How to Make Turkish Coffee
This blog conveys the traditional way of making Turkish coffee to your home, either in cezve on embers, stove and sand, or in an electric cezve or a coffee machine. Let your house fill with an amazing coffee smell!
The way Turkish coffee is made is a tradition being passed down from older generations to younger ones. The features that affect the taste of Turkish coffee and the details about the brewing process are learned naturally in family lives.
In old times, Turkish coffee had been made in coffee pots on embers or sand. However, nowadays, it is possible to make Turkish coffee in three different ways: in a cezve on a stove, ember or sand, in an electric cezve, and in an automatic Turkish coffee maker.
Whatever method is used, there are some key points to take into account to make a foamy Turkish coffee at home with its traditional taste and texture. Below you will find details about these key points and how to make Turkish coffee at home using different methods including serving tips. By the way, all the information below is also valid for Greek coffee, Armenian coffee and Bosnian coffee since they all are the same.
Tips to Make Perfect Turkish Coffee at Home
Regardless of the tool or method used to make Turkish coffee, there are some key points required to be taken into consideration to make a delicious Turkish coffee in its real taste and texture, as listed below.
Coffee beans to make Turkish coffee should be fresh
The freshness of coffee beans directly affects the taste and the foam of Turkish coffee. The most preferred method to make the best Turkish coffee is to buy whole coffee beans and grind them just before using. Medium roast arabica beans will work perfectly to make Turkish coffee. The roasted whole beans will stay fresh for 1-3 weeks depending on the storage conditions. After opening the package, you should transfer coffee beans to an airtight glass jar and store them in a dark and dry place for a longer shelf life.
Buying ground coffee is another option because grinding coffee beans every time may not be feasible for everyone. The ground coffee stays fresh for 1-2 weeks in appropriate conditions so it should be bought in small quantities that can be consumed within this timeframe. Ground coffee should also be transferred to an airtight glass jar after opening and stored in a dark and dry place. Below are some Turkish coffee brands that sell packaged ground Turkish coffee:
- Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi Turkish Coffee
- Hafiz Mustafa Turkish Coffee
- Elite Turkish Coffee
- Al Ameed Turkish Coffee
- Selamlique Turkish Coffee
- Osso Turkish Coffee
Coffee beans should be ground extremely finely
Turkish coffee grind size should be extremely fine, even finer than espresso grind. As the coffee beans are ground more finely, the surface area of coffee particles in contact with the water increases and this causes coffee particles to release their oil and flavor to the water more effectively. This is the real mechanism behind the flavorful taste and thick texture of Turkish coffee.
As mentioned above, you can either buy a ground Turkish coffee or whole arabica beans to grind them yourself. However, grinding coffee beans as fine as required by Turkish coffee is not possible with most of the classic grinders since they mostly grind till espresso level. So, you need to have a Turkish coffee grinder. Recently, coffee shops like Starbucks and La Colombe have also added extremely fine grind size to their grinding options if you buy whole beans from them.
Water should be filtered and cold
The water affects the taste of coffee a lot. Tap water mostly tastes one or more of chlorine, bleach or chemicals since they are used to disinfect the water supply. If you use tap water to make coffee, then these tastes will pass into the coffee ruining the coffee enjoyment. Therefore, it is better to use filtered or natural spring water bottled without using any chemicals to have plain coffee taste.
The water to make Turkish coffee should also be cold, a little bit colder than room temperature if possible. The cold water prolongs the brewing time allowing coffee more time to release its flavors into the water. Additionally, higher oxygen levels in cold water help achieve more foam which is also important to increase the pleasure of Turkish coffee.
Different Ways to Make Turkish Coffee At Home
Turkish coffee was traditionally made in a copper coffee pot called cezve on embers or sand. Some new methods have also recently emerged to make Turkish coffee as technology advances. Below you will find the details of all these methods but before going into these details, there are some issues common in all methods.
There are only two main ingredients when it comes to making a coffee: water and coffee. And the water to coffee ratio is the main factor that affects the taste of coffee. Turkish coffee water to ratio chart is below and it does not change whatever method is used to make it.
Turkish Coffee Water to Coffee Ratio Chart
Some people prefer their coffee with sugar. If this is the case, sugar is added in the beginning of the brewing process when making Turkish coffee. So, if you are to make Turkish coffee with sugar, then you should also add the amount of sugar mentioned below to the water and coffee mix before starting brewing.
Turkish Coffee Sugar Ratio Chart
The sugar amounts above are for one cup of Turkish coffee so you should increase the amounts in accordance with the number of cups you are making.
How to Make Turkish Coffee in Cezve
The traditional and most common way of making Turkish coffee is to brew it in a cezve on direct heat with low temperature. Cezve is a traditional Turkish coffee pot with a truncated conical shape and a long handle. You can learn more about cezve in our dedicated blog.
