By Jan Ellen
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – October 1 was declared International Coffee Day in 2014 by the International Coffee Organization and is a time to celebrate the origins of coffee and bring a taste of Turkish coffee culture to the world. Imagine yourself comfortably seated on a fancy divan – a throwback to Ottoman times, with a tiny, steaming cup of strong brew known as Turkish coffee. This is a nostalgic memory that America’s ‘Turkish Coffee Lady’, Gizem Salcigil White wants everyone to experience through her specialty coffee business – Turkish Coffee Lady.
The Turkish Coffee Lady concept started as a cultural diplomacy initiative. It all began as an online experiment of sorts where people gathered to learn about Turkish coffee culture until the day that members decided to meet up in person to try original Turkish coffee. Cultural diplomacy is nothing new but Turkish Coffee Lady’s founder discovered a unique way to create a bridge between cultures through her Turkish Coffee Truck.
Since 2012, the award-winning Turkish Coffee Truck has traveled throughout U.S. cities as well as Europe and been a regular fixture in New York City as part of its international street fairs. In September 2019 at New York’s international street festival, the Turkish Coffee Truck was packed with visitors eager to try the little cups of hot, strong Turkish coffee as well as learn the backstory of Turkish coffee tradition.
The company mission is to build a strong, global community of coffee partners and inspire women entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams as Gizem has. America’s ‘Turkish Coffee Lady’ launched her specialty Turkish coffee business with partners in July 2017. She is not only an award-winning social entrepreneur, she’s also a gastro-diplomacy expert who has now introduced a brand new gourmet coffee collection to the world that features some of Turkey’s national favorite flavors inspired by the Turkish nation’s rich, cultural heritage. Each of the eight flavors represents a famous historical region in Turkey: Istanbul, Mardin, Cappadocia, Aegean, Zeugma, Gobeklitepe and Ephesus. The flavors include a traditional mix of mastic gum, cardamom, caramel, chocolate, hazelnut and strawberry. What makes these coffee blends so special is that they are created by gastronomy and coffee expert, Cenk Girginol. There is also unique artwork designed by micro-art master Hasan Kale also known as the Turkish ‘Micro-angelo.’
As the Turkish Coffee Lady, Gizem Salcigil White said: “Anatolia has been at the crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years and Turkey is the melting pot where East and West meet. Turkish coffee culture is recognized by UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a cultural heritage that should be protected. We are dedicated to sharing Turkey’s culinary traditions and improving the lives of women through gastro-diplomacy.”