Although thick and rich Turkish coffee might be an acquired taste, no trip to the region is complete without trying the black stuff. Long-handled pots made from copper or brass are used to create an almost sludge-like, sweet, and sometimes spiced coffee, enjoyed throughout the Middle East. Turkish coffee is made to order and sipped from small cups, with the grounds settled nicely at the bottom.
Turkish coffee starts with a very fine grind—most people in Turkey use medium roast Arabica beans. There are special brass Turkish grinders that create a powder as fine as confectioner’s sugar but high-end ceramic burr grinders such as the Baratza Varioshould work as well.
You will need to have a Turkish coffee pot or cezve, a spoon, sugar, and the finely ground coffee mentioned above.
- Place your Turkish coffee pot filled with water on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high.
- When the water warms up, add about 1 Tbsp of coffee per demitasse cup (2-3 oz.) you plan to serve. Do not stir it yet—just let the coffee float on the surface.
- Again without stirring and as the water continues to warm, add sugar to taste.
- When the coffee starts to sink into the water and the water is warm enough to dissolve the sugar, stir several times and turn down the heat to low.
- When you see the coffee start to bubble on the surface, turn down the heat just enough to let the coffee build a thick froth or foam without actually boiling.
- Keep the coffee foaming without boiling until it begins to rise. When this happens, move it away from the heat.
- Repeat this process a couple of times.
- Pour the coffee into your cups.
Wait about a minute or so to let the grinds settle to the bottom of the cup. Like a proper Italian espresso, Turkish coffee is always served with a glass of water that you drink first to cleanse your palate. This kind of coffee is meant to be casually sipped—not downed in one go.
Although Turkish coffee seems like it would offer a maximum caffeine hit, 1 oz. of Turkish coffee only has about 30 mg of caffeine. Compare that to 50 mg of caffeine in your average 1 oz. shot of espresso.