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The Istanbul Coffee Festival took place for the first time December 25–28 at the historic Galata Greek School. Attendance—almost 15,000 visitors—made the festival one of the largest of its kind in Europe. During the last two days, visitors even had difficulty entering, and exhibitors were actually running out of coffee.

The festival was packed with exhibits from coffee shops and roasters, and offered a full calendar of activities from demonstrations and SCAE Turkey presentations to live music and art.

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Originally an elementary school, the Galata Greek School’s five stories once housed a printing press and published books in multiple languages—today the location is still full of items harking back to the 19th century. Nowadays, it’s often used for exhibitions and film sets, but on these December days it was entirely dedicated to coffee. On the ground floor were the third wave coffee brands alongside larger chains like Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Robert’s Coffee and Nespresso.

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In addition, representatives of coffee machinery and equipment companies were located on this floor. The busiest part of the ground floor—and probably the whole building—was the La Marzocco Artisan Bar, which rotated through many independent roasters. With sponsorship and equipment support from La Marzocco, specialty coffee brands and roasters who had difficulty organizing equipment themselves for the event had the opportunity to serve coffee for four days for the coffee lovers along with live music on stage with bands playing rock, blues and classical music.

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On the other floors, Coffee World’s Salep showcased espresso, Press Karaköy offered chocolate cookies with syrup, Cercis Murat Mansion had a Mardin style coffee presentation, Milk Gallery presented an exhibition titled “With Coffee Life”, performance group Septette On Sheets did a live painting performance, and a screening was offered of Emre Başak’s short film “Black Hole”. Add to this a food styling workshop in collaboration with Cafe Nero and Cenk Sönmezsoy, creator of the award winning blog and book Cafe Fernando.

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Some of the leading names in Istanbul’s third wave coffee scene also offered many activities within their spaces: Petra Roasting offered cupping sessions, brewing demonstrations, analog music, and also hosted Nûn Vintage Coffee, 4 Kadikoy, Teapot, Eating Drinking Affairs and Juice Los Angeles.

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Kronotrop, the oldest third wave coffee shop in Istanbul, focused more on Turkish coffee. The company teamed up with 2013 Cezve & İbrik contest champion Turgay Yıldızlı to rediscover Turkish coffee, and it was at the festival that they debuted their new offerings for traditional Turkish coffee.

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In addition to their new a single origin and blend for Turkish coffee, they also offered merchandise for Turkish coffee lovers. Kronotrop worked in collaboration with Sözen, a family business that hand-makes grinders, for a special hand-grinder, and for the İbrik pot, they worked with copper kitchenware specialists SOY. (You can get brewing guides at the Turkish specialty coffee website.)

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Heisenberg Coffee and Roastery was one of the most interesting brands present at the festival. And probably one of the most photographed, with their yellow coveralls and blue masks offering guests coffee in test tubes. They looked more like Minions than baristas, and these minions also have an Indiegogo fundraiser for a new coffee lab if you would like to support them.

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TAF Coffee and their partner in Turkey, Mambocino, working in collaboration, formed the backbone of the festival. They supported the SCAE competitions as jurors, and organised workshops for professionals as well as consumers on sensory skill, and offered both a cupping with TAF founder Yiannis Taloumis and a brewing methods workshop with 2014 World Brewers Cup Champion Stefanos Domatiotis.

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Soyuz Coffee Roasting was also in attendance, representing Russia. Soyuz is one of the oldest leading specialty coffee brands in Russia. Aslı Yaman, originally from Turkey, has worked with Soyuz for the last 5 years, and in 2014 she took home the bronze medal at the World Brewers Cup. This time Yaman came to Turkish Barista Championship, not as a participant, but an honorary judge. Soyuz also held a course in “Brewing Foundation,” offering the fundamental knowledge of the methods of brewing. Seminar participants learned about all the currently existing methods of brewing coffee and how to use them; pour-over, Chemex, French press, filter, AeroPress and siphon.

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The Istanbul Coffee Festival was not just a massive fair for consumers and professionals—it also hosted a number of SCAE certified national competitions: the Turkish Barista Championship, Latte Art Championship, Brewers Cup, Roasting Competition, and Cezve/İbrik Competition.

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Özkan Yetik from Brew Lab took home the Barista Champion title, and will be representing Turkey at the World Barista Championship which will be held in Seattle, United States. Yetik has won the Turkish championship three times in the past several years.

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Latte Art Contest winner Özgür Genç of Third Wave Coffee will join the World Latte Art Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Brewers Cup winner Umut Gökdeniz from Kronotrop won the right to participate in the World brewers Cup Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Coffee Roasting winner Çağatay Gülabioğlu from Kronotrop will participate in the World Coffee Roasting Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Cezve & İbrik Turkish coffee contest winner Hazal Ateşoğlu will be attanding the World Cezve-İbrik Championship that will be held in Athens, Greece in February, 2015.

For the full results click here:[showhide style=”turkey”]

Barista Competition
1) Özkan Yetik / BREW LAB
3) Emre Bereket / MAMBOCINO COFFEE

Latte Art Competition
2) Özkan Yetik / BREW LAB
3) Ferhat Topuz / MAMBOCINO COFFEE

Brewing Competition
1) Umut Gökdeniz / KRONOTROP
3) Serkan Acıbucu / MUMS CAFE

Rosting Competition
1) Çağatay Gülabioğlu / KRONOTROP
2) Kaan Bergsen / PETRA ROASTING CO
3) Ömer Aydın / COFFEENUTZ

Cezve/İbrik Competition
2) Pınar Mısırdal / MAMBOCINO COFFEE
3) Şahin Yardım / MAMBOCINO COFFEE [/showhide]

Gökçe Yildirim is a photographer living in Istanbul. Read more Gökçe Yildirim on Sprudge.com.

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