My Turkish Coffee Story
If I could, I would travel to each country in the world and sip on their signature hot drinks. Matcha in Japan, mint tea in Morocco, pink chai in Kashmir. I wouldn’t want to do this in touristy cafés, but with some locals, friends I’ve made perhaps, the warmth of their hospitality included.
This reminds me of my friend, Serpil, who taught me so much about hospitality and Turkish culture. We would sip chai at my house and Twinings Earl Grey tea at hers because it reminded her of the tea she loved from back home. She never mentioned Turkish coffee though. I later found out she thought it was too strong.
I learned about Turkish coffee from a cheery Arab lady at the counter of an incense-laden Middle-Eastern grocery store. She was joyous and so full of life and I can still picture her casually dancing to ‘3 daqat’, telling me how delicious this coffee is. She insisted I needed an ibrik (also called cezve) (affiliate link), the Turkish coffee pot, to make Turkish coffee. But I didn’t want to invest in the pot only to realize I didn’t like it.
I bought a tiny bit of coffee from their bulk section to try before I committed to buying the entire box. Little did I know, it would become my chosen morning drink for months. I’d be buying several more boxes.
Why Turkish Coffee
I’m not going to pretend I know much about coffee. I really don’t. In a typical Pakistani household, we have instant coffee granules tucked away in a cabinet for when a coffee craving strikes. That milky instant coffee we make is nothing like a specialty, craft coffee. That’s where Turkish coffee comes in.
The reason I’m drawn to Turkish coffee is that it allows me to drink exceptionally tasty coffee in a familiar way. I don’t need a coffee machine or French press, but I can drink coffee so smooth that it rivals many cafes. There’s something extra special and relaxing about Turkish coffee, and I love that I can make it as easily as I would make chai.
Why traditional Turkish Coffee requires a Turkish Coffee Pot
Like my friend Serpil, I don’t prefer the dense espresso shot-like Turkish coffee on a daily basis. That’s why I often love having a less intense, milky version of Turkish coffee that becomes something like a latte.
The reason you need an ibrik to make traditional-style Turkish coffee is that helps the signature foam rise on top because of the small surface area.
If you don’t want to drink it the traditional way, or you just want a smooth coffee that you can make on the stovetop, then you don’t need an ibrik.
If you want to make traditional style Turkish coffee in the saucepan, you will have to increase the water (or the number of Turkish coffee cups). Keep in mind that it won’t develop much foam or froth as it would in an ibrik.
More notes on Turkish Coffee
- Stir the coffee and water before placing on medium heat. I’ve found (after several experiments) that this increases the amount of foam on top.
- Pour the coffee into the cups slowly and do not stir once you have poured it in. This is all to help retain the foam as much as possible.
- It is normal for the coffee to settle to the bottom of the cups.
- Turkish coffee is traditionally served with water and Turkish Delights or other sweets. The small Turkish coffee cups are excellent to retain the foam. If you do not have them, espresso cups will also work.
- I’ve seen that the most popular brands are Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi and Alameed (affiliate links).
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Turkish Coffee (With Ibrik and Saucepan Instructions)
This recipe includes details on how to make Turkish coffee using an ibrik (traditional Turkish coffee pot) or a regular saucepan.
- 1 1/2 serving cup filtered water
- 1 heaped tbsp Turkish Coffee
- 1 cardamom pod
- milk, optional
With an Ibrik (Traditional Turkish Coffee Pot)
Use your serving cup to measure out how much water you will need and add the water to the ibrik. If you are using the small Turkish coffee cups, add 1/2 cup extra water for each cup to account for evaporation. If you don't have a traditional coffee cup, any small and narrow cup will work best to retain the foam.
To the ibrik, add the desired amount of coffee (1 heaped tbsp for traditional style), sugar, and cardamom (if using) to the water and stir well.
Place the ibrik on a small gas stove over medium heat. After about 4-6 minutes (depending on how much liquid you are using) before the coffee begins to simmer, you will notice a foam rising to the top. Use a teaspoon to scoop up and transfer some of the foam into each Turkish Coffee cup. Continue to do this until the coffee doesn't have much foam left on top.
After the coffee starts to boil, remove from heat and pour slowly into your coffee cups. Try to pour so that the foam in the coffee cup remains undisturbed. Do not stir once you have poured the coffee.
With a Saucepan
Use your serving cup to measure out how much water and/or milk you will add to the saucepan. Add a bit extra water to account for evaporation. If you are making traditional style coffee, you will need at least 3 Turkish coffee cups in the saucepan.
Add the water/milk, sugar, cardamom (if using), and the desired amount of coffee to the saucepan. For the traditional style, you will need at 1 heaped tbsp of coffee per Turkish cup. For my everyday version, I use 2-3 tsp of Turkish Coffee for 1 cup of milk/water. Stir well using a spoon or whisk.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow it to begin to simmer. This will take about 7 minutes. Remove any foam that has risen to the top and add it to your cup.
Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and slowly add to your cup. Try to pour so that the foam in the coffee cup remains undisturbed. You may also use a milk frother to create froth.