In Istanbul, you can see how the East and the West collide with each other and how the past coexists with the present. But Istanbul pulls off what seems like an impossible balancing act. There is something for everyone in this culturally rich city, whether you’re seeking a cup of authentic Turkish coffee or a special mix of Turkish tea.
The coffee culture in Istanbul is integral to daily life in the City of Seven Hills and plays a fundamental role in the city’s identity. In Istanbul, coffee is one of many treasured traditions. This essay will show you that there is a wide variety of amazing cafés in Istanbul, so you can choose one that suits your taste and style. First, however, let’s back up a little and establish why Istanbul is so renowned for its cafés.
Coffee culture and history of coffee in Istanbul
Istanbul has Europe’s oldest coffee culture tradition. The locals of Istanbul had been brewing and enjoying coffee for at least a century before the rest of Africa had ever seen coffee beans. When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, they brought coffee beans and the city’s long history of making the beverage with them to Istanbul.
Turkish coffee, prepared in style popularized by Istanbul, has been consumed in the city from at least the 5th century A.D. The coffee is brewed by combining it with water and “boiling” it in a pot set over hot sand until a thin layer of froth forms on top. Coffee in Istanbul is traditionally served with a glass of water, a sugar cube, and a Turkish delight.
There is another significant component of Istanbuli coffee culture that involves the sludge left behind after you’ve finished your cup of joe: fortune telling. Many Turkish women claim to be able to read the mug’s possible numbers with a high “hit rate” in terms of their accuracy in predicting a person’s past, present, and future.
The argument over whether to drink coffee or tea never ends in Istanbul. Tea and coffee seem to be drunk at around the same rates and in similar quantities throughout the nation. When you enter a Turkish house or establishment, you will likely be offered a cup of tea or coffee as a sign of hospitality. This is customary and in no way requires you to make a purchase.
Top 16 coffee shops in Istanbul
Here are 16 of the best cafés in Istanbul, each with a unique personality and ambiance that will make you want to stay forever.
- Coffee Sapiens
- MOC Nisantasi
- Sirin Firin Cafe & Bakery
- Walter’s Coffee Roastery
- Salt Galata
- Brew Coffeeworks
- Petra Roasting Co.
- Coffee Department
- Incir Agaci Kahvesi
- Cup of Joy
- Balat Antik Café
- Kybele Hotel & Café
Karakoy, one of the most visited areas of Istanbul, is home to Coffee Sapiens, a coffee shop founded by two coffee connoisseurs with the goal of bringing Istanbul’s best coffee to the city’s locals. The coffee beans used in the café’s coffee are purchased from all over the world, and the café roasts them in-house, often experimenting with new roasting techniques to improve the quality of an already excellent brew. Two of their most popular drinks are the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Evolution Blend.
Many new restaurants and hotels have been built in the Karakoy area since Galataport, the new Istanbul Cruise Port, opened there. Coffee Sapiens has been around for a while, making it not only one of the oldest cafes in the area but also one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
- Address: Kemankeş paşa, Kılıç Ali Paşa Mescidi Sk. No:10 D:C, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 8 AM to 10 PM.
MOC Nişantaş is widely considered to be one of Istanbul’s best coffee shops. If you’re in the mood for some of the best coffee in Istanbul, look no further than this family-run business, which has been serving customers for three generations. They operate a total of 15 locations in Turkey, 12 of which are in Istanbul.
MOC Istanbul has many convenient locations across the city, including Bomonti, Nisantasi, Gayrettepe, Osmanbey, and Topagaci. Within the confines of the Sisli district, you’ll find all of these communities. They are, nevertheless, a short distance from Taksim Square.
A variety of unique drinks may be found at this coffee establishment. Coffee connoisseurs may try something new at MOC with their coconut latte. They like to flavor their coffee with cinnamon and coconut. If you’re looking to broaden your coffee horizons, MOC Istanbul is a solid choice.
