- 1 History of Turkish coffee
- 2 The Social Importance of Turkish coffee
- 3 How to make Turkish coffee – The Technique
- 4 UNESCO Cultural Heritage list
- 5 Turkish Coffee and fortune telling
“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love.” – Turkish proverb
Turkish coffee is a very distinctive brewing method that is made in a special pot called cezve, which has a wide bottom, a narrower neck, a long handle and a spout. This is served in a miniature coffee cup, which is known as finjans that looks narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. Turkish coffee is not a new wonder; it dates back to the 16th century and is perhaps one of the oldest styles of brewing coffee that is popular even today. It is made with high-quality Arabica beans from Central America and Brazil, that is first blended and then roasted to a medium-light level and is finally composed into a fine grind. The distinct taste, aroma, preparation, and presentation of a Turkish coffee lend to it an exclusive identity. In this article, we will give you an overall guide to preparing Turkish coffee – from its history to the key considerations, to the method, and finally the ingredients so that at the end of this article you can prepare for yourself and your loved one’s authentic lip-smacking Turkish coffee.
History of Turkish coffee
Two Syrian traders introduced coffee in Turkey in the mid-1500s and it was by the mid-17th century that it became a significant part of the Ottoman Court, and was considered a celebratory drink for elaborate ceremonies. The Sultan was served this drink by his coffee makers.
The Social Importance of Turkish coffee
It also became an important part of marriage ceremonies to an extent that women in the harem had to receive thorough training regarding how to prepare the perfect brew of Turkish coffee. Therefore, a potential groom judged a woman on the basis of her coffee-making skills, among other major factors. Even to this date, potential grooms judge women by her Turkish coffee-making skills. Interesting, isn’t?
Items required in making Turkish coffee
Here are the essential items to keep in mind when you prepare Turkish coffee:
- An ibrik or cezve: An ibrik or a Cezve is a pot designed specially to make Turkish coffee, with its body and handle made of brass or copper. It comes with a long handle that is helpful to avoid burning one’s hand, and the brim is designed to serve the coffee.
- A heat source: Ibriks were traditionally heated on the hot sands of the Middle East. Unless you’re making a trip there soon, we recommend using your stove. Both gas and electric stovetops work.
- Fresh coffee beans: Turkish coffee can be made with coffee of any roast level, but it’s important that the coffee you use is fresh. The brewing process relies heavily on a foaming phenomenon, and the gasses in fresh coffee help produce foam. Stale coffee that’s fully degassed won’t produce nearly as much foam, which is the best part of a cup of Turkish coffee.
- A grinder: The grind must be very fine, like talcum powder. If you struggle to get a grinder that can achieve this level of fineness, we recommend buying a Turkish hand grinder. It is worth it! Turkish coffee is made using the finest of all grind settings — even finer than espresso.
- Sugar: Old recipes sometimes include other spices, such as cardamom or anise. These spices were used to mask poor quality coffee, though.
- A metal spoon: Any metal spoon will do, but a traditional Turkish teaspoon is slightly smaller than standard teaspoons. Turkish spoons used for making coffee measured 1 centimeter by 0.5 centimeters. If you don’t have a traditional Turkish teaspoon, use just under 1 teaspoon for every teaspoon in the brewing directions.
Key considerations to keep in mind while preparing Turkish coffee
- Cups to serve Turkish coffee are traditionally made of porcelain and they hold a quarter of a regular cup at the maximum.
- A copper cezve will give you the best results.
- The heat level is really important. It is advisable to make the coffee over very low heat. This will give the water time to absorb the flavor and aroma of the grounded beans.
- If you wish to make a successful Turkish coffee, the coffee beans have to be finely grounded. Coffee for espresso or drip machines will not be favorable for making Turkish coffee.
- Mocha, Java, Viennese or oil-free Arabic beans are traditionally preferred in making Turkish coffee.
Roast the coffee beans to medium brown and then grind them using a mortar and pestle or an electric coffee grinder.
How to make Turkish coffee – The Technique
If you are planning to make Turkish coffee, it is ideal for you to know how to prepare it the right way. Considered as a welcome drink, it is an intrinsic part to Turkish tradition and heritage. There is a world of difference between a finely brewed Turkish coffee and a huge mess on your gas stove. To make authentic Turkish coffee, simply follow the steps given below:
1. Grind the beans
Aforementioned, the coffee beans need to be roasted and grounded properly so that it locks the taste and helps retain the aroma of the coffee. So ensure that the coffee is finely grounded before you move on to the next step. This has to be done before you make the drink.
Fill the cezve up to the bottom of the neck with cold water. Mind you, the water should be up to the neck of the cezve, not “into” it. Now we are ready to start brewing. Add sugar in it, according to your preference but make sure to not “mix it in”. Once the sugar dissolves, add coffee in it. 2 heaping Turkish teaspoons of coffee should be used for every cup. The coffee ground should float on the water, so do not “stir them”.
3. Sugar level
Add sugar to the ibrik (cezve) according to your taste.
- Sade means no sugar.
- Orta means a medium amount of sugar, which is one Turkish teaspoon per cup.
- Sekerli means sweet, which is two teaspoons of sugar per cup.
4. Heat the ibrik
Now you can slowly heat the ibrik. Make sure to not leave the pot unattended, even if it be for a second! As the water heats up, you will notice that the sugar will begin to caramelize. This will make your coffee sweeter, better rounded and tastier. When you see that the water has boiled well, take it off the stove and this time add 4 heaped teaspoons of coffee. This time – “stir it well”.
5. Stir the surface
Put the coffee back on the stove and observe it well. After some time, the mixture will rise and you will see that when the brew boils, it will reach the top of the ibrik. Quickly take off the heat and let it settle. This is when you should stir the surface with a small teaspoon to make sure that you get rid of the larger bubbles. Now quickly return it to the heat and repeat this process two more times.
6. Remove the froth
Now that your coffee has boiled for the third time, it will be ready to be served. However, before you take it off the heat, you will notice some froth slowly gathering around the mixture. With a teaspoon remove the froth as delicately as possible from the top of the brew and wait for 30 seconds.
7. Serve on to the espresso cups
Now pour the brewed coffee into the serving cups. Make sure that the froth is not compromised on. Wait for the mud and grounds to settle at the bottom before serving. You can serve the coffee with traditional Turkish delight, popular sweet meat that sweetens the mouth after the coffee.
UNESCO Cultural Heritage list
Turkish coffee has been included in the intangible cultural heritage list of UNESCO in 2013. The tradition of making Turkish coffee has been recognized as a symbol of hospitality and friendship. The beverages’ importance in social occasions was also an important factor in its inscription, with coffee being served during holidays and engagement ceremonies.
Turkish Coffee and fortune telling
Turkish coffee cup reading is a very popular method of fortune telling in Turkey, where the shapes left by the coffee grounds represent the past and future of the drinker. You will know when you are done drinking your coffee because a thick layer of grounds will appear at the bottom; when this happens, close the cup with the saucer, make a wish, and turn it over. Once the cup has cooled, the shape it leaves on the side of the cup can be read, usually by a fortune teller.