The ultimate Turkish coffee recipe

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The ultimate Turkish coffee recipe

Postby robin » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:02 am

How to Make Turkish Coffee

There are various guides to making Turkish coffee on the web, and the method is not always the same. What follows is the method used by my Turkish father-in-law, who is generally regarded as an expert coffee-maker.

Materials
You may be able to find Turkish coffee ready-ground, but this is not ideal, since freshness is important. Any dark arabica strain of coffee will make good Turkish coffee, so long as you grind it finely enough: the coffee should be a powder even finer than you'd use for espresso. You can buy traditional Turkish coffee mills, but an ordinary coffee grinder will work just as well.

Some people add a little cardamom to the coffee, although this is more of an Arabic custom than a Turkish one. Greek coffee often includes chicory.

Any small cup will do for Turkish coffee, but ideally you want a thick porcelain cup holding about 100ml. This is known in Turkey as a fincan (pronounced "finjan"), and an espresso cup is a pretty good substitute. The coffee is made in a conical copper pot called a cezve (pronounced "jezveh"). I've seen it called an ibrik on the web, but this is an Arabic word, and means something different in Turkey. The inside of the pot is usually coated with tin. Modern pots are often made from stainless steel, and I've even seen ones coated with teflon, which is silly considering that coffee doesn't stick. The size of the pot depends on the number of cups you want to make: the coffee should take up just under half the volume of the pot.

Method
Measure cold water into the pot with the cup. You want to fill the cup full, since although the coffee and sugar add bulk, you want to be able to leave most of the grounds in the pot. For each 100ml cup, add a heaped teaspoon of coffee. The amount of sugar you add varies according to taste; I use a rounded teaspoon or one and a half cubes per cup. (Of course teaspoons come in different sizes, so you'll have to experiment here.) Don't stir yet.

Traditionally, Turkish coffee is made in the embers of a fire, but these days it's usually a low gas flame. The longer the coffee takes to heat up, the better the flavour. When all of the coffee has sunk into the water, give it a quick stir. While you're waiting for it to come to the boil, warm the cups, so your coffee won't get cold too quickly.

The tricky part is choosing exactly the right moment to take the pot off the flame. You want the point where the bubbles forming round the sides of the pot meet in the centre and just start to rise. If you take the pot off the flame too soon, you get a scum of coffee grounds; leave it too late and you lose the foam, which is said to be the mark of good coffee-making. Some people recommend bringing it to the boil three times, but I've never seen the use of this.

Quickly pour a little into each cup first before filling them up more slowly. This ensures an equitable distribution of both foam (good) and grounds (not so good, except for fortune-telling). It's traditionally served with a glass of cold water and something sweet (Turkish delight is the obvious choice).

Cheats
Since copious foam is what is aimed for, I sometimes cheat by spooning some of the foam out of my own cup and into the guests' cups. I also know a Turkish girl who increases the foam bulk by spitting into the cups of the guests she doesn't like, but I don't recommend this!
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Postby CakeBoy » Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:09 am

Nice description Robin. Will be most useful to my Dad who is a Turkish coffee fan but not very experienced in the brewing method. Thanks :D
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Postby robin » Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:04 pm

Afiyet olsun, as we say over here (literally "may there be health." but it's used like "Bon appetite!").
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Postby fred25 » Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:53 pm

Pedant's corner: "Bon appétit".... Appétit is masculin and most masculin words in french don't take an "e".... Now that I've proved how much of a pain in the butt I am, thought I'd just say hello :D :lol: :D
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Postby CakeBoy » Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:10 pm

Thank goodness you set us straight on that one :wink: :lol:
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Postby fred25 » Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:13 pm

Oh yeah, it was a real life and death situation :D
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Postby blackice » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:37 pm

Nice post Robin!
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Postby lukas » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:29 pm

Wow, that's nice! I often hear about turkish coffee, but never read an adequate description what it actually is.

Would it be possible for you to document this process photographically? We (err, Phil ... ?) could put this on the frontpage maybe ... would be useful for many people I think!
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Postby Gouezeri » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:57 am

CakeBoy wrote:Thank goodness you set us straight on that one :wink: :lol:

Well, it saved me from having to do it! :wink:
This week I are feeling sleepy!
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Postby ivdp » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:18 am

Some remarks:
Fineness of Turkish ground is much finer than espresso ground, for a detailed description: http://www.gebrand.nl/PDF/TurkseKoffieart.pdf

You cannot make a Turkish grind in even the very best (German) professional grinders. You ruin the machines and burn your coffee in no time.

Some foto's ? >> http://www.gebrand.nl/Turksekoffie_eng.htm

Want to see the process of boiling 3 times? Visit Izmir cafe's. Never seen anything else.

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Postby robin » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:46 pm

lukas wrote:Wow, that's nice! I often hear about turkish coffee, but never read an adequate description what it actually is.

Would it be possible for you to document this process photographically? We (err, Phil ... ?) could put this on the frontpage maybe ... would be useful for many people I think!


Will do - give me a few days.
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Postby Joey » Fri May 26, 2006 8:49 pm

I'll try to make pics in my shop. I have one of those huge Mahlkönig Monstergrinders (for bags) who can grind for turkish as well. And we do prepare turkish coffee, too. I even bought those original "tepsis" in Izmir at a bazar. These are the round trays with 3 arms on which we serve the chesve and the cup with some lokum. The guest then pours the coffee himself. I cook it over a flame of a tiny camping gas cartusche - I don't know how these thingies are called in english - you have the gas-tin where you poke the wire-holding-device on top. Then you turn a screw and light the fire.... We do this in the bar so that the guests can watch the procedure. Besides we offer Shishas, too.....people love that combination. So I'll try to make decent pics next time, I promise.
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