The definitive guide to Turkish Coffee

I know. I know. I said Greek and Turkish coffee were exactly the same. They are. And I’ve already posted a how to on Greek Coffee. But then this Turkish guy named Mustafa Arat from Turkish Coffee World wrote this guide for Bean Scene. And I thought “hey, you can’t have too much good information about coffee.

Cool fact about coffee: The word for “breakfast” in Turkish means “before coffee”.


Image Credit: Bean Scene

Here’s a quick history of Turkish Coffee (skipping over its discovery in Ethiopia, and initial brewing methods:

“Eventually its [coffee’s] fame reached the center of Ottoman cuisine in Istanbul, where the imperial cooks and the metropolitan elites had a tradition of bringing together elements of regional cuisines from across the empire. It was a place to experiment and invent new dishes before they were served to the Sultan. Here they developed what we know today as Turkish coffee. Coffee beans were roasted over a fire, ground into a powder using flourmills, then mixed with water and cooked slowly over ashes. The result was a thick, syrupy and aromatic beverage that was delicious.”

Now. Onto the good stuff…

According to Arat Turkish coffee:

  • Remains on the palate longer than any other type of coffee due to its velvet-like texture.
  • Remains hot for a long time because of the foam, which acts as a lid for several minutes after coffee has been poured.
  • Cools much more slowly than other varieties of coffee as it is served in thin porcelain cups, thus prolonging the drinking pleasure.
  • Has an unforgettable flavour thanks to the thick, syrupy consistency that stimulates the taste buds.
  • Is thicker and more aromatic than other kinds of coffee.

His guide can be found at Bean Scene. It’s pretty similar to mine. But worth a read.

I’m going to try making some – and then I’ll post a video of the results.

How to make authentic Greek/Turkish Coffee

I had the pleasure of travelling through Greece and Turkey in September 2010 – and one of the lowlights of the trip was the coffee. Every cafe we discovered in both countries proudly served Nescafe Instant. One cafe even served cappuccinos that turned out to be one of those Nescafe satchels. At one trendy looking coffee bar I ordered a capuccino – only to be served an iced coffee with cream that was made on a shot that was poured for about a minute, using coffee grounds from an overfilled doser (that had obviously been ground hours ago). It was terrible.

But there was good coffee to be found – especially if you were prepared to brave the Turkish Coffee experience, or the Greek Coffee experience. They’re exactly the same – just geographically bound (and don’t make the mistake of ordering one when you’re in the other’s country…).

I had the pleasure of a “how to” session with a lovely Greek lady named Mima, who hosted our group for a lunch in her house.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Finely ground coffee
  • A saucepan, or ideally, a little Turkish coffee pot
  • A gas burner or stove.
  • Sugar. Lots of sugar.
  • A stirring spoon. There’s lots of stirring.

Basically you are trying to make coffee that is almost toffee.

You start by measuring the amount of water you want for your cup.

Then you add two and a half teaspoons of sugar to your heating water.

And two and a half teaspoons of very finely ground coffee.

Then you stir. And stir. And stir. Forty times clockwise, then forty times anti-clockwise.

You wait for the coffee to visibly thicken – like the first sign that sugar is caramelising.

Then you serve it immediately.

How to make Greek Coffee

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