The Turkish Coffee Ceremony in the Old Church of Amsterdam

Oude Kerk was a meeting point for citizens and merchants where they could exchange thoughts and wander during organ concerts. Various functions made the church "the living room of Amsterdam". I thought of this aspect of the church as a meeting point, a moment where citizens could gather together, just like widely popular coffee that brings Dutch people together everyday.

The history of origins of coffee goes back to 13th century, discovered by Ethiopian kingdom called Kaffa. That is how the Arabic word "qahwah" was derived from the verb "qahiya" meaning "to have no appetite". Before the 17th century, this drink was seen as a "bitter invention of Satan and Satan´s latest drop to catch Christian souls" since it was the antithesis of wine (which in Eucharist is Christ´s blood) and it was drank by Arabs, Turks and other non-christians. When coffee was first brought to Christian Europe, it was greeted with a great deal of suspicion because it was associated as a drink of Muslims the "Satan´s drink". Inevitable, coffee made its way to the Vatican, where it was introduced to Pope Clement VIII; while many of his advisors clamored for the Pope to ban the controversial drink, he refused to do so before trying it himself.

After Pope took a sip he declared that it was delicious and that they should cheat the devil by baptizing it. This is the reason why coffee came the last to Europe.

In Turkish culture, coffee plays a role of bringing people together for a "conversation" followed by coffee cup reading known as "fortune telling" through the cup. Turkish believe that you should´t leave your cup without having it read, but also not completely believe in what is told. Destiny or the path which you are likely to lead in your future is written in the coffee cup; which is interpreted by symbols and shapes that are formed after turning the coffee cup upside down for the residue of the coffee to form your future.

Future is unpredictable and the belief in fate that its somehow written already (through coffee cup or other forms of reading) changes people´s perspective or skeptical about their current situation.

This drink that was once associated as "Satan´s drink" is now drank by a lot of Europeans whom come together through the traditions of coffee drinking. I celebrated this history through turkish coffee ceremony in the old library of the Oude Kerk. I aimed to create an atmosphere where people drink Turkish coffee knowing it was once the Satan´s drink, combined with coffee cup reading sessions, making people curious of the "unknown" of their future.

 
 
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