Long before the Italians started what most people now associate with, and Starbucks tries to pass off as, coffee, the Arabs roasted and brewed coffee in a manner that has not changed much since the 16th century. To those in the west this brew is know as Turkish Coffee, in Turkey and the Middle East however it is simply known as kahve which originates from the Arabic word for ‘coffee’. The unique brewing style used requires just a couple of pieces of equipment and some coffee and the resulting, often spiced, dark elixir is as rich in taste as it is in history. Read on to find out how to make it.
All that is truly required to make great Turkish coffee is a pot, some coffee, a burner, and sugar if you desire. To make it great, easy, and the way I make it, I recommend adding to the aforementioned equipment a teaspoon for measuring and some cardamom. Turkish coffee is typically made in a pot called an ibrik or cezve. This copper pot, usually with a long wooden handle, is the perfect shape for preparing Turkish coffee. The size ibrik used is determined by how many cups you plan on making. A pot that is two large will not allow for the perfect foam to be created. The ibrik is also made to allow easy pouring directly from the pot and is slender enough that the water volume allows for the coffee grinds to settle to the bottom. If you don’t have an ibrik you can substitute a small sauce pot but odds are the foam and flavour will be diminished. It’s equally important that you start with cold water and use low heat. Both of these are determinate factors in the finished product. Starting with warm water will often create a muddy finished product and not allow the coffee to settle properly. Using high heat will diminish the amount of foam you produce. Below is how I prepare it at home.
1 cup of cold water per person
1 tsp of freshly ground coffee per cup of water (I prefer dark or medium roasts)
¾ tsp of sugar per cup of water (optional or to taste)
1 cardamom pod per cup of water (ground)
Start by pouring the cold water into your ibrik or small sauce pot. Add the coffee, sugar and cardamom and stir until the sugar dissolves. At this point do not stir the coffee again as it will diminish the foam and not allow the coffee to settle. Now place the pot over a burner set to medium-low and allow the coffee to come to a boil. The slower this takes the better the finished product will be. Once the coffee boils pour some (not all) of the coffee into demitasse cups so they are about 1/3rd full. Now return the remaining coffee to the heat and allow it to come to a boil again. Finish pouring the remaining coffee into the cups. This should make sure that all cups receive an equal amount of foam (this is where the flavour is). You should now let the coffee sit for several minutes before drinking to allow the coffee grounds to settle. Now enjoy your delicious Turkish coffee, and if you are lucky and have someone qualified why not let them read your fortune from the grounds left in your cup.