Turkish coffee is distinct: strong, aromatic, and made for sharing. Turkey has a long and rich history with coffee and the traditional style of Turkish brewing is unique to this region. One of the most unique characteristics of Turkish coffee is its use of extra-fine coffee grounds, akin to powdered sugar in texture and size. To get this specific Turkish grind, you need a coffee grinder that can apply enough pressure to grind down your coffee beans into a fine powder.
Thankfully, there are a number of nifty grinders on the market and some are particularly suited for a Turkish coffee grind size. But first, why does Turkish Coffee use extra-fine coffee grounds? And what do you need to look for in a good Turkish coffee grinder?
What Is Turkish Coffee?
As the name suggests, Turkish coffee is a traditional style of coffee preparation and serving that originated in the Ottoman Empire, in the region that is modern-day Turkey.
Turkish coffee can be traced back to the 16th century when an Ottoman general in Yemen brought the drink to Istanbul. Religious restrictions meant that coffee was not an acceptable drink at the time but coffee became immensely popular and so the sultan lifted the ban. By the 17th century, Turkish coffee culture had reached Europe, with the first coffee house in Britain being set up by an Ottoman Jew.
Turkish coffee is distinct from the drink that was first brought in from Yemen. The sultan’s staff experimented with the coffee beans, using a mortar and pestle to grind it to a fine powder and then brewing it in a special pot called an Ibrik. This fine Turkish grind is still a characteristic of authentic Turkish coffee.
Over the centuries, Turkish coffee has woven itself into local culture, becoming a vital part of wedding customs, fortune-telling, and everyday socialization. The most important part of brewing Turkish coffee is the fine grind and for this, you need a good Turkish Coffee grinder. When making Turkish coffee, the fine grounds are left in the cup so getting the Turkish grind right is very important.
What to Consider When Buying a Turkish Coffee Grinder
As with any brewing method, having the right grind size is essential. Grind size controls how fast or how slow water moves through the ground coffee, which then affects the extraction rate and ultimately, the taste. To make good Turkish coffee, you need to consider the following:
- Extra-fine Turkish grind coffee
The foremost requirement for this brewing method is an extra-fine grind so you need to look for grinders that are capable of producing this specific Turkish grind. Keep reading to browse my selection of the best Turkish coffee grinders.
Apart from the technical capabilities of the grinder, you need to consider the size and capacity. Grinders can vary widely in this aspect so you need to find something that suits your specific needs. Most manual grinders can only grind enough coffee for 1-3 cups, with the smallest only having the capacity for 1 cup. Automatic grinders generally have a bigger capacity and can make larger batches of ground coffee.
Of course, you want a grinder that won’t give up on you after a few uses. A reliable and sturdy grinder begins with high-quality construction and durable burrs. The most reliable Turkish grinders can easily be sourced in Europe and you don’t need to import them from Turkey. For example, German grinders are a great option thanks to their superior engineering.
This might be the biggest limiter for coffee enthusiasts looking to brew Turkish coffee. A good Turkish coffee grinder can be fairly expensive, ranging anywhere from $50 to over $800. This is because making the extra-fine Turkish grind requires precise equipment which raises the cost of manufacturing. With Turkish coffee grinders, the price is an indication of capacity and size rather than absolute quality. This means you could get a high-quality grinder for a lower price if you can compromise on the volume and size of the grinder itself.
This is probably the most subjective criterion but it might help to consider the design of your Turkish grinder. You can opt for a more traditional, ornate design (most commonly seen in manual Turkish grinders) or go for a neutral, modern design that will fit in well in any kitchen.
Manual vs Electric Grinder for Turkish Coffee
Let’s face it, grinding your own coffee by hand can be a hard task. However, if you want the best flavors in your cup, freshly ground coffee is the way to go. This is particularly true for Turkish coffee where getting the grind size correct is paramount for a good brew.
The pros of an electric grinder are that it doesn’t require any manual effort, it’s quicker, and you can grind larger quantities of coffee at once. The drawback is that most electric grinders don’t have the capability to give you an extra-fine grind and those that have an extra-fine setting tend to be exorbitantly priced.
For most cases, a manual grinder should be sufficient for home brewing. A manual grinder does take time and effort to operate but it’s cheaper, easier to store at home, and gives a more authentic Turkish coffee grind. Unless you’re brewing large quantities of Turkish coffee at home or for commercial purposes, a manual grinder will suffice.
Best Turkish Coffee Grinder: Top 5
Now that you know what to look for, let’s get into my top 5 Turkish coffee grinders:
1. Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill
If you like vintage design and German engineering, the Zassenhaus Santiago coffee mill is the one for you. With a unique European-style mahogany finish, this coffee grinder can grind coffee for 2-3 cups with little effort, despite the fact that it’s completely manual. This is easily one of the most durable coffee grinders for Turkish coffee and comes with a 25-year warranty. This exceptional quality and durability come at a cost though, so this is not a budget option.
2.JavaPresse Manual Coffee Bean Grinder
This stainless steel coffee grinder is a versatile manual grinder with conical burrs and easy-to-adjust settings. The clicking wheel design for grind setting and the conical burrs both ensure consistency in your Turkish grind while the stainless steel body is lightweight, easy to clean, and easy to store.
3. Bazaar Anatolia Turkey Grinder
The Bazaar Anatolia Turkey Grinder looks like a traditional Turkish grinder and is made in Turkey. The body is made from durable metal and features an easy-to-use handle and conical burrs for a consistent grind. However, this grinder for Turkish coffee does not come with different grind settings and is quite small, only grinding enough for about one cup of coffee.
4. BUNN 1-Pound Bulk Coffee Grinder
While we mentioned that electric grinders are the best choice for Turkish coffee, sometimes you just need a lot of coffee to be ground quickly. This is where the BUNN 1-pound bulk coffee grinder shines- it can churn out 1 pound of ground coffee in under a minute. The large amount of pressure required to make an extra-fine grind means this machine is large and expensive. This is a good option if you make a lot of Turkish coffee at home or if you want to use it for a business.
5. Khaw-Fee Manual Coffee Grinder
This Turkish coffee grinder is a budget-friendly option and comes with two grinders. However, both are small and the handle requires some elbow grease to get it going. It can take 5 minutes or more to get a good extra-fine Turkish grind but it gets the job done.
Turkish Coffee FAQs
Which beans are best for Turkish coffee?
Always select high-quality Arabica beans, preferably a medium or dark roast. Brazilian coffees are particularly suited for this style of brewing.
How much caffeine is in Turkish coffee?
Turkish coffee has a reputation for being strong which is because of the brewing method and lack of filtration. A cup of Turkish coffee contains approximately 85mg of caffeine. In comparison, an espresso has around 60mg of caffeine and cold brew has 200mg of caffeine in a cup.
Can I brew Turkish coffee at home?
To brew Turkish coffee at home, you will need freshly ground extra-fine coffee (ground with one of the Turkish grinders in this article, maybe), a small burner, and a traditional Ibrik.
Coffee is an amazing way to explore new cultures and tastes and Turkish coffee is a must-try for any coffee lover. With its rich history and enduring traditions, Turkish coffee is a look into a unique coffee culture and an homage to the long history of coffee drinking over the centuries.