Even if it’s not so consumed in the country, coffee is quite a big thing in Turkey, it’s one of the oldest coffee cultures in the world.
In fact, people’s prefer tea to coffee. But its history needs a mention, especially when it has deeps roots like the Turkey one.
So, today, we are going to have a look at Turkish coffee, something that resembles a Moka pot cup of coffee. Turkish coffee is also a way to describe the required grind setting to achieve the proper drink.
But there’s more than just the coffee. Since 2013, Turkish coffee is part of the Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This beverage does deserve an introduction as its history dated Turkish coffee more than 500 years ago, back in the Ottoman Empire.
Turkish coffee: a bit of history
During the Ottoman Empire, Turkish coffee was drunk by the Turkish population. It was initially forbidden by the Quran, the religious text of Islam, who considered the beverage a drug. But due to its popularity, it was then available to anyone in Turkey and also abroad where, in the mid of the 17th Century, was drunk by the England and France’s coffeehouses (it was a Turkish Jew that opened the first coffeehouse in Britain).
So, what’s a Turkish coffee?
As said previously, a Turkish coffee tastes similar to a Moka pot coffee. As any immersion method, it requires a brewer. The one to make Turkish coffee is called Ibrik or cezve, in Turkey. You will need then, a real Turkish coffee grinder, which is the only one capable of grinding very fine for this beverage.
You can purchase a Turkish coffee grinder here.
Now you have everything you need to make a delicious Turkish coffee.
I’m showing you know two different ways of making Turkish coffee: the traditional one and the “geeky”, speciality one.
Traditional Vs speciality turkish coffee
According to the tradition, Turkish coffee is made by following these few, simple steps:
- Measure the water with a cup and put it inside the ibrik: a cup of water is equal to a cup of coffee so just add another cup if there’s another friend and so on;
- Add the sugar to the water and then the ground coffee and stir them together before putting under the heater;
- Put the ibrik into the heater over medium heat: after a few minutes, take a spoon and remove the bubbles (and some coffee solids) that are going to be formed on the surface. This has to be done all the time that new bubbles happen to form;
- Remove the ibrik as soon as the coffee starts boiling to prevent any bitter, burnt taste;
- Finally, pour gently to the cup to preserve the crema of you Turkish coffee on top: do not stir the coffee, just wait a couple of minutes for the solids to lay down to the bottom.
- You’re ready to enjoy your Turkish coffee: bear in mind that it might take up to 10 minutes to make it. Serve along with Turkish delight.
Now, let’s see the Turkish coffee in a third wave way.
Here are the steps of making a speciality Turkish coffee:
- Measure the water and the coffee with a scale: you should aim to brew with a ratio of 1.9-1.12 according to your taste;
- Water has to be warm to reduce the total time of extraction and no sugar needs to be added: by reducing the time of the extraction you avoid over-extraction;
- Add the fine coffee to the ibrik along with the water and put the ibrik over the gas heater: you need to grind the coffee very fine close to the cocoa powder. If you do not have the chance to get a high-end electric grinder, look for a Turkish coffee hand grinder;
- After a minute, stir the coffee to make sure all the grounds of coffee are completely wet; this will lead to an even extraction;
- Your total brew should be within 2.30 minutes: if coffee stars boiling too early, you can play with the fire by getting your ibrik less heat and so controlling the brewing process (next time you should lower a bit the flame). Bear in mind that your coffee should never boil;
- Boil the coffee twice: when it begins to boil, remove the foam into the serving cup, then put the ibrik again over the heat source and boil for another time;
- After pouring the coffee into a demitasse cup, wait a couple of minutes to let the coffee grounds to settle down (into a demitasse cup the coffee grounds settle at the bottom unlike any other cups), break the crust and enjoy!
A few interesting facts
- Traditionally, you should not stir the coffee while it’s heating;
- Traditionally, you should add the desired amount of sugar (up to 3 teaspoons) during the brewing process (not just before drinking it) and not mixing it: wait for it to caramelize. You can also add cardamom or other spices if desired. Do not add milk or cream;
- Sand was used to gradually transfer heat to the ibrik: it gives you total control over the heat but nowadays, it’s most likely to brew with an induction stove;
- The ibrik should be made with the right material such as brass to prevent over-extraction by heating the water gradually;
- Turkish coffee is usually served with water on the side to cleanse your palate before the first sip.
And now the eternal question?
Is Turkish coffee stronger than espresso?
Yes, it is indeed. Turkish coffee is an unfiltered method which means a higher coffee soluble solid content is extracted. And it also brews for longer. But if we have a look at the caffeine content per serving, espresso is stronger than Turkish coffee.
For who is it for?
For the passionate one that like a strong, rich, full-bodied cup. Perfectly describes by an ancient Turkish proverb as: “coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love”.
You should not look for fruity or floral beans, but a medium roast profile with chocolatey notes.
And remember, Turkey coffee beans do not exist 🙂
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.