How to make Turkish coffee?

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Most people who have been to Turkey might claim that the Turks drink tea and not coffee, as the Turks are good at offering tea wherever they go.

The Turks however, are happy to drink Nescafe on a daily basis, but many appreciate the special Turkish coffee, which has a long tradition behind it.

How to make Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee is the oldest way of drinking coffee and has remained largely unchanged to this day.

However, it is not enough to boil ground coffee with a little water to make Turkish coffee, it takes experience and a lot of care. 

But the result is worth it.

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How to brew Turkish coffee?

Good Turkish coffee should be brewed slowly, over very low heat, if possible in the traditional coffee maker, made of copper with the interior in silver enamelled, with a large base and a narrower top.

The water is heated to 60 ° C and the coffee is added. 

Once the coffee powder is added, the temperature is brought to approximately 90 ° C, without boiling the water. 

The perfect proportion is 1 to 7, which is a 10-gram teaspoon for a small cup.

After a minute the powder is mixed once with a wooden spoon and the sugar is added, without removing it from the heat.

Turkish coffee is served at different levels of sweetness: sade (bitter, no sugar), az şekerli (slightly sweet), orta şekerli (medium sweet),  çok şekerli (very sweet). 

The bitter, sweeter version doesn’t taste a bit extreme, while a teaspoon and a half is probably the best version for enjoying this drink.

After 2-3 minutes from the time the water is hot, the coffee is served in the cups and brought to the hosts. 

Boiling coffee too long gives an unpleasant “cooked” or “burnt” taste while boiling too little or at too low a temperature results in under-extracted coffee with no flavor or aromas.

The taste of Turkish coffee

The method of Turkish coffee is what characterizes the coffee, it can therefore be made on different types of beans.

No matter which coffee bean is to be used for Turkish coffee, it must be extra finely ground. 

Making Turkish coffee is about care and understanding of the process. 

It may take some trying to hit the authentic taste of Turkish coffee.

Turkish coffee tastes intense and that is also why it is served in small cups, in the style of the Italian espresso cups.

Turkish coffee can be recognized by the small cups, the fresh coffee aroma and the frothy surface. 

The Turkish coffee is drunk slowly and by small sips so that all the taste nuances of the coffee are enjoyed with each coffee sip.

An old Turkish saying goes:

"Coffee must be black as hell, strong as death & sweet as love".

Turkish coffee can not be made in a coffee machine or with water from an electric kettle.

Turkish coffee is prepared in a cezve, which is a small jug, with a long handle.

In the old days, you could see polished cezve jugs in any Turkish kitchen.

Today there are cezve jugs in copper, steel and even in an electric version.

A cezve can be bought in any hardware store in Turkey and can be bought at home, from this year’s holiday to Turkey. Outside Turkey, there are very few shops that carry special Turkish coffee makers.

Only speciality stores have a small selection. But don’t worry, Amazon is always available 24-7.

pouring turkish coffee

How to serve Turkish coffee?

Let it cool for at least two minutes before drinking it, so that the powder settles on the bottom, and should not be mixed. 

To drink it, be careful to tilt the cup slightly because the very fine coffee powder quickly ends up in your mouth – which is rather unpleasant.

In Turkey and in many Arab countries, but also in Greece, it is served in traditional cups with a glass of cold water, to be drunk first to rinse the mouth and better enjoy the coffee. 

In Istanbul, the tasting ends with a Turkish delight, soft gelatin flavored with rose or fruit, which blends perfectly with the taste of the coffee.

Even for the classic espresso!

Coffee's road to Turkey

The Turks’ relationship to coffee can be traced all the way back to around the 16th century when the Ottomans brought coffee from Asia to Europe via the Silk Road that ran through present-day Turkey.

The Silk Road, also called the Silk Route, was an international trade route where traders with their camels went between east and west, to trade in their exclusive goods including silk, precious metals, spices and more.

The Silk Road has existed for thousands of years and still to this day you can see traces of the Silk Road in Turkey. 

The most visible traces are the ruins of the many caravan stations, which are found in several places around Turkey. 

The caravan stations were located with approx. 40 km. intervals and here traders, regardless of nationality and religion, could stay for free for 3 days while both the merchant and his animals were provided with food and drink. 

In Turkey, the ruins of about 120 caravan stations have been found, some in better condition than others.

Some of the best-preserved caravan stations are today used for events, such as concerts or various shows with traditional Turkish dance.

The first traces of a Turkish coffee culture date from 1555, when the first coffee house was established in Istanbul. The coffee house in Istanbul formed the basis of Turkish coffee houses, which are still widely used in present-day Turkey.

The coffee houses formed the framework for a social gathering and to this day the Turks still go to coffee houses to strengthen social relations.

Turkish coffee is not one to be drunk quickly, but coffee to be enjoyed slowly and in good company.

Turkish coffee is important for the Turks, as coffee is said to be good for both body and soul.

Fun Turkish Coffee Traditions

But it is not only in Turkish coffee houses that Turkish coffee is a popular beverage, it is also drunk at the home of Turkish families, where there are several traditions associated with it.

Some of the most well-known traditions are these:

After drinking her coffee, unmarried Turkish women turn their empty coffee cup down into the saucer, to read their future husband’s name in the coffee grounds.

If they cannot read the name in the saucer, it is because it has not yet been decided who the woman will marry.

When a Turkish couple gets engaged, coffee is served for family and friends. 

But in the upcoming groom’s coffee, the upcoming bride has put salt in, instead of sugar. 

If the future groom drinks his coffee without preferring a mine, then he has truly proved his love, for his future bride.

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