You can make Turkish coffee in cezve either on embers after a barbecue party when embers are still hot, or on the stove in kitchen, or on sand using recently developed sand brewer machines. For all these methods, the amount of water, ground coffee and sugar (optional) should be added to the cezve according to ratio charts above. After adding the ingredients into the cezve, you should gently mix them and then start brewing on the desired heat source. Details of brewing Turkish coffee on different heat sources are below:
Making Turkish coffee on embers
When your water and coffee mix is ready in the cezve, you should put it directly on hot embers and wait until foam forms and rises to the rim. Then, you should take the cezve and pour the coffee into the cups. Please always keep an eye on cezve during brewing to avoid any overflowing, otherwise you will use all foam.
Making Turkish coffee on the stove
When your water and coffee mix is ready in the cezve, you should place the cezve on the stove and turn it on at low temperature. Then you should wait until foam develops and the coffee rises to the rim. Then, take the cezve from the stove and divide the foam into the cups and put the cezve back on the stove. When it comes close to the boiling point, take it again and pour the remaining coffee into the cups until the rim. This second brewing is needed on the stove because the brewing process on the stove is shorter than ember or sand brewing.
Making Turkish coffee on sand
Another traditional way of making Turkish coffee besides making it on embers is to brew it halfway in the ashes and sand collected in a pan heated over open fire. Copper sand brewers have recently been developed to simulate this brewing and gaining popularity day by day. To make Turkish coffee on sand, you should prepare the water and coffee mix in cezve as mentioned above. Then, you should put the cezve on already heated sand and wait for brewing, never leaving it alone to avoid overflowing, until foam develops and then rises to the rim. This is the point where you should remove the cezve from the sand and pour the coffee into the cups. The Turkish coffee made on hot sand is brewed very slowly, allowing coffee to have an intense and very strong flavor.
By the way, do not throw away the sand after brewing because it can be used several times.
How to Make Turkish Coffee in Electric Cezve
Another method for making Turkish coffee is to brew it in an electric cezve instead of the traditional one. An electric cezve works like electric kettles, just being smaller and specifically designed to reflect the shape of Turkish coffee pot. There are two types of electric cezve, one with base and the other one without base. The one with base cuts the heating as soon as it is removed from the base but the other type without base needs to be turned off to cut heating.
To make Turkish coffee in an electric cezve, you should first add coffee water and sugar (optional) into it as you do in traditional one and then gently stir them. Then you should plug in the cezve and turn it on. It will start brewing immediately. You should closely watch the brewing process to avoid overflowing since brewing with electric cezve will take much less time than brewing on the stove and rising phase will happen very quickly. Once the foam develops and rises, take the cezve from its base and divide the foam into the cups. If your electric cezve does not have a base, do not forget to turn it off otherwise it will overflow while you are dividing the foam since it continues to heat up the coffee. After you divide the foam, put the cezve back on its base, or turn the cezve on, and once it is close to boiling, take it and pour the remaining coffee into the cups to fill them up to the rim.
Electric cezve is very good at producing thick foam and rich flavor in a very short time. The coffee made in electric cezve tastes very similar to the traditionally made one and takes less time to brew. However, close watching of the brewing process is important because overflowing may occur suddenly.
How to Make Turkish Coffee Using an Automatic Coffee Maker
Turkish coffee making process is the oldest coffee brewing method and produces the most flavorful taste and the thickest texture. However, it takes time and close watching because of the overflowing risk. Additionally, the duration and the temperature of brewing directly affects the taste and the texture. If the brewing process is not long enough, the coffee will not release all its flavors, and if it reaches boiling temperature, the bitter acids will dissolve into the coffee making it taste bitter. So, the desire to offer a more practical way of making Turkish coffee to the people of today’s hectic world together with the advances in technology has led to the development of automatic Turkish coffee machines.
Compared to traditional methods, automatic Turkish coffee makers brew the coffee very quickly, having the same rich flavor and thick foam. These machines closely follow the brewing process and cut the heating when the coffee is brewed enough, before it overflows. The taste and texture of the coffee including foam is almost completely the same as the traditional Turkish coffee made on embers or sand. So, these machines are very good at making Turkish coffee and much more practical than making it manually. Anyone who wants to incorporate Turkish coffee into their daily habits should get one! The only drawback is the lack of ceremonial part of the brewing process but it’s absolutely worth it!
By the way, it should be noted that not all automatic coffee machines can make Turkish coffee. Because of the unique brewing process, you need an automatic coffee machine designed to make Turkish coffee to benefit from this convenience.
To make Turkish coffee in an automatic Turkish coffee maker, you should first add coffee, water and sugar (optional) into the coffee pot that comes with the machine and gently stir them. This stirring is also optional. If you put the coffee and sugar first and then slowly pour the water over them, you can make the coffee even without stirring. When the coffee and water mix is ready, place the coffee pot into its place and follow the instructions in the user manual of your machine. Generally, you need to plug in the coffee maker and press on a start button to make the coffee. And when it is ready, the machine makes a beep sound to inform you. Then, you can remove the coffee pot from the machine and pour the coffee into the Turkish coffee cups, first dividing the foam among the cups.
