Turkish coffee is one of the most delicious and popular traditional coffee drinks in the world. As we are Turkish, we decided to make a comprehensive guide on Turkish coffee and we think every coffee aficionado should learn more about this coffee because it has a very rich culture and history. In this article, we will talk about what it is, its history, how to make it, and other cool stuff about Turkish coffee. Without further ado, let’s begin our journey!
What Is Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee, or in Turkish “türk kahvesi”, is basically a coffee brewed by using very finely ground coffee beans without filtering which is sometimes called “decoction”. It is not surprising to hear it uses one of the oldest forms of coffee brewing because it’s been around since the early 1400s. It is not a type of coffee bean but a preparation method for brewing coffee.
Turkish coffee is stronger than regular filter coffee but weaker than espresso. It uses 10g of coffee per 100ml of water ratio. It can be brewed with sugar or some spices such as cardamom and clove. However, in Turkey, it is often served in a small glass of water with a sweet treat such as Turkish delight.
It is prepared in a Turkish coffee pot called “cezve”, which is a small, long-handled pot with a pouring lip that can be sometimes called “ibrik”. However, sometimes Turkish coffee can be brewed on the sand. The resulting coffee is called “hot sand coffee”
Serving the Turkish coffee is made in very small cups that contain around 60ml of coffee which is almost equal to 4-5 sips. After drinking the coffee, there can be some remnants of the coffee which are called “telve”. Telve is used for fortune-telling tradition in Turkey.
History Of The Turkish Coffee
After appearing for the first time in the Ottoman Empire, Turkish coffee was forbidden because of the interpretations of the Quran that considered strong coffee as a drug. However, due to the substantial popularity of this drink, the sultan lifted this prohibition.
Turkish coffee appeared in Britain and France in the 17th century. The first coffee house in Britain was opened by Ottoman Jew in the mid 17th century which helped the spread of Turkish style coffee.
Turkish Coffee Culture
As we mentioned above, Turkish coffee is full of culture and history and you can feel more connected with Turkish coffee if you learn some of its cultural aspects.
The grounds left at the bottom of the Turkish coffee cups are called “telve” and it is sometimes used for telling fortunes. When you finish your coffee, you turn over your cup into the saucer to cool and the fortune-teller interprets the patterns of the coffee grounds.
Turkish coffee is also a part of the traditional Turkish wedding custom. The bridegroom’s parents must visit the young girl’s family. During this meeting, the young girl serves Turkish coffee to the guest and for the groom. When it comes to the groom’s coffee, it is prepared using salt to assess the groom’s character and patience.
Last but not least, the cultural part of Turkish coffee is that it is a part of the daily routine for Turkish people. There is a word in Turkish called “kahvaltı” which means breakfast and is a merger of two words “kahve” (coffee) and “alt” (under, below). Therefore, kahvaltı means “pre-coffee” which means food eaten before the Turkish coffee.
What Makes Turkish Coffee Special?
- It Teaches PatienceIf you want to get a perfect cup of Turkish coffee, you have to cook it slowly. Turkish coffee brewing requires about 5-10 minutes and it can’t be rushed. It is worth the wait.
- It Makes You RelaxJust like most of the coffees, when you sit down and enjoy your Turkish coffee, it can help you to get relaxed. You will feel more relaxed as you drink it.
- It Encourages ConversationSince Turkish coffee is drunk with family, friends, or in business meetings in Turkey, we can say it really encourages conversation and makes you closer with your loved ones!
How To Order Turkish Coffee
Since this coffee is special to Turkey, you might have a hard time ordering this amazing coffee when you go to a local coffee shop in Turkey. However, we prepared this basic table to help you out.
|Turkish coffee||Türk kahvesi|
|With a little sugar||Az şekerli|
|With medium sugar||Orta şekerli|
|With lots of sugar||Çok şekerli|
How To Drink Turkish Coffee
- To start with, you should never stir your Turkish coffee. If you have some coffee grounds floating on your coffee, just wait for them to settle to the bottom of the cup.
- Wait about 4 minutes for your coffee to cool down to experience the flavors better.
