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Interview with Sam Çeviköz: All There Is to Know About Coffee

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Let’s talk a bit about coffee. It’s a beverage dating back centuries, enjoyed by people all around the world on a daily basis. From the perspective of a coffee enjoyer, it may also be described as a satisfying drink, an intense addiction, an engaging topic to talk about, or a relaxing break to have at any time of the day. For anyone who has a similar stance about coffee, it is best to know a little about its history, preparation methods, and some details that could be useful in practice. With this aim in mind, we had the chance to interview and discuss our shared passion with Sam Çeviköz, an AASCA (Australasian Speciality Coffee Association) certified barista trainer, founder of Federal Coffee, company partner of Coffee HQ and a true devotee to coffee itself.

As he has been in the industry for over 50 years, it was natural for me to wonder about his everyday coffee ritual. He explained that he usually starts his day with Turkish coffee, followed by filtered coffee. When he walks into the office, he usually continues with more filtered coffee and then espresso. For people who drink as much coffee as Sam Çeviköz does, it is important to know the basics of preparing your own coffee at home using the best methods. Understandably, he strictly recommends buying your own fresh coffee beans and grinding them yourself at home. Following this, he states, “Pre-ground coffee has a life span of half an hour or forty-five minutes, it gets stale pretty quickly. Grind the beans for about five to ten minutes before you make your coffee. Let it sit for five minutes and then you can prepare your coffee in any way you like it”. As for where to buy our coffee beans, he doesn’t suggest getting them from supermarket shelves simply because they are never freshly ground, thus, they aren’t in their best shape. Apparently, it is crucial to be aware of the roasting date even when buying beans from a café.

Another interesting point is the historical aspect of coffee and its relation with Türkiye. Nowadays, it exists anywhere in the world, but where did it initially come from?

During our conversation about this topic, Çeviköz mentioned one of his social media publications where he said that Türkiye had introduced coffee to Europe, and gotten several negative comments saying it couldn’t be possible for it to originate here when there were places such as Brazil, Colombia, and Indonesia.

He noted that coffee actually originated in Ethiopia and Yemen, but Ottomans had a big role in introducing it to the world and mainly Europe. Surrounding this matter, I was also profoundly interested in finding more about the differences concerning coffee habits in Türkiye and Australia as he has observed during his 50 years of living there and working in the same industry. The main difference seems to be that it is an obligatory ritual in Australia while it is more of a social experience in Türkiye. He also affirmed, “At 6 in the morning in Australia, you see a line in front of cafés. There are two sides to drinking coffee in Australia: socializing and a morning ritual. 99% of people will drink a couple of coffees on the way to work, at work, or at home. A lot of people also have brewing machines at home. Here, it’s more social. It is getting there as well in Türkiye but you don’t quite see as many people going to cafés in the morning to get their coffee fixed because they just can’t do without it”.

This was also the point that made me wonder about the rising popularity of Turkish coffee. He responded by saying that it was definitely on the rise, not just in Australia but in America as well. He added that even fifteen years ago you could walk into a

supermarket in Sydney or Melbourne and find “Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi”. However, you couldn’t walk into cafés in Australia for a Turkish coffee. So, in the last 10-15 years, it has definitely risen worldwide and become an element that is not just enjoyed because of a tradition.

Another question was whether he appreciated modern interpretations of coffee-based drinks as an internationally outstanding member of the industry. He specified that he had never been a traditional person and always tried to keep up with the latest trends. Çeviköz then further added, “Coffee evolves. The way we make cappuccino today is a lot different than how we used to make it 20 years ago. So, we need to be one step ahead of everybody, I’m always in contact with my friends overseas in the coffee industry to make sure I know what is going on and what the new trends are”.

As it was very engaging to learn about the various aspects of coffee, it made me want to become more knowledgeable on the field and try other types of coffee than the ones that I am used to. That is the reason why I asked how we could enhance our

palate and discover our particular taste in coffee. I learned that if we always tried milky coffees, we would never educate our palate, so we had to experience more espresso, black, and filter coffee. His advice was to “try some cold brews and different brands of coffees because every bean has a different flavor. For fruity coffees, try African coffee. If you want a spicy coffee with a kick, try Indonesian coffee. If you want a coffee with a ‘full body’ that you can drink all day, try South American or Central American coffees. To me, the best espresso is from South America, but these all come from years of training yourself and drinking coffee”. In addition, he recommended pairing black coffee with a nice chocolate cake and milky coffee with more traditional cakes, such as carrot cake.

Lastly, as the topic of coffee served at Coffee Headquarters was brought up, Çeviköz explained that they used Guatemala Antigua beans for the flat white that I was served. As I would doubtlessly agree, he said that it had a very balanced taste and that it was the best coffee to use for espresso, obviously with the right roasting methods. Considering everything that has been discussed, my overall experience at Coffee HQ satisfied me more than I could expect. Thus, I would definitely recommend tasting their delicious coffee anytime you can stop by and start your journey of educating yourself about coffee.

Edited by: Simay Cemre Tülübaş

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