You should follow the water to coffee ratio and sugar ratio charts above to make Turkish coffee in an automatic machine. On the other hand, Turkish coffee makers usually have their own measuring spoon. These measuring spoons mostly hold 2 teaspoons of ground coffee. If you are going to use the measuring spoon of your machine then you should put 1 spoon of ground coffee per Turkish cup and increase the amount accordingly to make more cups.
Some machines can also come with an ember function besides regular brewing. The purpose of the ember function is to copy the traditional brewing process on embers and sand so it brews coffee at lower temperature for a longer time and produces more foam. You can use this button if you have time to wait a little bit longer than the regular brewing. But in any case, automatic Turkish coffee makers brew coffee faster than traditional cezve on heat.
Last but not least, when making Turkish coffee in an automatic machine, you should make sure that the coffee and water mix never exceeds the maximum level indicated mostly with a line inside the coffee pot. This line is not only for water level but it is the maximum line for coffee, water and sugar combined. If the ingredients exceed this level, the coffee will probably overflow during brewing.
How to choose an automatic Turkish coffee maker
There are several different brands in the market that offer automatic Turkish coffee makers. The technology and the functions of these coffee makers are similar but they are not the same. Below are some considerations for you to pay attention when you are to buy an automatic Turkish coffee maker:
The number of cups that it can make:
Some Turkish coffee makers are small and make Turkish coffee up to 2 cups at once while others can make up to 4. So, if you often share your coffee time with your friends or have a large family, the number of cups that Turkish coffee maker can make at once will be important for you.
Cook sense technology:
Cook sense technology helps adjust the brewing heat and time to have a perfect Turkish coffee. If you have a Turkish coffee maker with cook sense technology, you can achieve a consistent taste, texture and foam in every brew regardless of the amount of coffee you make.
Anti-spill technology (Overflow protection sensor):
Anti-spill technology prevents coffee from overflowing. This is the main technology that makes automatic Turkish coffee makers superior to electric cezve. Almost all Turkish coffee makers have this technology but how it is designed affects its performance. So, you should pay attention to the details of anti-spill technology while deciding to buy a coffee machine. Moreover, the sensor anti-spill technology depending upon is very sensitive and needs to be kept clean to work properly.
Sound warning technology:
Having a sound warning when the coffee is done saves you from waiting in front of the machine during the whole brewing process. If you choose a Turkish coffee maker with this technology, you can leave the machine alone until it makes a sound to tell you coffee is ready, then you can remove the coffee pot and pour the coffee into the cups.
Automatic shutdown technology:
Automatic shutdown does not affect the quality of Turkish coffee brewed by the coffee maker but it is an important feature to save energy and prevent possible accidents caused by leaving the machine on.
Having a measuring spoon in the box:
This is not vital to have in an automatic coffee maker since you can use a teaspoon instead, but it would be better to have it in order to measure the exact amount of ground coffee to add. Especially when you are making 3 or 4 cups of coffee, the more deviation in the measurement with a teaspoon, the more watery the resulting coffee will taste, and the less foam will form.
How to Serve Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is served in Turkish coffee cups called “fincan” in Turkish. They are made of thin porcelain decorated with different paintings, some being hand made. There is also another cup design where the porcelain-made coffee cup without a handle and decoration is placed into a jeweled metal that also has a metal lid. This type of coffee cup is not practical for daily use but could be an oriental gift.
Turkish coffee cups are a little bit smaller than espresso cups and hold 2-2.5 fl.oz. (60-75 ml) of coffee. Turkish coffee is very strong and it is not usual to drink more than one cup or serving. However, some coffee lovers prefer their coffee to be served in a Turkish tea glass which has a volume of 3.7-4.2 fl.oz. (110-125 ml). So, they do drink more than one cup but not more than one serving to follow the custom!
When it comes to pouring Turkish coffee into cups, it is important to divide the foam into cups sufficient to cover the whole surface of the coffee. To achieve so, you should first pour a small amount of foam to each cup and then add the remaining coffee to the cups up to the rim. In order to keep the foam, you should be slow and gentle while pouring the remaining coffee. Instead of pouring foam, it could be easier to skim off the foam with the help of a teaspoon and transfer it to the cups.
A glass of cold water is usually served along with Turkish coffee. Usually a smaller glass than regular water glass is used for this purpose. The reason to serve cold water with Turkish coffee is to give the person a chance to clean his or her palate with a sip of water before drinking coffee for the best enjoyment.
Additionally, a small sweet, either a Turkish delight or a piece of chocolate, may also be served with Turkish coffee especially when the coffee is made without sugar. However, this is not a custom as common as serving cold water with Turkish coffee.