For coffee enthusiasts, the world of coffee is more than just the waking sip of caffeine to get you started on your day.
It’s about a specific art that is passed down from generations and survived the test of time. It embodies tradition and culture —and of course, it tastes really good.
One of the prominent types of coffee is Turkish coffee. Regardless of your coffee knowledge, chances are you still probably heard of it or at least recognize the unique brewing process using their traditional wares.
If you’ve been to Turkey and tried this type of coffee the traditional and unique way, then you know that Turkish coffee deserves the recognition and acclaim that surrounds this beverage.
The good news for coffee aficionados is that this wonderful coffee can be easily made in the comforts of your own kitchen. But first, let’s talk about what makes Turkish coffee a unique identity.
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What is Turkish Coffee?
Turkish coffee is more characterized by the brewing process itself. In making this coffee, it involves a traditional method of brewing using a cezve or ibrik.
A cezve is a type of coffee pot that is relatively small in size and has a long handle with a unique pouring lip that is specifically designed to make Turkish coffee.
The volume of a cezve is usually enough for two to three small servings of Turkish coffee. Cezve is traditionally made with copper or brass, with some variations of gold or silver.
The basics of brewing Turkish coffee are slowly heating the cezve with finely ground coffee and water. From there on, there are a lot of technique variations that can be used but the crucial point is making sure that the coffee boils enough to make a foam even without the added dairy.
Turkish coffee isn’t filtered, and it’s usually served on smaller cups. The idea behind it is for you to sit down and take your time to drink and enjoy this drink. Hence, you have to wait until the coffee grounds sink to the bottom before taking small sips.
Also, you might want to try to get your fortunes read after drinking Turkish coffee! Fortune tellers in Turkey would often use the remaining coffee grounds on your cup to tell what life has in store for you.
A Brief History of Turkish Coffee
Did you know that Turkish coffee is one of the earliest coffee preparation methods ever recorded?
Turkish coffee was first introduced in Turkey back in the 1540s. It’s widely believed that this brewing method was invented by the Turkish Governor of Yemen Ozdemir Pasha after discovering coffee in his region.
Immediately, the Governor brought the coffee beans to the Sultan to gain his attention. The staff then finely ground the beans using a mortar and pestle then brewed them using a special pot.
With its success, Turkish coffee became a staple drink for the rich and high-ranking officials. The Kahveci Usta was established to be the coffee professionals that solely make Turkish coffee. Eventually, these professionals set up their own coffee shops and houses which made Turkish coffee more accessible to the public.
Turkish coffee also was once a symbol of rebellion. Back in 1656, Turkish coffee shops were forcibly closed because it was believed that these houses became meeting places to talk about politics. The people then fought back by home-brewing their own Turkish coffee as a sign of defiance.
On a lighter note, this coffee played a deeper integration to the culture of Turkey. In marriage, for example, the bride would brew Turkish coffee for her future mother-in-law to prove her worthiness as a wife. It was seen as a shameful thing if the bride wasn’t able to foam the coffee properly.
In addition to that, the bride would also prepare a cup for her suitor. She would put salt on it to signify how interested she is —the more salt, the lower his chances. If the suitor could drink the salty coffee without any hesitation, then he would have proven his worthiness to be a husband.
What Beans Do You Use For Turkish Coffee?
Fun fact: there’s no exclusive Turkish coffee bean used to make this unique coffee drink!
Like we stated before, Turkish coffee is focused on the brewing method rather than the type of coffee beans used. So technically, you can use any coffee beans you want.
However, I still recommend getting coffee beans from your local specialty coffee roasters or arabica beans available in your area. This is to maximize freshness. Just type “coffee roasters near me” and google will show you the best roasteries.
The majority of Turkish coffee brewers use Arabica varieties since it’s considered to be the best type to use for that brewing method. Some would use Robusta or a blend of both. But in end, it is a matter of taste preference.
How to Make Turkish Coffee
Making Turkish coffee might be intimidating at first, especially with the amount of effort and attention that goes into it.
