Turkish Coffee: The History, Tradition, & How to Make it at Home!

History of Turkish Coffee

     Turkish coffee began around 1540, possibly introduced by the Turkish Governor of Yemen, Ozdemir Pasha, who then shared it with Suleiman the Magnificent. As coffee spread throughout the people and culture, traditions began to spring up.

Turkish Coffee Traditions

     Turkish coffee is prominent in betrothal traditions. A bridegroom's parents must visit the young girl's family to ask for the bride-to-be's hand her parents' blessing. During this meeting, the bride-to-be must prepare and serve Turkish coffee to the guests. For the bridegroom's coffee, she may add salt instead of sugar to gauge his character. If the bridegroom drinks his coffee without any sign of displeasure, the bride-to-be assumes that the groom is of excellent and patient temperament. 

Turkish Coffee Preparation

     When people first enjoyed coffee, professionals called "Kahveci Usta" prepared it. They prepared coffee for high-ranking government officials and wealthy citizens. Some of these professionals would open coffee establishments and share their expertise with the general population. This development could've been the start of the coffee shop and barista skills we know today. Coffee would be ground with a mortar manually to a fine grind, almost like flour. Once the coffee was ground, it was brewed in an Ibrik. As the popularity spread, this new beverage became a part of Turkish culture and throughout the Ottoman Empire. 

Brewing Turkish Coffee

   To make Turkish Coffee, combine finely ground coffee and water, and bring them close to a boil in a pot called an ibrik or a cezve. To reach the desired froth, you may heat it twice. Then, serve some of the coffee distributed into individual cups. Return the remaining amount to the fire, and distribute it into cups while the froth is still present. Serve the coffee in small porcelain cups called kahve fincan, which are smaller than a standard coffee cup and are similar in size to the cups used for espresso shots. 

Steps for Brewing

  1. Grind coffee to a very fine grind because no filter is used. It should be like flour. 
  2. Place room temperature water into a copper pot, traditionally an ibrik. 
  3. Add coffee and sugar, depending on how you like it.
  4. Stir lightly before placing on heat. Some say not to stir at all, so it depends on what you like. Use medium heat, never high.
  5. When the coffee starts to display tiny bubbles, remove it from the heat.
  6. Scoop the froth at the top of the pot and spoon into the cup being served.
  7. Place the pot back on medium heat.
  8. Once the bubbles appear again, pour the coffee into the cup being served. Do not stir. Not stirring allows the grounds to settle to the bottom.
  9. Give the coffee a few minutes to cool and grounds to settle.
  10. Enjoy! 

Which Coffee Should I Use?

     Ultimately, you have control over how you like to brew your coffee. Darker roasts are traditionally used for the best Turkish coffees. 

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