I’ve been living in Istanbul for awfully close to a year now, and in that time I’ve only had awful espresso in this city, which I otherwise so dearly love. The two basic options are international chains such as Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, and Cafe Nero and more touristy Italian knock-offs, poorly emulating an approach to espresso I don’t like in the first place. I would rather drink a Türk Kahvesi at a traditional kahve evi or stay home and make a V60, but neither satisfy my desire for good espresso in a warm environment.
Consequentially, I was skeptical but curious when a friend gave me a tip about a micro-roastery/cafe near the Galata Tower.
Cherrybean Coffees is on a quaint side street in Galata, a neighborhood that’s popular with tourists and local Bohemians alike. The interior has all of the neighborhood’s charm with a full length bay window along one wall and vintage ibriks and cezves strewn about the shop. When I walked in I immediately noticed the roaster behind the bar. The espresso had a pleasant body with nice chocolate notes, although it was a little roasty/bitter. I’m skeptical that a good cappucino can be made with the boxed milk popular here, but Seth’s was pretty close. It wasn’t exactly microfoam, but the espresso blend tasted nice in milk.
The most encouraging part of my visit was my conversation with Barış, the roaster, and one of the baristas. I mentioned that I’ve been looking for some good coffee for some time, when the barista explained in Turkish, “well coffee needs to be freshly roasted, but no one is serving freshly roasted coffee in Istanbul.” It was then I noticed, and immediately loved, the motto on all their cups “şehirde taze kahve var” (there’s fresh coffee in the city). Barış explained he only roasts small batches every couple of days, depending on demand, to ensure all their coffee is fresh.
I’ll definitely be coming back here.