- Address: Teşvikiye Mah, Şakayık Sk. No: 4/A, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Monday to Saturday from 7:30 AM to 11:30 PM. Sundays from 10 AM to 11:30 PM.
Coffeetopia is one of the best cafés in Istanbul, and it’s conveniently located near the historic Spice Bazaar. The coffee served at this cafe is known for being “single estate coffee,” which refers to beans that were harvested by a single grower on a single property and then delivered to the shop to be roasted and ground. Genuine coffee enthusiasts will instantly feel at home at Coffeetopia.
- Address: Hobyar, Arpacılar Cd. No:4, 34112 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 7:30 AM to 10 PM.
Montag is, without a doubt, one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul. Montag is a café where producing coffee is treated like a science, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that their coffee is top-notch.
Even the coffee water is something they make themselves. They don’t use bottled or filtered water; instead, they distill their own and supplement it with sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, and magnesium sulfate to ensure that the most vital components of their roasted coffee are extracted and bring out their full taste in each cup.
- Address: Caferağa, Muvakkıthane Cd. No:16/A D:Kat:1, 34710, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 11 PM. Sundays from 10 AM to 9 PM.
Sirin Firin Cafe & Bakery
The ultimate hidden treasure, this café near the Galata Tower and one of the busiest avenues in Istanbul serves up some of the city’s best pastries and is adorned in bright, cheery colors. Pastries aren’t the only thing Sirin Firin is known for; their handmade jams, cakes, and quiches are also as well-liked.
Sirin Firin Café & Bakery has a wide variety of pastries, cakes, and Turkish treats.
With its convenient hours (open in the morning and staying open until the wee hours of the night), this café is perfect for both early birds and night owls.
- Address: Şahkulu, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:16/A, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 6 AM to 12 AM.
Because it was one of the earliest third-wave coffee shops in the city, Kronotrop has earned its place on our list of the top cafes in Istanbul. Its first cafe launched in 2012, and there are now 14 locations around the Country. The café is well-known for its friendly staff (among the best in Istanbul), wonderful coffee and food, and calm environment.
Kronotop only imports the highest quality coffee beans, which are harvested at the optimal moment. That’s why they’re revered so highly in the coffee community. Kronotop has established a large number of popular cafés around the city.
- Address: Kuloğlu, Firuzağa Cami Sk. No:2/B, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 10 PM. Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 10:30 PM.
Walter’s Coffee Roastery
As far as we know, Walter’s Coffee Roastery is the first cafe (or should we say laboratory) to be styled after Breaking Bad. The hazmat suits, periodic table of elements, and coffee-making mechanism will all make you feel like you’re in a true laboratory since they were all designed with the legendary T.V. episodes in mind. The café is known for its excellent coffee and the delicious breakfast and pastries it provides on the weekends.
You will look at the hazmat suits, the coffee-making machinery, and the massive periodic chart of chemical elements before you place your order and pick a table. Fans of Breaking Bad and those who like themed cafes will have a great time here.
- Address: Caferağa, Bademaltı Sk. No:21, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 10 AM to 11 PM.
Salt Galata is more than simply a café, and its central location in Istanbul makes it easy to see why the phrase “most renowned café in Istanbul” is often used to describe it. Students, professors, researchers, and traveling workers may all benefit from Salt Galata’s combination of a cultural center, library, and café.
The structure that now houses the café was originally constructed in 1892 as the headquarters of the Imperial Ottoman Bank and was built by French Levantine architect Alexandre Vallauri. You can probably see why it is considered one of the best cafes in Istanbul.
- Address: Azapkapı, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Tuesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 7 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Brew Coffeeworks is another wonderful café in an Ottoman structure that dates back a century and is created by Mimar Kemalettin, a renowned Turkish architect whose work can be seen on the reverse of the 20 Lira bill. This coffee shop is among the best cafés in Istanbul.
