If someone asks me today about the modern elixir of immortality, my prompt answer would be a cup of steaming, black coffee. It doesn’t matter who you are – coffee is the one energy drink that can make you feel human again after you have been through the worst, as well as prepare you for the most grueling of tasks.
The first time that I had Turkish coffee was when I was visiting the parents of a Turkish friend from college. The experience was so gratifying that I just had to know how the delicious treat was made.
Since then, I have been on the lookout for the best, original recipe for this cultural delight. After searching and experimenting for seven long months about all the ways you can brew a Turkish coffee, I now consider myself an expert in the field. In the following paragraphs, I will share with you everything that I learned about Turkish coffee during this time. Let us begin with the recipe.
What is Turkish Coffee?
Turkish Coffee is a traditional drink prepared by Turkish people that they hold equivalent to coffee. The unique feature of the coffee is how it is unfiltered. The coffee beans are ground extra fine, so it does not ruin the taste while you drink unfiltered drink.
Difference between Turkish Coffee and Regular Coffee?
Two things set Turkish coffee apart from any other coffee you will find in the supermarket – the grind and the roast. These two factors are the elements that are responsible for the distinct, delicious taste of an authentic Turkish tradition.
First, let’s see what’s so special about the grounds. To make Turkish coffee mixture, a single bean is ground into 45,000 small particles! Compare this with drip coffee or espresso for which one bean is ground to about 100 and 3000 particles respectively, and it is easy to understand where the difference originates.
Grinding the beans this fine allows you to get more flavor out of Turkish coffee than any other coffee. As a result, freshly brewed Turkish coffee is way richer and has a more powerful kick than the espresso you picked up from Starbucks on your way to work.
Secondly, re-roasting of the coffee grounds makes a world of difference – as is evident in the case of Turkish coffee. Just like in the case of fine wine, coffee beans also offer their best for a week since they are roasted. Because most coffee that is readily available in the supermarkets is pre-roasted, we tend to miss this sweet window of time and end up with mediocre flavor.
But the recipes for brewing Turkish coffee require you to roast the beans again before preparing coffee. Since this is the only coffee brewing technique that involves this, other brews do not enjoy this exciting punch.
Arabic Coffee vs. Turkish Coffee
Many people confuse Turkish coffee with similar coffees of the Middle Eastern and Arab countries. Though Turkish coffee is regularly confused with Greek, Arabic, and even Lebanese coffee, it is the Arabic coffee that it is most commonly mistaken as.
The reason is not merely that Arabic and Turkish coffee actually have a lot of similarities, but the misconception arises due to the limited geographical knowledge of many people. In fact, the Arabic coffee (also known more traditionally as a qahwa) and Turkish coffee have a plethora of difference.
The first difference between the two is spices. While the Arabic qahwa enjoys a handful of spices in the brew, such as cardamom, saffron, and even rose water. This gives the Arabic coffee an overpowering taste that might not be liked by many.
On the other hand, Turkish coffee is simply finely ground coffee beans, sugar (in most cases), and water. Hence, you can expect a more espresso-like taste to it – though not entirely. Because of the perfect blend of eastern and western elements in the Turkish coffee, many like it better than the highly exotic Arabic coffee.
However, this is not to say that the Arabic coffee – or qahwa – totally sucks. This is only to show that people are more used to having something like the simple yet great Turkish coffee than the Arabic qahwa.
Turkish Coffee vs. Old Espresso
When it comes to taste, then yes – Turkish coffee is much more rich and full of flavor – stronger than an espresso if you will. This is due to the finer grind that is characteristic of Turkish coffee.
However, Turkish coffee contains much less caffeine than an espresso. Therefore, though an espresso may make you lose sleep, Turkish coffee is less likely to make that happen.
Which Coffee Beans to Choose?
These days, you will find many different brands selling Turkish coffee in supermarkets that store Middle Eastern or Mediterranean delicacies. All of these brands have quality coffee grounds that afford you an authentic Turkish experience.
When it comes to beans, any variety can be used to make Turkish coffee. African beans especially give Turkish coffee a tasty, unique twist. Brazilian beans are another favorite with many Turkish coffee drinkers.
How to Brew Turkish Coffee? – The Traditional Way
Brewing Turkish Coffee is all about precision, and making it traditionally requires plenty of practice. Here is how you do it:
1. Get an Ibrik
The first things you need to brew Turkish coffee is an ibrik and exceptional Turkish coffee grounds. Also known as a cezve, an ibrik is a small, wide-bottomed Turkish coffee pot that is primarily used to make this delectable hot beverage. Though technically the coffee can be brewed in any small saucepan, using an ibrik gives the entire experience an air of originality that will otherwise lack.
2. Measure and Pour
Once you have gotten an ibrik and authentic Turkish coffee on your hands, the next thing you do measure cold water to make coffee and pour it in the coffee pot. Take care to measure the water with the cups you will be serving the coffee in rather than a standard cup. Measuring 1.5 cups for every cup of Turkish coffee that you want to make is a good ratio to start with.
3. Add Coffee and Sugar
For each cup of coffee, put in one tablespoon of coffee ground and mix it in the water. Add the sugar, if desired.
