Posted in Kafevend Blog

With only a day to go until 'World of Coffee 2014' begins in Italy's Adriatic coastal resort, Rimini, we've noticed that a fourth competition has been added to the event. As well as hosting The World Barista Championship, The World Brewers Cup and The World Coffee Roasting Championship, Rimini Expo Centre will also be the venue for this year's World Cezve/Ibrik Championship. For anyone wondering what on earth a cezve or an ibrik is we'll first take a look at the basics behind brewing a cup of Turkish coffee.

A cezve or ibrik is the core item needed to make coffee the Turkish way. Requiring great skill and timing, this centuries old method should make for an exciting competition. The ibrik itself is a wide bottomed, narrow necked pot, with a long handle designed to protect the hand of the person making the coffee from getting burnt. Nowadays you're likely to encounter an ibrik made from stainless steel or aluminium, but traditionally they were made of copper or brass. The wide bottom ensures maximum surface area for the heat source, while the narrow neck helps to prevent too many grounds from escaping when the coffee is poured, for this is a filterless method of brewing.

So why hold a competition dedicated to this particular style of coffee? Last December a UNESCO committee voted, by an overwhelming majority, to place Turkish coffee on the list of 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turks'. Nevertheless, as well as being crucial to the people of Turkey, it's worth noting that this is a style popular much further afield than the country it's named for and is commonly drunk throughout the Balkan states, North Africa and the Middle East. The obvious link here is the Ottoman Empire, which made Constantinople (present day Istanbul)  its capital. Thus while Turkey was at the heart of the Empire, at its height it also included much of coastal North Africa, parts of the Middle East, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria... in fact all those places where it remains a staple today.

Returning to the theme of the competition, you won't be surprised to learn that last year the world final was held in Turkey. First place went to Turgay Yildizli, originally from Istanbul, an experienced and gifted barista who has a number of competitions under his belt. Coming in a very close second was Stavros Lamprinidis of Greece and third was Amy Yildizli for the USA. If her surname looks familiar, then yes, she is married to first place Turgay and the pair were set to open a coffee shop in New Orleans as their next challenge!

Representing the UK this year will be Vadym Granovskiy of 'Coffee in Action'. The last time the UK won was in 2010 when Aysin Aydogdu of 'Mambocino Coffee' clinched top prize. As well as creating the perfect coffee from her ibrik, she also created the right cultural atmosphere, an important additional criteria upon which the contestants are judged. Her use of costume, tableware and belly dancing clinched those extra few points. So whether Granovskiy can win for the UK this time around will depend not only on the perfection of his Turkish coffee, but perhaps his individual panache when sporting a fez and a pair of harem pants!

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