Surprisingly, this café serves what is likely the greatest Italian coffee in all of Istanbul, rather than Turkish coffee. Brew Coffeeworks is the ideal spot to recharge your batteries after a day of wandering the cobblestone streets of the Old City.
- Address: Hobyar, Hamidiye Cd. No:16, 34112 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 7:30 AM to 11 PM.
Petra Roasting Co.
Known for having some of the best coffee in Istanbul, Petra Roasting Company has six locations across the city, and it is one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul. All of the single-origin coffees on offer are roasted and prepared in-house by Petra Roasting Company, which begins with green beans imported from across the world. Seasonal coffees, filter coffees, and unusual teas like Spice tea and Matcha tea may be found among the standard coffees and teas.
- Address: Gayrettepe, Hoşsohbet Sokaği Selenium Residence D:Mağaza 1, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM. Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 AM to 7 PM.
If we were to compile a list of the top cafés in Istanbul, Coffee Department would have to be included. Two coffee enthusiasts set out to create Istanbul’s finest coffee shop, and what they began is now one of the city’s most popular and highly regarded businesses. This high-end cafe serves not only excellent coffee but also sells whole beans, ground coffee, and all the tools you need to start your own coffee shop.
- Address: Ayvansaray, Kürkçü Çeşmesi Sk. No:5, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM. Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM.
Incir Agaci Kahvesi
Colorful café enthusiasts will feel right at home at Incir Agaci Kahvesi. This cafe, one of the most colorful in Istanbul, can be found in the center of Balat, one of the city’s most bohemian areas, and it is one of the best cafés in Istanbul. It’s known as a cool hangout since the inside is painted in every shade of the rainbow (and beyond), and the courtyard is decked up with colorful umbrellas. Tea, coffee, pastries, and a selection of meze appetizers are also available.
- Address: Balat, Merdivenli Mektep Sk. No:1, 34000 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 9 AM to 12 AM.
F’ROSS is one of the most photogenic cafes in Istanbul and one of its best coffee shops. Coffee, tea, and chocolate are served in a mystical pink room framed by flowers. The food may be small, but visitors come for the fancy decor, which includes pink velvet chairs and dishes. Boxed flowers are also available if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind memento.
That coffeehouse in Istanbul seems like it might have been pulled straight from Instagram. However, this is just the beginning. Delicious rose-flavored desserts, drinks, and snacks are also available.
- Address: Arnavutköy, Bebek Arnavutköy Cd No:26/A, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Cup of Joy
When it comes to Istanbul’s third-wave coffee scene, Cup of Joy is an innovator. The café is well known for its blends, but they also provide excellent single-origin coffees served in a variety of ways. The café’s menu also includes a few vegan options and some amazing gluten-free pastries. Although Cup of Joy now has five locations around Istanbul, the original shop in Bebek is where it’s at, and it is one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
- Address: Bebek Cevdetpaşa Caddesi Yasemin Pasajı, D:53/5, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 7 AM to 5 PM.
Balat Antik Café
Balat Antik is a fashionable café in one of the city’s trendiest areas, and it is one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul. The umbrella canopy and the seats within the café are both bright and vivid. On the other hand, that’s not the last chapter. The bright and lively atmosphere of this outdoor café extends to the food on the menu.
- Address: Balat Mh. Vodina Cd, Sancaktar Ykş. No:6, 34087 Fatih, Türkiye.
- Timings: every day from 8 AM to 11 PM.
Kybele Hotel & Café
Kybele is one of the best-known hotels in the Sultanahmet area, although the café inside is far more well-known, and it is one of the best cafés in Istanbul. Kybele is a popular restaurant among both residents and guests because of its stunning natural patio and lively Ottoman-style décor, which is furnished with vintage Turkish lights. The equally stunning meal doesn’t disappoint, either. A selection of meze, small bites, and flavorful Turkish tea and coffee are available at this café.
- Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. No:23, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye.