Whether you’ve had it before or are just itching to try some for the first time, learning how to make Turkish coffee is an easy process.
But, while relatively straightforward to make, what this world-renowned coffee style represents is anything but simple. Turkish coffee is a deeply ingrained part of Turkish culture that has always been brewed with tradition and steeped with meaning.
What is Turkish Coffee? A Little History…
In the Middle East, coffee isn’t just a pick-me-up — it’s a part of life. Coffee is an exceedingly social event that serves to brings people together. It’s a time to bond with friends and family.
One of the most significant Middle Eastern nations to create their own distinct “coffee culture” was, and still is, Turkey. In Turkey, coffee is integrated into life everywhere you look.
In Turkey, coffee is king.
How to Serve Turkish Coffee
The traditions that surround Turkish coffee rely heavily on the equipment, the process used to make it, and the way that it’s served.
The Ibrik Coffee Pot
The container that is used to brew the coffee is perhaps the most unique part of the process.
The Turkish coffee pot is called either an ibrik or a cezve. It is small, wide-bottomed, and has a long handle coming off of the side, often at an upward angle. In Greece, where they drink very similar coffee, this pot is called a briki.
One Lump or Two?
Okay, lumps of sugar might be more appropriate for a post on tea in England, but Turkish coffee can also be consumed with sugar (and often is)! To be a good host, you will want to ask how much sugar each drinker wants, with the standard choices being as follows:
- Sade: No sugar
- Az sekerli: minimal sugar, less than a teaspoon
- Orta sekerli: a modest amount, 1-2 teaspoons of sugar
- Sekerli: very sweet, 3-4 teaspoons of sugar
Turkish Coffee Cups
Standard Turkish coffee cups are made of thin porcelain in order to keep the brew warm for as long as possible. This is also why some cups come with a copper cup holder and a lid!
How to Serve the Coffee
Apart from the actual coffee, traditionally you will want to have a glass of water with each cup. This allows the person to cleanse their palate before drinking the coffee.
In addition to the coffee and the water, you may also want to include a sweet treat, like a pastry, cookie, candy… or you can even stay on theme and get some Turkish delight!
When serving the coffee itself, you will want to make sure to give it to the eldest guest in the room first as a sign of respect.
Note: Did you know that traditionally it is the youngest girl in the family that takes everyone’s orders, brews, and serves the coffee?
Turkish Coffee Recipe
Now it’s time for a simple traditional Turkish coffee recipe!
What You’ll Need
There are only a few Turkish coffee ingredients, but they are all important!
- Filtered water
- An ibrik
- Extremely finely ground Turkish coffee
- Sugar (Optional)
- Turkish coffee cups
- A small spoon
Here are the basic instructions for Turkish coffee. Once you’ve done it a few times, you should be able to make the best Turkish coffee around!
- Begin by adding 1½ “cups” of water per cup you are making to the ibrik. These are not measuring cups, though. Instead, use the cup that will ultimately hold the coffee to measure out the water.
- (OPTIONAL): Grind your coffee as finely as possible. If you have already purchased pre-ground Turkish coffee, skip this step.
- For each cup of coffee you are making, add between one heaping teaspoon and one heaping tablespoon of the coffee grounds, depending on how strong you like it.
- Add the sugar to the ibrik, if desired. If different amounts of sugar are needed for different cups, make multiple batches.
- Stir the coffee and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
- Boil the coffee over medium heat. This should be a steady process, not a rapid-fire boil. In a container as small and thin as an ibrik, though, even at a lower heat this should only take a few minutes, so don’t walk away!
- As the coffee approaches a boil, it will begin to form a dense, dark foam on top. Before it comes to a full rolling boil, remove it from the heat and use the spoon to evenly distribute the foam amongst the cups.
- Return the ibrik to the heat and let it continue until it almost reaches a rolling boil.
- Option A: When it is about to reach the boiling point, remove it from the heat and pour half amongst the coffee cups. Return the remaining half of the coffee to the stove and let it come to a boil once again. This is done to help extract some of the oils at lower temperatures that would evaporate if you made it too hot. As soon as it starts to boil a second time, remove and pour the remaining coffee into the cups, filling them up to the brim.
- Option B: After removing the foam, bring the coffee to a boil and remove it from the heat before it boils over. Let it cool for 15 or 20 seconds and then return it to the heat still full. Do this a third time if stronger coffee is desired. Then, pour all of the coffee at once into the cups.
- And that’s it! Don’t forget to serve it with water and a sweet treat!
- The quantity of coffee grounds can vary wildly from one recipe to the next. We chose to go with 1 tablespoon per cup of coffee, but others will prefer a heaping teaspoon, while those who are more mathematical about their brewing tend to put it at around 2.5 grams of coffee per ounce of water.
- If you like spices in your coffee, you can also make Turkish coffee with cardamom. Simply add ⅛ of a teaspoon of cardamom in along with the sugar.
Turkish Coffee FAQs
Where can I find Turkish Coffee cups?
Do I need the cezve or ibrik to brew?
This is the traditional way and will ensure that you make the coffee correctly. They are inexpensive to purchase, and are small and light to ship! Not to mention, they can make for beautiful culinary decorations. However, if you want to make the coffee without investing in the equipment, read on to the next question.
How to make Turkish coffee without an ibrik
Opinions are all over the place on this one, as it isn’t the recommended or authentic method. Making Turkish coffee without an ibrik also takes away the control you have over the boiling elements and foam in the taller, thinner ibrik shape. However, if you’re feeling confident, and not too worried about authenticity, you can make this style of coffee with most heat-resistant containers. Here’s an article that breaks it down.
What kind of coffee/roast should I buy to make Turkish Coffee?
While this kind of coffee isn’t always available at local grocery stores, it’s worth checking. You can also get many popular Turkish coffee brands online, such as Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. As far as a good roast, a darker roast is generally recommended in order to give the coffee a bolder presence in the cup.
Can I grind the coffee myself?
Technically you can, but because of its extremely fine grind, most simply purchase it pre-ground. However, if you’re hardcore about your coffee and want to grind it yourself, make sure you get the right grinder!
How to make Turkish coffee foam
The foam naturally forms as you heat the coffee. Just make sure to share it evenly amongst all participants, as that is an important part of the Turkish coffee experience!
How fast do you drink Turkish coffee?
It is meant to be drunk slowly, in small sips, over a long period of time. Getting a second cup is a rarity!
Where do all of the coffee grounds go?
To the bottom of the cup! Drink it slowly to give them time to settle, and don’t drink the dregs unless you want a mouthful of grounds!
Can I add anything other than sugar to my Turkish coffee?
Some people add milk, although it is not too common or typically recommended, as the classic, untampered-with flavors that make up Turkish coffee are generally restricted to the water and coffee, with sugar or some spices as optional components.
It’s More Than Just Good Coffee – It’s an Experience
Hopefully by now you’ve realized that the cup of coffee in your hand, while sweet and simple to make, is more than just a typical cup of joe.
Apart from its strong, unique taste, Turkish coffee represents an entire world that is infused with tradition and purpose, which makes it an experience that you’ll want to slow down and truly enjoy.
If you’ve tried the recipe yourself, leave your thoughts and comments. And please, consider sharing the post with anyone else who might want to try the recipe!