Coffee's Uniting Power

A cup of coffee can bridge cultural gaps. At least, that’s what Gizem Salgicil White, founder of, believes. Her organization aims to create awareness of Turkish culture, particularly within America.

Gizem is a Turkish native, who has always carried a strong passion for her country and its unique cultural footprint. Through a recent adventure in “nation branding” with a mobile Turkish coffee truck, Gizem and her volunteer team took to the streets of a few major Eastern U.S. cities distributing coffee and connecting with Americans. The food truck not only received attention locally, but Gizem said she received phone calls from all over the world from others interested in starting their own projects.

I talked to Gizem more extensively over the phone about her background and experience with the project. Listen here: Turkayfe Food Truck

Photos included were taken by: Jacquelyn Chi, Erdem Tekinel and Mark Simonson. is also active on Twitter.

What do you think of the project?

17 thoughts on “Coffee's Uniting Power

  1. One of the best coffees I’ve ever had was when one of my friends took me into one of the Turkish neighbourhoods in Köln (Cologne), Germany. At a restaurant well-known to locals and to German Turks, we had an outstanding meal, which was followed by a coffee as the final flourish. Brewed strong with a sugar cube to melt and dissolve, the tiny cup of coffee delivered a deliciously powerful punch that was sweet and almost-spicy. Upon leaving, I said (in German) that was the best coffee I had ever had. The knowing smile in return was all I needed to know.

    1. Thank you for sharing! Sounds absolutely delicious! I’m sure your comment was appreciated. I have yet to try Turkish coffee, but am hopeful that I will be able to sometime in the near future.

    1. Hi Barb! I don’t dare venture to estimate it….but it is certainly delicious! The mobile coffee truck is not only a tasty venture, but a brilliant initiative to create awareness.

      1. Most of us drink so much of the stuff we don’t really get adventurous with it. I have one type I stick to at home, partly because of the taste also because the company are good to their staff and farmers.

        1. Those seem great reasons to stick to one type, though! Adventures are wonderful, but comfort can be equally gratifying! Where is the coffee you drink from? I personally really enjoy tea, too!

          1. Taylors of Harrogate – this is in the Uk. they do stuff like Lazy Sunday which is a good mild roast. My favourite tea is Japanese rice tea – hard to find, but Boston Coffee company do a great version, really refreshing and exotic.

          2. Delicious! I like milder roasts, too. The Japanese rice tea sounds quite interesting, I’ll have to try it some time!

          3. Yes! I’ve had it a few times. I wonder if others will follow in the footsteps of the Mobile Coffee Truck cultural project and try it with different unique foods or drinks!

          4. I think there’s a real interest in starting up small local enterprises, and even growing local stuff, which feeds into having local stalls. I am amazed at what is being grown in the Uk. south coast has chile farms, olives are being grown in Wales and there is an expanding wine industry – the first since the Romans left. so why not tea and coffee or local equivalents? You can even grow saffron – the most expensive thing on earth because of the costs of picking and drying it.

          5. Local produce seems to be growing in popularity around here as well. More people visit farmers markets and consider farm shares. It’s really neat to think of chile farms and an expanding wine industry in the UK, because you don’t ‘typically’ associate the UK with that!

          6. That’s why it’s so impressive. Places like cornwall have palms, even north of Scotland, they have walled gardens where they can produce incredibly varied crops. With the soaring cost of transport, we have to figure out how to produce our own stuff if we want these treats.

    1. Same here! A really neat way to create awareness and share a part of Turkish culture! I think the food truck was a great platform for it!

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