Byblos Trading Co is situated at The Palms in Woodstock, Cape Town. The name comes from Mikhael Bou Rjeily, the owners’ favourite city in Lebanon.
I have heard many good things about Byblos. I also heard that they are well-known in Cape Town for serving Turkish coffee. I have never drunk Turkish coffee before, so I thought I had to go give it a try.
The barista at Byblos was very friendly and chatted with us the whole time we were there. He also did a great job in explaining the process of making Turkish coffee.
How Turkish Coffee is Made
Turkish coffee does not refer to a type of coffee, but to the way the coffee is prepared.
Traditionally, coffee is added to water in a copper pot. The coffee and water mixture is stirred and slowly heated over medium heat.
If sugar is to be added to the coffee, it is done at the start of the boiling, not after.
When the grounds begin to froth, about one-third of the coffee gets poured into individual cups. The remaining two-thirds are returned to the fire.
After the coffee froths a second time, the process is completed and the remaining coffee is used to top off the drinks.
Apparently, the last step is to put a “horseshoe” in it and if the horseshoe floats, you know that it is good coffee.
A superstition that goes with Turkish coffee is that the grounds left after drinking Turkish coffee can be used for fortune-telling. The cup is commonly turned over into the saucer to cool; it is believed that the patterns of the coffee grounds can then be used as a method of fortune telling.
There also used to be a tradition where when a man wanted to marry a woman, his parents would visit the future wife’s house to ask her parents’ permission. To show her skills the bride-to-be was then supposed to serve the guests the best Turkish coffee she can. It was then decided based on her ability to make coffee if she was a good match for marriage. Some brides-to-be would intentionally add salt instead of sugar in order to avoid an unwanted marriage. Some people in Turkey still keep these traditions alive.
The Importance of Coffee in Turkish Culture
Under 15th Century law coffee was so important in Turkish Culture, that a woman had the freedom to divorce her husband if he did not provide her with enough coffee
There is an old Turkish saying: “A cup of Turkish coffee commits one to forty years of friendship”
Byblos is Worth a Visit
I had a great time at Byblos – not only did I enjoy my Turkish coffee, I also enjoyed the stories I was told and the friendliness I received.
Byblos Trading Co is definitely worth a visit, they also sell a range of locally baked baklava, Lebanese bread, imported Lebanese cooking and baking ingredients, coffee blends, Turkish apple tea, Yerba Mate, gourmet syrups, powders, and sauces.