Salty coffree tradition in Turkey is omnipresent. According to a long-standing Turkish tradition, the young bride serves salty coffee to the suitor who has come to her home to ask for her hand. But do you know the beautiful messages that hide behind this original and symbolic tradition?
Traditionally, when a man asks for the hand of a woman in Turkey, he goes to the home with his parents to show up. The lady serves coffee to everyone. In common belief, we would put salt in coffee to “test” the patience of the suitor. If he drinks the salty coffee without being disgusted with it, it means that the suitor is ready to bear all kinds of difficulties in life for the bride-to-be.
The salty coffee tradition also hides another, even more subtle story. At the time, in Turkey, couples saw each other for the first time during the ceremony organized to ask for the hand of the bride since it was about arranged marriages. When the suitor did not please the future bride, she added a lot of salt to the gentleman’s coffee so that he understood his position without openly offending him. When she hesitated, the amount of salt remained moderate. And finally, when she agreed, the coffee was sweet. She even added a dessert alongside the coffee if the suitor also appealed to the bride-to-be’s family. So a discreet and refined way to assert yourself…
There is also a wonderful love story behind the salty coffee tradition in Turkey. Osman Fevzi Bey, a high official who lived during the time of Sultan Abdülhamid II, went with his mother to the home of the woman he loved, Semahat Refika Hanım, to ask for her hand. The young woman, very moved during the ceremony, unintentionally added a lot of salt to Osman Fevzi Bey’s coffee instead of adding sugar. The young man, having understood that she had not done it on purpose, invented a story so as not to shame her. He said he was used to drinking salty coffee since he drank it regularly in the army. The young bride became his wife during a long 50-year marriage. Since she never doubted her husband’s words, she made him salty coffee throughout these 50 years of marriage. In the letter he wrote to his wife before he died, Osman Fevzi Bey confessed the truth with these words:
“My dear Semahat, our happy 50-year marriage with you began with this salty coffee. To be honest, I had never had salty coffee before. Besides, it was not even drinkable! And you, you made salty coffee for me thinking I liked it. Every drop of that coffee was like poison. Nevertheless, I never made you feel my torment. For the likelihood that you would be ashamed in front of me, that you would be offended, was even more bitter to me than this salty coffee. That’s why I didn’t make you feel anything. Now the journey into the afterlife has begun. Inch’Allah our union in this world will continue in paradise. Because, according to a hadith, “we will continue to be in the hereafter with those we loved on this Earth”. I entrust you to Allah the Almighty. »
This is how an ancient tradition became one of the most beautiful proofs of love in history.