What is Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee is a traditional method of preparing and serving coffee that has its roots in the Middle East, including countries like Turkey, Greece, and the Levant. It is distinct from other coffee brewing methods due to its finely ground coffee beans, specific preparation technique, and unique serving style.

Here's how Turkish coffee is typically made:

Ingredients:

  • Finely ground coffee beans (ideally, specifically ground for Turkish coffee)
  • Cold water
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cardamom (optional, for flavoring)

Equipment:

  • A special small pot called a "cezve" or "ibrik"
  • A small spoon
  • A heat source (stove)

Steps:

  1. Measurements: For each cup of coffee, you'll typically use one heaping teaspoon of finely ground coffee, one teaspoon of sugar (if desired), and a demitasse cup of water.
  2. Mixing: Place the coffee, sugar (if using), and cold water in the cezve. You can also add a pinch of ground cardamom for flavor if you like.
  3. Stirring: Gently stir the mixture until the coffee and sugar (if using) are fully dissolved in the water.
  4. Heating: Place the cezve on the heat source (traditionally a small flame) and begin heating it. It's important to heat it slowly to allow the coffee to dissolve without boiling.
  5. Foaming: As the mixture warms, it will start to form a frothy layer on top. This is called the "kaimaki" or "crema," and it's a prized characteristic of Turkish coffee.
  6. Adjusting Sweetness: If you want to adjust the sweetness, you can add more sugar at this stage, but do not stir.
  7. Boiling: Once the coffee starts to heat and rise, but before it reaches a full boil, remove it from the heat to prevent it from boiling over.
  8. Pouring: Pour the coffee slowly and evenly into a small cup. The grounds will settle at the bottom.

Turkish coffee is traditionally served without milk or cream. It's often accompanied by a glass of water to cleanse the palate. The coffee grounds that settle at the bottom of the cup are typically not consumed.

The preparation and serving of Turkish coffee are considered an art form, and it's an important part of cultural hospitality in the regions where it's popular. It's a rich, strong coffee with a unique flavor profile, and it's enjoyed for its bold taste and ritualistic preparation.