Asli Yalcn got her first taste of specialty coffee in 2013, which was shared with her by her cousin Faith. She immediately fell in love and said that she wasn’t sure it was coffee at all. For many specialty coffee drinkers, myself included.
This is how we discover the world of possibility in coffee outside of it being a bitter drink that wakes us up in the morning. Alongside this, many discover the incredible community within specialty coffee, and Aslı explains to us a bit about how this helped her.
After enjoying her first cup of specialty coffee so much, Aslı was determined to learn the ins and outs of coffee brewing and become an avid homebrewer.
However, at the time, she still a student and couldn’t afford to buy the coffee equipment that she wanted to. Instead, she sought out various local coffee shops in Turkey that served specialty coffee to learn more about the beans, their flavours and craft in general.
After she finished her study and began to work in 2016, Aslı started to collect some coffee brewing gears, including the Hario V60, which to this day, is still her favourite brewer.
Aslı began brewing coffee at home both for herself and those closest to her, getting feedback from them and trying to refine her skills. She started to continually look for ways to improve her abilities. She did this by engaging in the vast coffee community via workshops, events, and reading/watching content online.
Aslı also became part of a coffee club called Ankara Kahve Kulübü, she arranged cuppings, shared and connected with people who shared a similar passion, all while further training and developing her palate. She used all of the knowledge and experience she’d gained up to this point to go and compete in her first brewing competition.
Aslı was inspired by Emi Fukahori on European Coffee Trip who, while talking about who should enter competitions, said:
“Anybody, if you like coffee, you should compete.”
These words resonated with Aslı, and she decided to enter the 2018 Turkish AeroPress Competition, doing incredibly well and taking the 3rd place! From here, she was determined to compete again, and this year joined the 2020 SCA Turkish Brewer’s Cup. She says that she reached out to her coffee community for help when she didn’t have all the equipment that she needed and was loaned a V60, a set of scales, and a kettle all from different people. To Asli, this was a collaborative work.
The preparation was difficult as Aslı needed to present her brews to the judges alongside tasting notes. In particular, she thanks her friends Deniz T. (Turkish Cezve Brewing Champion), Cenk, and Deniz D. for listening to her presentation until sunrise the night before the competition. Evidently, the hard work paid off as Aslı was rewarded with a 2nd place to finish in the competition, which is a considerable achievement as the only woman and home brewer that competed.
Aslı told us that
“I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am sure of one thing: that coffee will bring a joy to every second of my life till the end.”.
Whilst she may not be a coffee professional, it couldn’t be clearer how much coffee has inspired her, and we just felt so inspired to tell her story.
Article by Oliver