For the next 4-5 minutes, heat the mixture on medium heat until it comes to a boil. As it starts to boil, you will see the characteristic froth of Turkish coffee forming at the top of the pot. Scoop up some of this froth into your serving cups and boil the coffee thoroughly.
5. Reheat and Pour
After it has ultimately come to a boil, fill up your serving cups halfway with the coffee. Then return the pot to heat for about half a minute and then fill up the cups all the way to the rim. Take care to pour the coffee slowly so as not to let the froth mix in or sink to the bottom. No authentic Turkish coffee is served without being topped with beautiful, dark froth.
Before you serve the coffee to your guests, offer them a glass of water to cleanse their pallets. This allows them to savor the flavor of the drink to the fullest.
It is customary to serve Turkish coffee with something sweet, be it the ever delectable Turkish delight or a toothsome yet straightforward piece of chocolate. So, include something deliciously sweet on the tray with the coffee cup.
The best Turkish coffee experience is when the coffee is drunk from beautiful little traditional coffee cups. So if you are visiting Turkey anytime soon, remember to buy these when you go buying lanterns or carpets in the bazaar.
An important thing to remember is to start with the eldest in the room when serving Turkish coffee. This is a customary way to pay respect to the eldest person’s age and experience and honor them and hold them in high esteem.
Making Turkish Coffee Without Ibrik
As we discussed earlier, Turkish coffee is usually made in a unique, wide-bottomed utensil called an ibrik or a cezve. However, many coffee enthusiasts either do not have access to a place they sell ibriks or might even consider it an unnecessary expenditure. Though we recommend getting your hands on the small, copper pot, it is possible to still brew Turkish coffee even if you do not have one lying around.
However, when you brew your Turkish coffee in any regular saucepan instead of a designated ibrik, you will not be able to enjoy the full experience of a Turkish coffee. This is due to two things.
Firstly, a regular saucepan lacks the traditional touch of an ibrik or a cezve. Hence, there will always be something lacking in your coffee this way.
Secondly, and more importantly, brewing coffee in a regular saucepan is not likely to get you the amount of froth that an ibrik or cezve will.
We have already discussed how the foam on top of the Turkish coffee is imperial to the experience – both in terms of taste as well as visuals. Turkish coffee is incomplete without the froth layered at the top.
How to Drink Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is served without filtering the grounds from the brew. Therefore, there is an entire layer of coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup. If it is your first time drinking Turkish coffee, you may not know how to deal with this sediment. This is where our expertise comes in.
Because the Turkish coffee is always served with a glass of water, you may think it is there to help you swallow any sediment that has been left in your mouth. However, this is not the case. As discussed earlier, this glass of water is there to help you cleanse your pallet of any remnants of dinner.
After dinner, when you are served the traditional delicacy, do not drink it immediately. Instead, give the finely ground coffee time to settle down at the bottom of your cup. When the coffee has cooled down enough to not to burn your tongue or flood your mouth with sediment, then take your first sip.
Expert Turkish coffee drinkers can drain the entire cup of coffee without getting any sediment in the mouth. What do you do with the leftover residue?
If you are a regular coffee drinker, you probably have heard of Turkish coffee before even if you have not had a chance to try it yet. Though every person’s coffee preferences vary, Turkish coffee is something that most coffee enthusiasts would like to indulge in. So, whether you have an Instagram full of pictures with a pumpkin spiced lattes, or you catch an espresso every morning to work – give the Turkish treat a try and tell us in the comments how you liked it.
Turkish coffee is not just soothing as a drink, but also very beneficial to your health. Among the several other benefits, some are:
- Pain-numbing properties.
- Decreases asthma risk.
- Strengthens bones.
- Helps stress release.
- Helps clear depression.
1. Is Turkish Coffee bad for My Health?
No, Turkish Coffee is anything but bad for you. In fact, coffee is excellent for your health. it carries several health benefits that you can gain if you regularly drink it.
2. How Do You Predict Your Future Using Turkish Coffee?
After drinking the coffee, turn the cup upside down. This will cause the exceptional coffee grounds that had settled at the bottom to run down the walls of the cups in different shapes and patterns. The coffee mug can then be read. This is done by studying the different patterns the streaks of sediments have left in the empty cup and guessing what is in store for the coffee drinker.
3. Are these Predictions Really True?
Many believe that the elders that read your cup really can predict the future with it. But, of course, there is no scientific evidence of any such idea. But true or not, the activity is engaging and fun. So, the next time you do sit with your friends to enjoy some Turkish coffee, try to enjoy it.
4. Will Coffee Beans make A Difference?
Of course, the quality of your coffee beans will determine the flavor profile for your Turkish Coffee. But you do not need the very best coffee beans to have a good experience. Decent Turkish coffee beans are enough to give you the essence.
5. Can I have Turkish Coffee While on A Diet?
Yes, of course, you can. Turkish coffee does not have as many calories to ruin your diet. In fact, you can use light calories to fill in when you are craving a huge dessert.
6. How Much Sugar is Ideal?
Sugar really is a personal choice. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add sugar to your preference. But we should say that sugar is not really a good thing.