Ever since Ethiopia and Yemen introduced coffee to the world, many countries have been producing their own versions of brews that are all unique and delicious. Specifically, in Middle Eastern and European countries like Turkey, Iran, and Greece, a morning cup of coffee needs to be very robust and rich in terms of taste–especially the Turkish coffee.
In this article, you will be discovering what makes Turkish coffee so popular in those parts of the globe. A step-by-step guide on how to make your own Turkish coffee is also provided below.
What is Turkish coffee?
Turkish coffee is a way of preparing coffee by combining finely ground beans and water while bringing the concoction to a frothy consistency without filtering it. It is actually one of the oldest brewing methods and has been around since the 1500s.
Traditionally, Turkish coffee is brewed in a cezve, which is a small pitcher-shaped pot. This pot is usually made of copper, but more modern ones are ceramic or stainless steel. After the coffee is made in this vessel, the coffee is served and distributed into cups, which will include the coffee grounds. When the coffee powder sinks to the bottom of the cup, the beverage is ready to be consumed.
Turkish coffee can be served sweetened with sugar. It can also be prepared with additional spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon for a more complex flavor. This unfiltered coffee also contains a higher amount of caffeine concentration than other available method styles.
Turkish Coffee and Turkish Weddings
Turkish coffee has always been a custom in traditional Turkish weddings. Before the actual marriage, the groom's parents pay a visit to the bride's family to ask for her hand and her parents' blessings. The bride-to-be then prepares Turkish coffee for the guests.
At this time, the bride can be criticized by the groom's family for her coffee-making skills. She can be rejected if her skills are poor. If she really wants to be accepted, she needs to serve them a good-tasting brew, which is why 100% Arabica beans are used for Turkish coffee most of the time.
On the other hand, the girl can put salt instead of sugar in the groom's cup to measure his character. Through this activity, the bride can assume if the groom is patient or good-tempered if he does not show any sign of displeasure upon sipping his cup. This is a kind of examination to test if the boy has the etiquette to receive the girl's gift with all smiles.
Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso
Both types of coffee are known for their really strong flavor. But there are actually more differences than similarities.
Firstly, Turkish coffee and espresso are brewed in different styles or methods. Turkish coffee is made by boiling fine grounds in water, while espresso is produced through pressurized extraction.
In the case of caffeine content, both are quite similar as it will mainly depend on the type of roast you are using. However, the smaller serving size of espresso generally indicates it has less caffeine than any other coffee-based beverage.
On the other hand, Turkish coffee usually uses a lighter roast. But since the contact time between the water and coffee is much longer, more caffeine is extracted. Both coffee styles are typically served in 1.5 to 2 ounces, which means that both's caffeine content wouldn't be that much, and a 6-ounce cup of drip coffee has more.
Taste and Flavor
Turkish coffee possesses a very intense, rich, and dark character. Some other recipes call for extra spices like turmeric, cloves, or cardamom just to give that kick of complexity. In addition, since the coffee is not filtered, you will experience a more enhanced texture. You will encounter a frothy, muddy texture with a soft, powdery mouthfeel coming from the grounds settled at the bottom of the cup.
Meanwhile, espresso is a shot of coffee. After it has been brewed, you can just let it cool down for a bit and sip immediately. Most of the natural flavors you'll get from this coffee are caused by the high-pressure brew it utilizes. You get plenty of tastes and aromas depending on the type of roasted beans you have. These flavors range from dark chocolate, sweet, and subtle spices to many other flavors.
How To Make Turkish Coffee
Compared to other brewing methods, making Turkish coffee is relatively easy as you can use tools that are available at home.
What you will need:
- Cold filtered water
- Turkish coffee–this coffee is ground at a finer setting compared to regular ones.
- Cezve or any wide-bottomed saucepan with a long handle–ideally made of copper, ceramic or stainless steel to preserve heat.
- Small demitasses or coffee cups for serving.
- Granulated sugar
How To Make Turkish Coffee At Home
If you're a fan of a rich brew, then you should try making Turkish coffee at home. You won't be needing special barista skills, as it's quite easy to prepare.
Follow the steps below:
- If the coffee you currently have is not pre-ground, grind the beans into a fine powder using your hand-operated or electric grinder. Make sure it is extra-fine, appropriate for Turkish coffee.
- Combine four heaping teaspoons of your Turkish coffee into your pot or saucepan containing one cup of cold filtered water. You can also add sugar if desired.
- Put the mixture over medium-low heat.
- Whenever the coffee starts to sink at the bottom of the pot or saucepan, stir the ingredients several times. Be careful not to stir too much as you may over-mix the concoction.
- Right before the coffee boils, a thick froth will begin to appear. Remove the pot from the heat and skim the foam off the mixture.
- Transfer the foam to the serving cups and put the pot back to the heat until froth forms again.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have enough foam for all your cups.
- Pour the mixture slowly into the small cups.
- Allow the coffee to sit for at least 2 minutes to make sure the grounds settle at the bottom of the cup before serving.
- You can serve the coffee with different kinds of spices like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, etc.
Producing foam on your Turkish coffee may be the biggest challenge in the entire preparation. So below are some tips that will make sure you get your desired froth and consistency.
- Always use freshly ground coffee. When you use coffee that isn't fresh, your brew won't create the foam you want. To retain your coffee's freshness after opening the package, make use of an airtight container for storage and keep it away from moisture, light and heat.
- Use cold filtered water when you start to brew your Turkish coffee. Never try using warm or hot water as it won't give you the desired froth.
- Combine your coffee, water, and sugar (if desired) inside the pot altogether before putting it on heat. Mix it gently and not rapidly, as it may affect the consistency of your foam.
- Use the lowest heat when brewing your coffee, stirring two to three times until it begins rising. Never let the mixture boil.
- Upon serving, make sure you pour the coffee slowly into the cups to make sure the froth you've transferred will remain safe.
Health Benefits of Turkish Coffee
Since Turkish coffee is a very strong brew with a higher concentration of caffeine, it has a number of health benefits.
Improves Athletic Performance
Turkish coffee has a high amount of caffeine that is beneficial if you're into athletic activities. It has lots of performance benefits, such as quicker reaction time and elevated energy levels.
Carries Beneficial Compounds
Turkish coffee is unfiltered, which would mean higher levels of beneficial compounds generally found in any brewed coffee. Compounds like chlorogenic acids are kinds of polyphenol antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, blood sugar, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Studies show that finer grounds, like Turkish coffee, have higher amounts of chlorogenic acids.
Prevents Mental Conditions
Caffeine protects the brain from the risk of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's diseases.
Protects From Certain Diseases
Drinking coffee helps reduce the risks of getting diseases such as diabetes and heart problems. In addition, habitual coffee drinkers have lower chances of getting depression, endometrial and liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis.
Cardamom has Health Benefits
Turkish coffee is also sometimes prepared with a kind of health-beneficial spice called the cardamom. This ingredient contains lots of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation as well as lower the risks of getting chronic diseases.
Turkish coffee is not only enjoyed in different places around the world as a part of a tradition, but it is truly loved for its rich, flavorful, and unique character as well.
Knowing how simple Turkish coffee is to prepare at home, you may be motivated to prepare it on your own now. You don't need any fancy brewer to make it, plus the coffee provides some health benefits that are not present in other brews.