Inside Rüya Coffee, OTR’s Turkish Coffee Pop-Up at Findlay Market


Melissa Aydogan is the heart and soul of Rüya Coffee, a Turkish coffee pop-up at Findlay Market.

Aydogan is a 2018 recipient of a People’s Liberty Globe Grant: a $15,000 grant given to groups or individuals with a goal of turning People’s Liberty’s Findlay Market headquarters into a shared community space. This time around, it has been transformed into a traditional Turkish coffeehouse. The interior is decorated in rich shades of reds and oranges accented by velvet pillows, layered rugs and billowy chiffon draped from the ceiling. Families, couples and friendly strangers can find themselves nestled into cushioned benches or gathered around a big community table at the back of the shop.

A first-generation Turkish American and Cincinnati native (she works as an account executive at Procter & Gamble), Aydogan is using her grant project to share a piece of her family’s heritage with her hometown.

Dating all the way back to the 16th century, Turkish coffee is the oldest brewing method of coffee in the world. “Back in the day,” as Aydogan says, the coffee was prepared in hot sand. It’s still done today for the pure novelty of it, but a hot stove will do the job just fine. Aside from a heat source, all you need is water and coffee that’s been ground to an ultra-fine powder. In this case, the coffee in question is a special blend created by local Deeper Roots Coffee specifically for Aydogan’s grant project. 

For Aydogan, the goal of Rüya is simple: it’s all about fostering community. To understand Turkey’s coffee is to understand some of the values of Turkish culture. Aydogan recalls one of many Turkish sayings about coffee: “One does not desire coffee or a coffeehouse. One desires conversation and coffee is just an excuse.”

| Photos by Hailey Bollinger