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HOWTO Make Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is known by several names, and uses slight variants in how the vessel is designed. But don't say that to a connoisseur who might hotly debate the varieties. Also up for debate is how many times the coffee should foam, or "boil" as it's sometimes called.

You need a special pot to make the coffee: kanaka, cezve, dzezva, xhezve, briki, or ibrik. You also need some way to grind very fine. You don't need special coffee. Any will do. Really!

Use 7-8.5 grams of coffee per 2-3 oz of water.

Ingredients:
14g coffee ground to a fine powder (This will be on the weak side.)
1 cardamom pod (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
6 oz water

If you're sharp, you'll note the scale reads 21 grams of coffee and there's 8 oz of water. This is an 8oz pot, but I decided to use 6 oz of water today, so I used less of the coffee. You have to be on the spot making Turkish coffee. I needed the extra headroom to snap pictures while the foam was forming and still get back in time to prevent it overflowing.

Mise en place
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You want a very fine powder like powdered sugar or talcum powder. While you can make a tasty Turkish coffee with heavier grinds, you'll end up swallowing them. A fine powder will form a sludge that sticks together at the bottom of the cup instead of getting stirred up by gravity as you tilt the cup to sip. While a burr grinder might have trouble making fine enough powder for Turkish coffee, a whirly bird mill can actually do a proper job if you let it grind away long enough. Of course, a hand mill capable of grinding for Turkish is the best option, since it won't heat the beans while grinding.

The left side is the finest my Baratza Virtuoso can produce (Without the espresso adjustment). I formed that one clump myself by pressing the coffee between my fingers. You don't want this.
The right side is after 150 turns on my modern Zassenhaus hand mill from the Havannah Collection. Note how the coffee clumps all by itself.
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Turkish coffee is often flavored with cardamom.
We only want to use the seeds. Remove the skin from the pod by prodding and squeezing
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Grind the cardamom seeds fine with a mortar and pestle, a rolling pin or can, or crush them with a flat heavy pan.
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Add the cold water, cardamom, and sugar to the pot and heat it slowly while stirring. Don't stir once the water gets hot. Stop before the coffee starts to foam, and don't even think of stirring it again, either in the pot or in the cup because you'll deflate that precious foam. Make sure to heat the brew slowly. The slower, the better. You need to use the right amount of water--fill it to the neck so that the foam forms above thinnest part of the pot.

Note that I purposely set it lower than it could be in order to have time to take pictures. It's fine as is, since the level is above the thinnest part of the pot, but you really want to keep it closer to the top and pour off small amounts of thick foam without tipping the pot over too much. You should be pouring it off fairly quickly, so the pot never really boils.
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After heating the brew for a while, a foam will form on top. As a foam forms, pour off an equal portion of foam into each of the cups.
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Mmm... Delicious foam. The equivalent of espresso's crema. You want to try to foam the coffee several times and fill most of the cup from the foam.
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After two foams (and pouring too much off each time) the pot was pretty much spent. I usually get three. This depends on your timing, how fast you heat, the care you take in pouring, your caffeine karma, and some things known only to a group of monks hiding away on the far side of Mt Ararat.
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There's a tiny bit forming, but too little to pour off from way down in the pot.
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The real trick is knowing when to stop. At some point, it just won't foam anymore without heating it close to burning. I let the foam form too high and too long, and only ended up with two foams.
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This was not my best attempt. The coffee's rich and thick, but there's no cream, and there should be.
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You do want to let the coffee rest for a while to let the grounds settle to the bottom. You also want to drink it immediately and sip the cream. That's a balancing act. Part of the skill in making Turkish coffee is being able to make it so it's drinkable while it's still hot. It'll never be a clean cup of coffee, but there's no reason to ever swallow a mouthful of grounds.

Here you can see how the grounds form a neat sludge at the bottom of the cup and stay there.
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From the side.
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Turkish coffee is the richest thing this side of espresso, and even has its own version of crema. It isn't hard to make, but it does require you to be alert and move at just the right time. Snapping pictures while the foam races towards the top doesn't exactly make the best cup of coffee. Next time, I'll make Turkish coffee for two.
 
awesome tutorial!

I've read that Turkish Coffee is more of a method, but is there a traditional bean you need to use, in terms of varietal or roast? I don't know anything about coffee so I'm planning to buy from local coffee places (Klatch Coffee is pretty much local to me)
 
awesome tutorial!

I've read that Turkish Coffee is more of a method, but is there a traditional bean you need to use, in terms of varietal or roast? I don't know anything about coffee so I'm planning to buy from local coffee places (Klatch Coffee is pretty much local to me)

I could be wrong but I believe most Turkish coffee drinkers will use 100% Colombian dark roast blended with medium roast (50/50).

