosrie who whipped up a beautiful flat white and macchiato for us. Both drinks were undeniably delicious and  I was reminded of the down-to-earth, no-frills coffee shops at home where the coffee speaks for itself. Yosrie, originally from Cape Town, was also extremely personable and didn’t mind me snapping pics and asking him questions about the cafe. 

The day was warm and sunny so we enjoyed our drinks outside. Despite the great weather, I hesitated momentarily. With  a coffee bar along the wall and a large wooden picnic-style table in the middle, the one room cafe had a great feel to it. I could definitely see myself whiling away the time here reading, blogging, or catching up with friends. Yosrie even mentioned the possibility of opening another cafe in Beşiktaş, and if so, I’d certainly become a regular.

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Twins Coffee Roasters

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Serving up a variety of espresso drinks including the ‘flat white’

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Simple furnishings & vibrant accents

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Lovely latte art from Yosrie

How to get there: From Taksim Square, take Gümüşsuyu Caddesi past the German Consulate. Turn left as you get to the Asker Hastanesi and you’ll find Twins on the left-hand side of Miralay Şefik Bey Sokak.

 

Tasting adventures at the Istanbul Culinary Institute

The place: Istanbul Culinary Institute
The offerings: mezes, main dishes, desserts, drinks
Price range: 22-28 TL for a main dish (we ordered off the February evening menu)
The pros: good service, nice atmosphere, great variety
The cons: A bit of a tourist destination


Although Friday was Valentine’s Day for most couples, we were celebrating Gurkan’s birthday since he had been on a business trip over his special day. I was really worried that all the restaurants would be booked and when I left work, I still hadn’t made a reservation. We were going back and forth about where to go (Gurkan mentioned Canim Cigerim, and I told him we should go somewhere a bit more special for the occasion), so I suggested that we check out the Istanbul Culinary Institute. Gurkan had called earlier and no one had picked up so I feared the worst – that they would be swamped with starstruck couples.

Luckily, they weren’t. We walked in and the host was able to find us a seat tucked away by the bar. Perhaps, not a prime spot by other people’s standards it actually turned out to be quite nice because we were able to ask for wine recommendations from the bartenders. We also had the back corner all to ourselves which saved us the misery of sitting next to the overzealous, extremely loud tables of American tourists (not resident foreigners – we learn to keep our voices down) sitting in the front of the restaurant.

Everything on the menu looked absolutely delicious. Right when we sat down, the waiter brought a selection of bread with olive oil. Gurkan couldn’t get enough of the corn bread and kept saying how great it was – coming from someone from the Black Sea that is quite a compliment! For our appetizer, we chose a meze plate with ezme (spicy side salad), hummus, beet salad, potato with dill, sarma (stuffed grape leaves), and salmon. Everything  was unbelievably tasty especially the hummus and ezme. Although old favorites, there were prepared so well and different enough that it was as if we were trying them for the first time. Honestly, I think the hummus was one of the best I’ve ever had – it was very thick and not oily at all. The sarma were of the sweet variety  and perfectly seasoned. The salmon was spot on. Each spoonful was a completely new tasting experience.

For the main meal, Gurkan chose the lamb karsky – a lamb dish topped with a lamb kidney served with bulgar pilav and roasted eggplant puree. I opted for the duck in pomegranate sauce with roasted potatoes and caramelized apples. I had a hard time deciding between that and the lamb stew with quince which also sounded delectable. We both ended up being extremely pleased with our selections. I did think the duck was a bit salty but  tasty nonetheless. It made me nostalgic for all the great duck places in Portland (duck fat fries at Duck Fat & duck nachos at Grace)! Gurkan absolutely loved the lamb kidney and said it was the best part of the whole dish. Although I refrained from trying the kidney, I thought the lamb steak was cooked nicely (was that a little bit of pink I saw?) and the roasted eggplant puree was out of this world.

The service was quite good – the waiters weren’t overly attentive, but most importantly, we never felt pressured to hurry up which is often the case in Istanbul. We continued sipping our wine long after we finished our main dishes and probably could have stayed there all night had we not decided to move on.

The place is perfect for a special occasion and I’d definitely recommend ordering an appetizer ahead of time if you’re tummy is hungry! They have dessert too – I’m already looking forward to trying the homemade rose and fig ice cream next time I visit.

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Meze platter – a taster’s paradise

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Duck with pomegranate sauce, potatoes, apples

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Lamb steak with kidney, eggplant puree, bulgar pilav

The Istanbul Culinary Institute also offers recreational cooking classes. How fun would that be!?

 

What’s coming next?

Thanks to everyone who has given me such great feedback on my blog! This week has been full of activity, but I am hoping to get a few more reviews posted over the weekend.

Here are the restaurants/cafes/pubs  I have visited in the past few weeks that I am still planning to write reviews on:

Kunefis – Besiktas

Pando Kaymak – Besiktas

Asim Usta doner – Besiktas

Sur Ocakbasi – Fatih

45lik – Beyoglu

Cukurcuma 49 – Beyoglu

Tarhun Lokanta – Kadikoy

Fazil Bey’s – Kadikoy

Cimdik Manti – Levent

Some of my colleagues recommended me a few more, so I am hoping that this weekend is full of new discoveries.

Please help me add to my list by posting some names of your favorite restaurants in the comments section. I’ll give you a shout out in my review!

Liver it up at Canım Ciğerim

I thought I’d start the blog off right with one of our favorite standbys, Canım Ciğerim, in Asmalımescit right off of İstiklal Caddesi. Take the metro to Şişhane and you’re only a five minute walk away. Check out the map below:

Featured in the book İstanbul Arka Sokak Lezzetleri (I think there is also an English edition available), this restaurant has been reviewed time and again, so there’s really not much more I can say about it, other than go there! Famous for its ciğer (liver), Canım Ciğerim also offers a chicken or meat option for those not keen on liver, myself included. The portions are quite large, so you can also opt for the half portion. All meals are served with a spread of mezzes including parsley, mint, raw onions with sumac, lemons, pickled peppers, ezme, and friend onions and peppers. Lavaş (flat bread) is perfect for grabbing the meat off the skewers and wrapping it up with all the fixins.’

The only drawback? We went on New Year’s Day, and as usual, the place was busy. The waiters seemed a bit stretched and we didn’t get our second plate of fried onions we ordered until we were almost finished with the meal.

2 meals & 2 ayrans were a little over 40 TL. Not terrible considering the location. Our bellies were full and Gurkan’s craving for liver quenched. Mission complete!

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Street view of Canim Cigerim on Minare Sokagi

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Gurkan eyeing his liver

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The spread at Canim Cigerim