- Due to the perpetual heat in the cup, coffee can continue to extract so it’s important to drink the coffee within 10 minutes to avoid over-extraction (bitterness).
- If you want to drink it with sugar, you can’t add sugar to your cup. Sugar must be added during the brewing process. Order your coffee sweetened if you want to drink Turkish coffee with sugar.
How To Make Turkish Coffee
If you wonder what makes Turkish coffee so unique, the grind is one of the reasons. Thanks to the finest ground Turkish coffee beans, you can extract more flavors from them.
Since Turkish coffee is non-filtered, when the water heats up, you are simply re-roasting your beans. Therefore you shouldn’t heat the water first.
If you don’t have a Turkish coffee grinder in your home, don’t worry! You can grind your coffee beans at your local store to a Turkish grind setting or you can buy instant Turkish coffee.
What You’ll Need
- Turkish Coffee Grinder
- Coffee Beans
- Cezve (İbrik)
- Measure the amount of cold water you need (10g of coffee per 100ml of water).
- Fill the Turkish coffee pot (cezve or ibrik) with water and put it onto the stove. Turn the heat to medium-high (until the water heats up).
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of coffee per Turkish coffee cup (about 3oz). Don’t stir, let the coffee float on the water for a while.
- Add sugar but still don’t stir. Let the water heat up for a while.
- When the coffee starts to sink into the water and the water is warm enough to dissolve your sugar, stir the mixture several times and turn down the heat to low. You should stir until the brew starts to foam.
- When you see some bubble rings forming on the surface, turn down the heat a little bit lower and move the pot away from the heating surface. Bubbles should be very small at this moment.
- In this stage, you should watch your brew carefully. Never boil the mixture otherwise you can ruin your coffee. Just wait for the brew to form a thick froth.
- Wait in the foaming stage as long as you can but never let it boil. If your brew begins to heat up and starts to rise, move it away from the heating surface again. Repeat this foam-creating process 1-2 times until your foam is raised and cold enough to drink.
As this coffee has a rich cultural and historical background, the serving is a little bit different than other coffees.
First of all, if you want to serve Turkish coffee traditionally, you should have a glass of room temperature water and a sweet treat such as Turkish delight near the coffee. Another thing that is a tradition in Turkey is that the eldest guest in the room gets the coffee first as a sign of respect. In addition, the youngest girl in the family serves the coffee.
Can I Grind The Coffee At Home?
Yes, maybe you can but it is very hard due to the very fine grind setting. You might have to upgrade your coffee grinder.
What Can I Add To My Turkish Coffee
Other than sugar, you can add so many things. For example, you can add milk, cardamom or other spices that you think can go well with your coffee.
What Kind Of Coffee/Roast Should I Use For Turkish Coffee?
You can use almost any coffee bean you want. When it comes to roast, you should use darker roasts to make real Turkish coffee.
Can I Make Turkish Coffee Without Cezve or Ibrik?
Using cezve is one of the most essential parts of the Turkish coffee so you should try to use cezve. However, if you can’t access cezve, you can make Turkish coffee without it but it won’t taste the same as cezve.
What Does Turkish Coffee Taste Like?
Flavor of the Turkish coffee is bold but not that smoky. It is condensed like espresso and has a strong bittersweet flavor. You can add sugar to make it sweeter.
Should I Drink The Grounds In Turkish Coffee?
No, you are not supposed to drink the grounds that are in the bottom of your cup. However, if you drink them by accident, don’t worry. It just tastes bad.
Is Turkish Coffee Arabica Or Robusta?
In general, Turkish coffee is made from 100% arabica coffee beans. Since Turkish coffee goes well with dark roasts, arabica coffee beans are the best coffee beans for Turkish coffee.
In conclusion, this delicious coffee is worth learning because of its rich history and cultural background. Now that you have learned almost everything you need to know about Turkish coffee, you can start making your coffee. If you have some questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments section!
My world consists of guitar, music, and coffee. I spent years preparing coffees at home and learning more about coffee. As a result of this, I have learned so much about coffee, and in Coffee Magazine, I try my best to share my knowledge about coffee and its culture. Click here for detailed information about me.