I like the 50/50 blend of Colombian. YMMV
 
HUGE round of applause :thumbup1: I love coffee and never really "go it" until now. If I understand correctly and pls. bear with me, the object is to tease out multiple pours of foam? That is great stuff, thank you.
 
Hmmm.....I have one of those little pots around here somewhere. An friend gave it to me years ago but he said it was a Greek coffee pot. I remember he had showed me how to use it and it did create lots of foam. I had asked if he could make me some with no sugar, it didn't foam nearly as nice, but still good. I might have to give this a try.
 
Great post mate, I will only add some optional variations to your method as you've asked me to. The only question is - I didn't quite get (it's early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet, maybe that's why :)) at what point did you add the coffee to the pot? I personally add the coffee, sugar, salt and the spices in the beginning, roast them for a few seconds and only then pour a cold water in. That's actually gonna be my first remark - why do you not add a pinch of salt? It helps the flavours really blend together.

Next, using this tutorial as a general framework, you could also do following things:
- brew the coffee without the sugar and add it afterwards (I prefer it with, which is arabic style, I think turks actually do without);
- play with these spices - cinnamon (a must in my opinion), cloves, ginger, pepper (black, red and a spicy italian for a hot-hot coffee);
- turkish way is bringing the coffee to the foaming stage thrice, while arabic is just once - different taste also;
- originally coffee was brewed in a hot sand, not directly on the stove. there's a difference in cezve shape for that reason too - the ones with a rounder bottom are better bit for sand brewing, and the conical ones for a stove;
- at the peak of the foaming (pre-boil stage) drop a cold spoon into the pot - yes, it will decrease the foam but will give that brew a few extra seconds of the magisterium stage :) just experiment with timing a bit;
- now a tip that I sometimes use when I've got nothing else to do: after your coffee has reached the point and you've taken it off the heat, put a mitt on, hold a pot in one hand and start quickly tapping on the bottom of the cezve with another. This takes a couple of minutes, and you'll know you're there when all of the foam changes its colour to a light creamy brown. Magic :)

I'll think of some more tricks and tips later on, have fun experimenting. And remember, traditional brewing is like traditional shaving - once you're in there's no way out.
 
I could be wrong but I believe most Turkish coffee drinkers will use 100% Colombian dark roast blended with medium roast (50/50).

I like the 50/50 blend of Colombian. YMMV

Personally I don't see how one could use a single blend when there are so many great varieties out there - I mostly prefer South American ones, pure and blended, but Rwanda produces some great stuff too.

Now, a couple more thought on the tutorial.
You all know how important is the carrier - water. I usually use bottled spring water with the least mineral content I can find. There's a debate on whether it's better to use fresh or boiled (but cooled of course) water, and my friend that's been doing this for decades advocates the latter. You should just experiment and see for yourselves.

There's a little trick too about setting the grounds - just drop an ice cube into the cup for a few seconds.
Also, I don't have scales and don't weigh my coffee - I just put two full tea spoons for a 250-300ml cezve, maybe that helps.

P.S. oh yeah, THE most important thing - you do all know that you must never attempt to wash your cezve? The more deposit you've got on the walls the better for the taste. Just rinse it once in a few days when there's too much coffee on the bottom, depending on its size. Trust me on that one.
 
at what point did you add the coffee to the pot? I personally add the coffee, sugar, salt and the spices in the beginning, roast them for a few seconds and only then pour a cold water in. That's actually gonna be my first remark - why do you not add a pinch of salt? It helps the flavours really blend together.

I add the coffee along with everything else at the beginning. Fixed in the wiki--can't edit that post anymore. No salt for me, thank you.

Thanks for all the variations. I'll definitely be trying some of those spices and techniques.
 
Another thing came to mind, about the grounds. Steve, you've mentioned that you grind your coffee super finely, but the thing is that it gives out the flavour differently, when differently ground. So this is really a trial and error slope - various combinations may work for different beans and even different roasts. I sometimes mix finer grounds with coarser ones, that may be also interesting for some to play with.
Experimenting is half the fun in all of this :)
 
I haven't tried a mix, but the larger particles from the electric grinder always puts some grit in my mouth. Does a mix prevent that by trapping the larger particles in the mud formed by the smaller ones? Must try this.
 
I haven't tried a mix, but the larger particles from the electric grinder always puts some grit in my mouth. Does a mix prevent that by trapping the larger particles in the mud formed by the smaller ones? Must try this.

Couldn't answer that right now with a confidence, sorry - I've been living on-the-go for the past couple of years, hence no domestic appliances like a grinder with me. But do let me know what you think about mixing and maybe some other tricks when you try those!
 
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