The Journey to Bring Turkish Culture to the World
Why would someone wake up out of bed one day and decide to start selling Turkish coffee?
Great question right!
I'm here to write why I, Jhana Ellard, a 20-something Canadian guy decided to track down the most authentic and traditional Turkish products and bring them to homes across North America.
Here's what I'll cover:
- Who Am I?
- The First Time I Tasted Turkish Coffee
- The Idea for the Website
- Finding the Finest Turkish Suppliers
- Getting Started with Turkish Coffee
- My Favourite Coffee
- The Future of the Turkish Coffee Bazaar
Who Am I?
Yep, that's me. The first thing you're probably all immediately struck by is that I'm not very Turkish looking! In fact, I'm not Turkish at all!
I, Jhana Ellard, am a Canadian/British citizen living in Vancouver, BC. I work at a software company, run a podcast, and am the owner of the Turkish Coffee Bazaar.
My dad spent a lot of time travelling through Turkey and spoke very highly of it. I remember growing up and playing dozens of games of backgammon every night until one of us threw in the towel. That was my first exposure to Turkish culture. I'm still playing backgammon all the time, and beating my dad more and more these days.
So that's the very short version of who I am. It's always nice to know who you're buying your products from. But let's move on to how I decided to start the Bazaar.
The First Time I Tasted Turkish Coffee
I'm sure a lot of people reading this have a story just like mine. The experience of drinking Turkish coffee for the first time is not something you forget.
For me, it was two years ago. I was new to the city of Vancouver and my girlfriend brought me to this delicious Lebanese restaurant in the city called Jam Jar. (Shout out to Jam Jar I have been eating there ever since!)
It was fascinating for me to pour and serve my own coffee with these beautiful copper and porcelain ornaments. I remember sitting on the patio on a sunny Vancouver day sipping on my Turkish coffee and just being happy in that moment.
I talked to the Jam Jar restaurant manager about their inspiration for serving Turkish coffee and she said this:
“Occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, Lebanese & Turkish culture have always been intertwined. A Turkish coffee cup brings friends together, hosts neighbours and guests and joins two elderly folk bonding over fond memories. Memories of Lebanon are always littered with this steaming cup of coffee that’s always brought us closer together.”
It's safe to say I've been going back to Jam Jar ever since. Its wonderful Lebanese food paired with Turkish coffee is a rare find for a restaurant. I'll be forever thankful to them and my girlfriend for introducing me.
The Idea for the Website
I've been working in marketing for quite some time now and I have long had a passion for e-commerce. For me, finding something that I wanted to share with the world was important for the inception of my store.
It was that memory of drinking Turkish coffee for the first time that sparked my inspiration for The Bazaar. That was something I could feel good about bringing to the world. Turkish culture of beautiful, vibrant, and colourful and I knew that I could make a website centred around that.
I think we often find ourselves caught in the ways of our own culture. But when we mix and match the best parts from all different ways of live, we're all better for it. That's what the site is all about.
Finding the Finest Turkish Coffee Suppliers
When I set out to start my Turkish coffee store, I knew a few things that were non negotiable for me. They were as follows:
- I will only carry and ship Traditional and Authentic Turkish products. I will not be starting a site that ships products from China/Alibaba.
- I want to make sure that shipping times for my products were reasonable across the globe.
- I wanted to create a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to get into Turkish coffee culture.
- I would only source suppliers that care about an ethical and sustainable working environment
- I will not compromise on the quality of a product, even if it means it will be more expensive.
Securing suppliers was no easy task and it took me quite a while to make sure that each of the suppliers fulfilled all of the above criteria.
Now, I’m happy to say that our store is supplied entirely by products directly from Turkey, or from North American suppliers that import their goods from Turkey.
I’ve also been able to make some great relationships with these suppliers. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing, to bring YOU the finest experience of Turkish culture possible.
These relationships have allowed the Turkish Coffee Bazaar to bring all of the beauty of Turkish culture across the globe. We’ve now sent our products to every corner of the world, restaurants and households.
I use these products myself. And I must say, it makes my job a lot easier when I know that I’m only selling products that I can vouch for and would put on my own home.
Getting Started With Turkish Coffee
This is often the first thing that my friends ask me when I tell them about my store. They love coffee and are interested in experiencing it, but they don’t know where to start.
For a more comprehensive guide, I recommend you check out our Turkish Coffee Starter Pack post, but here’s the cliff notes.
- Order some coffee, a pot, and a grinder
- Pair your coffee powder with a cup of water and bring it to a boil. See our post on How to Make Turkish coffee
- Serve in an espresso style or standard coffee cup. (If you end up loving it, check out our collections of cups and sets)
- Enjoy some of the finest coffee flavours you’ve ever had
- Share this experience with your friends and family.
Specialty coffee drinking is extremely popular right now. Turkish coffee is exploding in places that already have a rich coffee culture. People are thirsty for something new and dynamic. We can now say no to that cup of drip or pod coffee and drink something exquisite instead.
If you care about quality, you wouldn’t settle for a low-grade microwaved plate of food served to you. Meaning that there’s no need to treat your coffee that way either.
I can promise you, serving Turkish coffee to your friends and family is such a unique and satisfying experience. Showing those around you something unique and novel is so much fun as the host.
My Favourite Coffee
Since that first cup of Turkish coffee years ago, I’ve had the chance to sample quite a few brands and flavours. I’ve only put brands on the site that I can personally vouch for.
If I had to pick a favourite, it’s certainly become Selamlique within the last six months or so. You can probably tell that they are highlighted on the site. I love Selamlique because it is the perfect balance between strong traditional flavours, while also being approachable to the first time drinker.
Selamlique is doing such a great job bridging the gap between cultures through coffee. And I must say, they also have delicious Turkish delights.
As for the flavour, I’m a Selamlique Dark Roast person, no doubt.
Selamlique Dark Roast - Available at the Bazaar
Where the Turkish Coffee Bazaar is Going
The Bazaar now ships Turkish coffee products worldwide. As you can see, we’ve also branched into some new and exciting areas of Turkish culture as well.
I’ve also decided to blog a lot more! The Daily Bazaar is my attempt at connecting with our existing customers as well as providing people interested in Turkish coffee with an easy way to understand what the buzz is all about.
You can expect the blog to become more and more developed over the next few months. I’m also looking to engage with our fanbase a little more. We’ve started publishing 📦Unboxings📦 on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Ultimately, we want to hear more from YOU!
If you’ve passed by our store, we’d love to hear what you think. Send us photos with your Turkish coffee products and we’ll make sure you get a feature on our social media pages.
So that’s my story. I’ve loved creating and building the Turkish Coffee Bazaar. And It’s so clear to me that I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you helping the store along the way.
Like I said, if you guys have any questions for me, anything to share, or just want to chat, please go ahead and send us an email at email@example.com or DM us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for caring about coffee!
Jhana Ellard - The Turkish Coffee Bazaar