Turkish coffee is an amazing preparation method that actually uses no filter and leaves the coffee grounds in your cup! It is a practice steeped in tradition and is actually recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” of Turkey.
Turkish coffee preparation calls for the finest coffee grind possible, far finer than standard with any other preparation. This was traditionally done with a mortar and pestle but now-a-days you can get Turkish coffee grinders custom made for this purpose. Some standard electric coffee grinders even have a specific setting for Turkish Coffee. Ultimately, you can use anything that will give you a very fine grind.
The grounds are then added to hot (but not boiling) water along with sugar (if desired) and stirred until the sugar dissolves and the coffee sinks to the bottom. The mixture is then simmered until it comes to a light boil. There is no more stirring done as of this point to avoid disturbing the foam which has formed; achieving the thickest foam possible is a personal point of pride amongst great brewers. Just prior to beginning to boil, it is removed from heat and allowed to cool a little before the process is repeated once or twice more.
The potential for burning, or over extracting is extremely high, and thus the preparation of Turkish coffee is considered a true art form.
How To Make A Turkish Coffee – Step by Step Instructions
- Grind the coffee very finely: It’s very important to have an extremely fine coffee grind as the coffee grounds aren’t ever filtered out. Because of this, we want to have the finest grind possible so the coffee grounds settle at the bottom of the cup before drinking. You want something much finer than a standard espresso grind. While a burr grinder may do the job, your best bet is to find a grinder intended for Turkish coffee.
- Get the right equipment: The traditional vessel for making a Turkish Coffee is called the Cezve. It’s a small, flat bottomed pot which is traditionally made of brass or copper, but was also sometimes made of precious metals like gold or silver. Modern Cezveler can be made from stainless steel, aluminum, or ceramic. It has a long handle to keep you hand safe from the heat source and a spout designed to easily pour the coffee out. The traditional Turkish cup is called a fincan, and this is a very small cup. At about 2.5 fluid ounces, it’s actually a little smaller than a demi-tasse.
- Add Water: Add one fincan worth of water for each cup you intend to make into the
- Add Coffee: Add 1 – 1.5 heaping tablespoon of coffee per cup you’re making to the Cezve and allow it to float at the surface for a minute or so. These should eventually sink to the bottom
- *Optional* Add Sweetener: If you’d like to add some sweetener, now is the time. Tradition dictates that it’s your responsibility as the server to ensure everyone’s coffee is to their specification.
- Heat It Up: Heat the Cezve over medium heat. When the coffee begins to sink into the water, stir gently for about 1 minute.
- Don’t let it boil!: It’s crucial that the coffee is never allowed to boil! If you start to notice the coffee starting to boil you should remove it from heat for a few seconds. The coffee should remain on the verge of boiling at all times. You will start to notice some foam building at the top of the coffee, this is very important! The foam is a cherished part of the experience and must be preserved as much as possible.
- Pour It: Once you have a thick luxurious foam at the top (roughly 4 minutes) get ready to pour out the coffee asap. If you’re making a single cup, or are extremely brave, you can try pour the coffee directly out into the cups using the spout on the Cezve. It’s a little tricky, and the goal is to pour it quickly at first to force the foam into the bottom of the cups, and then pour out the rest slowly so as not to disturb the foam too much. If you’re making multiple cups it is a lot easier to spoon out the foam into the individual fincans and then slowly pour in the actual coffee.
- Serve it: Turkish coffee is traditionally always served with a glass of water. This allows your guest to cleanse their pallet before enjoying. Once served, you should allow the coffee to rest for a minute so that the coffee grounds settle to the bottom of the cup. The last little sip containing the grounds is typically discarded.
It’s certainly a bit of a process, but there is definitely something to be said about the old ways of doing things. While it’s unlikely this will become a regular part of your routine, it does make for an extra special treat when you are in the mood! Happy Brewing!