Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee arrived in Istanbul in the 16th century via Yemen, when an Ottoman governor could not resist its velvety deliciousness. It is usually brewed in a cezve – a small long handled pot, typically made of copper or brass – and consists of coffee ground to a fine powder combined with water and spices. Brought just to the point of a slow careful boil, it is cooked unfiltered and served “grounds in the cup”. This rich velvety coffee may be called by a different name3, and contain different spices1 depending on the nationality of the preparer. If you love a rich, strong, concentrated, and caffeinated brew this is the coffee preparation for you! Below are directions for preparing a Turkish style coffee followed by a wonderful Turkish coffee cocktail recipe for those of you so inclined. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 servings of Turkish coffee

2 tablespoons finely ground fresh arabica coffee1

1-3 teaspoons sugar2

5 ounces water4


1.) Combine sugar, coffee and cold filtered water into your cezve. A rule of thumb for water to ground ratio is to use the cups you will be serving in to measure out your water. If you don’t have a cezve you can use a small saucepan, but increase the amount of water, as if you were making an additional cup. This will counteract any additional evaporation. For measuring grounds, start with 1 tablespoon of coffee for each cup, and adjust the proportions to your personal preference.

2.) Give your mixture a quick stir then place it over a medium flame. Heat it slowly, never allowing it to boil.

3.) It is an absolutely beautiful thing to watch the coffee as it heats. First foam will begin to build at the surface.  Scoop off some of this foam and place into each cup. Just when the mixture is about to boil pour out half of the pot into each cup, trying as best as you can to leave the foam at the top of the pot intact. Return the rest to the stove for an additional 10-15 seconds, and then fill each cup to the top.

4.) Serve your Turkish coffee with a glass of ice cold water for cleansing the palate.

Turkish coffee sour

1.) Combine 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee with 8 ounces of cold water into a saucepan (5 ounces if brewing in a Turkish coffee pot). Add 5 bruised cardamom pods, a strip of lemon peel, 2 cloves and a cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture just to the point of boiling. Strain the liquid and set it aside to cool.

2.) Pour 2 ounces of the cooled coffee into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Add egg whites from 1 egg, 2.5 ounces of rum, 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice and shake vigorously for 1 – 2 minutes. Strain the cocktail into 2 martini glasses (or if you are like me 1 extra large one!) and garnish with cardamom and lemon peel.

Recipe adapted from BBCGoodfood.com – link below

  1. Coffee should be ground to a fine powder.
  2. Adding spices is always optional. Other spices are commonly used, depending on the region you live in. In the eastern Mediterranean cardamom is often added. Cinnamon is often used in Morocco and Algiers. Sugar volume ranges from none, to less sweet (1/2 teaspoon) to extra sweet (3 teaspoons per cup)!
  3. In Armenia – a Bosnaka kafa, in Cyprus – a Cypriot, in Greece – an elliniko
  4. The ratio of water to coffee may be adjusted to your personal taste.


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