Once we found out how good the speciality coffee scene in Istanbul was, we decided to postpone our sampling of traditional Turkish coffee until we got further east.
The trouble with depending on wifi, though, is that once you leave your safe free wifi access point, you are very vulnerable to getting lost. And in Istanbul, with its narrow, winding streets and sudden turns in the road leading you to crossroads and hills you didn’t remember seeing on the map before leaving, it is very easy to lose your way.
So when I found that Kronotrop Coffee was only 15 minutes’ walk from our Istanbul apartment, I was very excited. Half an hour later and heating up in the sticky morning, we were beginning to despair, when suddenly it appeared right in front of us.
In fact this fantastic coffee shop is very close to Taksim Square and we would have been better advised to walk there via Taksim rather than wending our way round Beyoglu’s side streets, wonderful though they are.
Kronotrop roast their own coffee in another part of town. They are also clearly into coffee education, running workshops about aeropress and French press later that day.
For us the important thing is the taste, though. And this cappuccino, which actually had more of a flatwhite feel (no problem with that for us!), was a delicious rich roast, made with their house blend. (In fact they also have a single origin bean for the espresso machine, which we had planned to try the next day if our plans hadn’t changed…).
It’s quite a trendy place, with a lot of expats and tourists dropping in, though the friendly Yasim who was barista in chief that morning reckoned their clientele was about 40% locals.
In any case, we’d highly recommend Kronotrop for coffee in Istanbul. Top quality to match virtually anything we’d try in London.
Part of the reason we didn’t get back there was that we discovered Twins Coffee Shop, about 100m from our accommodation.
Yosrie, the cool South African guy who co-runs Twins with his Turkish partner, got up especially early to do us a breakfast coffee on Sunday morning, and we were back again on our last morning for a goodbye cuppa with him.
There’s less focus on getting the coffee message across here; more on just serving it up. And it was a very different roast from what we’d had at Kronotrop. But equally delicious, and Yosrie does a good flat white, which is often one of our key tests.
They are using a Guatemalan/Colombian blend at the moment, making it a tad sweeter than Kronotrop’s and maybe a bit lighter. But both are excellent.
We were in too early on both occasions to try Twins’ cakes, whereas Kronotrop did have a great choice of banana breads and marble cakes from early morning.
So for coffee in Istanbul we’d happily recommend either.
And if we had been staying longer, we’d almost certainly have tried many many more coffee shops. Istanbul really did seem to have a lot of modern espresso bars, more really than I’d seen yet on our travels through Europe.
It’s always tough on these journeys deciding whether to stick with a place you find you like or try as many as possible to get a broader feel.
We usually like to have at least two coffee shops to recommend in a big city like Istanbul, and we were busy with administrative chores over our four days there, which is why we didn’t have time to drop in anywhere else.
It’s the kind of city coffee lovers should visit, though. And if you’re not going further east like us, you really should try the traditional Turkish coffee, too. But when you can get flat whites this good, it’s so tempting to stick with them, isn’t it?