But with a bit of practice and dedication, you’ll eventually find yourself making this traditional brew right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
What You’ll Need:
Finely ground coffee of your choice
Sugar to taste
1. Take your coffee beans and finely grind them.
The coarseness you’re looking for should be finer than espresso grounds. You can pre-grind the beans on a grinder and then use mortar and pestle to make it finer. The ideal texture should be similar.
2. Add water to te cezve.
Turkish coffee is served in a demitasse so measure about 4oz per person.
3. Add sugar to taste and completely dissolve it.
4. Then, bring water to a complete boil.
Traditionally, you would put the cezve over an open fire (gas range). But some modern cezve can be used with induction stoves.
5. Remove the cezve from the heat
Once boiled, remove the cezve from the heat and add your finely ground coffee. The ideal ratio is one tablespoon per demitasse. You can adjust this ratio eventually to your taste.
6. Add the spices in.
You can add cinnamon, anise, clove, nutmeg, or a combination. The ratio is about a pinch per demitasse. You can omit this step if you don’t want to infuse your coffee with spices.
7. Bring the cezve back to heat and boil it again.
Once it’s boiled, immediately remove it from the heat. Carefully skim the first foam and discard it.
8. Mix the coffee to break up the clumps
Mix the coffee to break up the clumps and heat it up again to boil. Repeat the process again but this time, don’t remove the foam and let it sit on the coffee.
9. Rest the coffee for about four minutes
Rest the coffee for about four minutes to let your spices infuse.
10. After four minutes, bring the coffee back to the heat.
Control the heat source to make sure that the coffee won’t overboil.
11. Stir the top of the coffee.
It’s important that you should only stir the top part and not until the bottom. You don’t want to re-combine the sediments on the bottom. Continuously stir until the surface becomes glossy with brown to black foam.
12. Serve the coffee in the demitasse.
Once you’re satisfied with the amount of foam, serve the coffee in the demitasse. You want to have equal amounts of foam on each cup if you’re making for more than one person. You can do this by scooping the foam with a spoon into the cup before pouring the coffee.
13. Let the coffee sit for about a minute
Let the coffee sit for about a minute or two before drinking it. Since the coffee isn’t filtered, you want to consume it in less than 10 minutes to avoid over-steeping.
14. Serve your Turkish coffee with a piece of baklava or Turkish delight.
Cleaning your Cezve
Cleaning the cezve is not that complicated. It’s better to use a damp cloth and water to rinse out and clean the coffee pot. Don’t use any abrasive material or scrub the pot since it will damage the lining.
Rinsing it out and wiping it clean will do the trick. Traditional Turkish coffee brewers will actually tell you that it will bring more flavor to the coffee, the same way that your food tastes better in a seasoned wok. But if you want to use soap, only use the mild ones and don’t load the cezve in the dishwasher.
Is Turkish Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?
Both Turkish coffee and espresso have bold and rich flavors. In terms of tastes, Turkish coffee is stronger than espresso since it’s served unfiltered. Plus, the coffee will continuously steep until you finish the whole cup.
On the other hand, if we measure the caffeine content, espresso is much higher. Turkish coffee only contains 25mg of caffeine per fluid oz while espresso has a little over 50mg per fluid oz.
Our Takeaway: Is Turkish Coffee Worth It?
For most coffee lovers, it is an absolute must to try out every type of coffee there is. If you’re making this at home, it is a bit more cumbersome to do properly compared to your standard brewed coffee.
However, we believe that Turkish coffee is truly worth it. Aside from it is delicious, there’s something amazing about the fact that you’ve put the time and effort into your cup, and you’re forced to sit down and savor every moment. It’s a form of art and tradition that helps you slow down and appreciate every drop of your coffee.
Plus, you can also have a bit of fun fortune-telling once you’re done with it! Just place the saucer on top of your cup and turn it over. Once you have the leftover coffee grounds, you can take the extra step to figure out what the grounds meant or just make up your own story for your enjoyment.