My Best Friends are Kufar

Let me tell you about my two best friends. 

They know who they are. 

They came into my life at very different times, and I believe, very different reasons.

  One of my oldest friends, let’s call her Brown Eyes, went to high school with me.  Funny enough, she was a relative of someone else I was friends with, and we never really spoke until we ended up in the same homeroom class. She saw me through a lot of my firsts (first real boyfriend, subsequently the first heartbreak, first time moving away, first year at uni, and when I first met my hubby!)… And I’ve seen many of hers as well.  

 My other best friend, let’s call her Blondie (which she embraces fully, don’t worry), dropped into my life unexpectedly in the last year of my undergrad. This was also one of the hardest times in my life, because my husband had to move to another state for school.  But she filled a hole in my life and brought a lot more than I had expected. We both were in the middle of our personal growth, and we kind of fed off each other and took the best from each other and left the worst. I was looking for a roommate and she was looking for a place to live.  Funny enough, she overheard me telling someone about my problem during class (we were both food science majors, but never really talked before)… And the rest is history! 

Oh yeah, 

And they are kufar. 

For those who don’t know, kufar means “non-Muslim”  in Arabic, and if you didn’t already know,  it’s not very nice.  Honestly, I hate that word. 

 (I’m using it now to make a point) 

 We became close (my best friends and I) before I converted to Islam.  And they are STILL my best friends afterwards. Even though they are still in the states! 

Why? Isn’t their lifestyle contrary to my religious values? 

Maybe.  But they don’t bring that part of their life into our friendship.  

They’ve never tried to bring me to a bar.

They’ve never tried to make me hang out with guys (beside saying hi to their significant others).  

They never questioned my wearing hijab or hinted that I don’t have to wear it. 

They never judged me for the level of Islam I’m at right now. 

And they have always encouraged me to keep learning about my faith, even though it isn’t theirs.

They enjoy talking with me about it! 

They even say Maşallah and ask me to pray for them. 

An atheist and a  Christian have been more understanding and supportive of me than most Muslims I have met (particularly the ones in Turkey).  

And that’s why they’re still my best friends. And why (outside of this post) I won’t call them or any other non-Muslim kufar.  

Being Muslim isn’t necessary to be a good person and a good friend. 
 

Hunt for the Holy Grail- Instant

Instant coffee (rather than filtered) is the typical go-to in Turkey if you want to drink coffee,  but not Turkish coffee.  There are three different types of instant coffee- plain,  2 in 1, and 3 in 1. The 3 in 1 contains powdered milk and sugar in the instant mix, while 2 in 1 comes without the sugar.  Personally,  we usually go for the 3 in 1 so that we don’t have to buy any creamer.  In order to be fair,  I am judging only 3 in 1 plain coffees from each brand.

Flavored coffees (like hazelnut and mocha) are also available,  as are those with foam (köpük) with types like cappuccino.  Specialty instants like these will get their own judgement after I complete a few other categories.

One of the big failings of instant coffee, in my opinion, is that they tend to be very flat rather than bold flavored,  and you can’t really smell the coffee without nearly drowning your nose in the cup.  Let’s see how these brands fair…

NESCAFE

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Nescafe is one of the most popular instant coffee brands in Turkey. Actually,  as I recall,  it is also one of the more easily procured ones in the US as well!  Let’s see how it fairs for a coffee nut:

Taste: 6/10
This coffee is sweet.  Sweet,  sweet, sweet.  Also,  there is almost no true coffee bitterness /boldness in the flavor.  Likely the creamer ratio is too high, binding up the bitter tannins from the coffee into the milk proteins. It’s not bad, but it’s not strong.

Texture: 7/10
As is a typical problem for instants, without the addition of actual creamer,  the coffee is a bit thin.

Aroma: 5/10
This coffee has almost no smell,  unless you stick your nose directly in it.

TOTAL: 6/10

Not bad at all,  but leaves room for improvement.  Likely using plain instant and adding the sugar and creamer yourself would give you better results. But this 3 in 1 really lacks in the boldness I crave,  which carries over into the aroma and taste category.

VIP

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I actually tested the 3 N 1 but all I had to take a picture of was this.

This brand is predominantly carried by BİM grocery stores.  I believe it is the store brand, but I don’t want to lie to you.  I still haven’t figured it out.  Let’s see how they did…

Taste: 8/10
This coffee has a much stronger coffee flavor than Nescafe,  and isn’t quite as sweet.  While the prior is more like a dessert,  this coffee is more like that morning cup I’m looking for

Texture: 7/10
As mentioned before… Instant coffees can’t help themselves

Aroma: 6/10
This brand is slightly stronger in aroma than Nescafe, but not by much.  You can start to smell the coffee from around 3 inches from the cup.

TOTAL: 7/10

This brand’s taste boosted it’s score, but it is still failing in typical instant coffee areas.

CAFEX

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This brand is carried by A101 grocery stores.  Much like VIP,  I believe it is a store brand.  I think the picture may have given it away… This is my favorite instant!

Taste: 9/10
This brand really nails it in taste.  It has a clear coffee boldness and a subtle sweetness /milky flavor that doesn’t over power.  The only reason I don’t give the taste a 10 is because I don’t want to jump the gun when there are brands I haven’t tried.

Texture: 8/10
Maybe it is an illusion created by the very nearly full bodied flavor, but the texture feels slightly creamier/thicker than the others.

Aroma: 9/10
You are able to smell the fullness of traditional coffee as soon as the hot water hits the powder in the cup.  The person sitting beside you will be able to tell you are drinking coffee. AGAIN,  I hesitate for a 10 because I haven’t tried all the brands yet.

TOTAL: 8.5/10

While I am hesitant to find a perfect cup in the instant category,  I did promise to judge each type of coffee alone.  This is definitely my favorite brand of instant right now!  However, there are a few brands I have been suggested that I still need to try.