The useful thing about trying to find good coffee and tea everywhere we go is that you don’t need a degree in every language to get what you need. The word ‘coffee’ is recognised globally, and ‘tea’ or ‘chai’ will get you the desired cuppa in every country I’ve been to so far.
That’s a good thing if you’re visiting Amasya, where nobody seemed to speak a word of English. And even the word ‘café’ led us astray, as we went in wanting some lunch, but the waiters seemed to be offering only coffee…
As always, there was tea on tap all over town, starting in our hotel, which served up a string of cuppas from early morning, bringing us more whenever we appeared on the bench for a few minutes downtime.
Language apart, we loved Amasya. And actually the language barrier made the place feel even more exotic, though it meant any tips for good tea or coffee in Amasya had to come from google searches.
Fortunately we had a good suggestion for best coffee in Amasya. Gamasuk – in Amasya’s main shopping street – is one of those olde worlde coffee shops in Turkey which were probably once reserved only for men.
But we sat upstairs next to two women having a coffee on their own, as well as the old regulars who’d probably been coming here since their youth.
The coffee was excellent, and as always with Turkish coffee, beautifully presented on a silver platter, with a glass of water (to cleanse the palate) and some sweets and lokum to offset any bitterness from the coffee.
A lovely place, with beautiful décor. My only problem came when I tried to ask the opening hours – partly for our breakfast the next day and partly for my review when it goes online. There was just no way of getting the concept across, even when the owner took me downstairs and into the clothes shop next door where he knew someone who spoke a word or two of English. But ‘opening times’ were clearly not words they taught him in his English classes (basic lesson early on when I was doing TEFL all those years ago)…
For tea in Amasya, we struggled a bit at first.
We decided to go up to the Apple Palace Hotel, which sits way up on the mountain above town, with spectacular views from their café terrace.
With apples being in season and on sale from roadside stalls all around the outksirts of Amasya, we assumed a hotel like the Apple Palace, especially with its name, would be full of apples in all sorts of states: pureed, in pies, cakes, sweets, tea even.
But no, nothing. Not an apple in sight. And when I asked the waiter if they had any apples, he didn’t seem to know what the word ‘apple’ meant. Which seemed kind of odd, given the name of the hotel.
The tea was nice enough, but it did not match the views (or the swimming pool). It was worth going up, just to see how Turkey’s Brat Pack must have lived back in the 1950s, but this was not good enough to review for Fancy a Cuppa’s website.
And when we climbed up to Amasya’s ancient tombs in the rocks later in the day, we thought we’d stop for tea at the cafeteria near the tombs. But they didn’t even do tea, offering us only coffee or lemonade – surely unheard of not to have tea in Turkey!
So this place also didn’t make the grade for our tea review in town.
And then I remembered my google search and we found the wonderful Municipal Tea Garden.
This place is enormous. There must be seating under the trees and by the river for 200 people on a busy afternoon.
We stayed for a bite to eat and a glass of tea, and were very happy with not only the quality on offer but also the atmosphere and the feel of the place.
It’s clearly where Amasya’s youth hang out, and one table of girls spent time taking pictures of Granddad (me…) having a pizza and tea by the river, such was the novelty value of our visit.
We were also joined by a flurry of bats, who were busily moving to and fro over the river, with occasional bursts past the table we were having our dinner at, making for great entertainment all round.
Throw in the call for prayer as the sun set and this place was utterly magical. So our top tip for tea in Amasya has to be the Municipal Tea Garden, and it will surely be just as delightful under the trees or right by the riverside.