As an American temporarily living in Istanbul, I became entranced by the rich, redolent brew I saw in cafes being boiled in small copper pots with long handles, called cezves. The resulting froth-topped drink is served unfiltered in small porcelain cups, alongside a glass of water and something sweet, typically a square of Turkish Delight. The distinctive foam and strong flavor immediately won a new devotee.

I wanted to know more about this ubiquitous drink and took a coffeehouse tour given by a Turkish local. While English speakers have long referred to the country as Türkiye, Turkish people have called their country Türkiye since 1923, when the Ottoman Empire fell and the Turkish Republic was formed. The U.S. State Department recently began using the Turkish spelling in diplomatic settings.

While coffee likely was brought to the Ottoman Empire by traveling merchants by the 16th century, most believe that coffee came to Türkiye during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, after the governor he dispatched to Yemen brought back to the Ottoman court in then-Constantinople an energizing drink he found at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. By the mid-17th century, coffee became part of the Ottoman court’s ceremonies, and the Sultan would be served by his personally employed coffee makers. The drink has been popular in Turkish culture ever since.

The method to prepare Turkish coffee is so much a part of the culture that in 2013, it was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The velvety Turkish coffee comes from beans grounded even more finely than espresso grinds. If sugar is desired in one’s coffee, it is added to the cezve while it cooks, to infuse the brew. As the coffee boils, foam begins to rise, and the coffee is removed from the heat before it boils over the rim.

My coffee tour commenced at the Fazil Bey’in Turk Kahvesi in Kadiköy, in the non-touristy Moda neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents. We began with traditional Turkish coffee at narrow café-style tables under a covered awning along the street.

The coffee grounds are mostly left in one’s cup while drinking Turkish coffee. When one is finished drinking the liquid, a saucer is placed over the cup, it is flipped over, and a fortune teller can read the patterns left by the grounds. Our guide even recommended an app called Faladdin for reading my own coffee cup fortune.

Our affable guide, Ilkin Zeybek, grew up in Kadiköy. His enthusiasm for the history of coffee in Istanbul is evident in his Turkish coffee tours, which cover traditional coffee shops, as well as hipster venues. He relished introducing us to traditional Turkish coffee and its preparation, as well as to its variations. He also expressed pride at how much diversity in coffee’s presentation has emerged in his home city.

Our second stop was at a kahvehane. The place, like many others of its kind, serves as a neighborhood hub for the locals, who were, at this more traditional gathering spot, primarily men. Although Türkiye is a secular Muslim country and many women here are not religiously observant and do not wear hijabs, I spoke to several men who espoused more conservative views of the role of women. One friendly shopkeeper in the Grand Bazaar, who insisted on serving me tea while I browsed his offerings, expressed indignation at my challenge to his belief that his wife did not wish to leave their home and enjoyed not having much of a social life outside their house’s confines. The men at this kahvehane did not appear to be bothered by my presence, as they continued to play cards and discuss current events.

At the kahvehane, my tour companions and I learned the popular Turkish game of Okey, a rummy variant played with tiles, which bore similarity to the ancient Chinese game of mahjong, a game I learned as a child. The shop’s proprietor took delight in attempting to coach us during our maiden foray into Okey playing, despite the language barrier.

Next, we sampled Dibek coffee, a Turkish coffee variant sometimes called mortar coffee. It is a light colored, milder brew. The Dibek coffee we sampled included hazelnut, carob, wild pistachio, and cardamom, though other ingredients are not uncommon. The caffeine level is not as high as traditional Turkish coffee, and some of the ingredients are thought to have health benefits.

Along the way, our guide shared how coffee also plays a role in Turkish weddings. As a prologue to marriage, the prospective groom and his family traditionally visit the family home of the bride-to-be to receive the blessing of her parents. During this meeting, the bride-to-be prepares and serves Turkish coffee to the guests. She typically uses salt instead of sugar in the groom-to-be’s cup. It is believed that if he drinks his coffee without displaying or expressing displeasure, the bride and her family can assume that the groom is worthy of the bride.

We made a quick visit to the sleekly styled M Espresso Bar for a strong cold brew sampling, served in heavy glass tumblers. Like many other coffee bars in the area, seating was inside as well as outside, and neighborhood cats and dogs lounged about from time to time.

Our final stop was at Walter’s Coffee Roastery, a modern shop themed on Walter White, the main character in the American cult television series, Breaking Bad. There we tried a lemon brew made with a V60 pour-over dripper and served in laboratory beakers. The lemon flavor served as a bit of a palate cleanser with its fresh finish. The shop was bright and Instagram-worthy, attracting a younger clientele.

The tour provided a view into the continuing evolution of coffee in Turkish society. While kavehanes remain popular gathering spots, especially for men, there are now a wide variety of places to enjoy one’s caffeine in Türkiye. Starbucks now tops the coffee chain market in Türkiye, and a Turkish coffee item is included on the menu.

In Istanbul, one may find a place to enjoy coffee seemingly on every street corner. If you, too, get hooked on the rich, foam topped traditional Turkish coffee, it is advisable not to order “Turkish coffee” in other countries that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. You may receive a rebuke or, at least, a chilly reception and learn that they call Turkish-style coffee something else, like Greek, Serbian, Bosnian, or Armenian coffee.