Turkish coffee is a perfect drink to have on a cold winter day. It will give you the warmth and comfort that you need to keep going. But how do you know which brands are the best? We’ve compiled this list of tips so that you can find out!
What is Turkish Coffee?
It's not just the caffeine that the delicious Turkish coffee will give you, it's also a taste of history.
Many centuries ago, roasted beans were boiled with water then seasoned with spices like cardamom or ginger, creating a bitter drink which quickly replaced beer as Istanbul's favorite early morning pick-me-up.
Soon it spread through the Middle East where people found its flavor was improved by adding sugar. As time went on, coffee spread around the world and gained a reputation as a luxury item for demanding palates.
Today, Turkish coffee is brewed in small cups called finjans and always served with foam intact. Guests traditionally receive their own pot of coffee along with a cup at the end of a meal to take home as a compliment from the host.
Characteristics of Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee has a unique way of preparation. It is prepared from crushed, dark-roast coffee beans boiled in a saucepan with water. The ratio of coffee to water could be up to 1:3 when making Turkish Coffee.
However, in its country of origin, it will generally be prepared at a thicker mixture for a richer taste and stronger flavor. When the boiling process is finished, the fluid is poured into tiny cups decorated with decorations on their borders.
The thickness of Turkish coffee can be affected by the amount of powder used in the process and/or by the proportion of water to grinds added during preparation.
Less finely ground roasted coffee may result in a strong bitter flavor whereas less finely ground coffee leads to excess sediment being found at the bottom of the cup. The coffee is traditionally served with sugar after being brewed, although it can also be served without any additives at all.
Ultimate Turkish Coffee Buying Guide
In order to prepare a delicious cup of Turkish coffee it’s important to have the following:
- An Ibrik
- Ibrik style coffee
- A Turkish coffee grinder
- Demitasse cups
The Best Ibrik for Turkish coffee
Ibrik is the name of a small pot for coffee, specially used in Turkey. Here are the characteristics you should look out for when you are buying an ibrik:
- Unglazed bottom is an absolute must for ibrik to be used on a stove or hot embers. This unglazed bottom makes the pot easy to move over the coals or embers without getting burned. So, you can hold it by hand, if needed, to stir your coffee beans while they are heating in the ibrik. Please note that this unglazed bottom might result in some slight cracking when you pour very hot water into the ibrik and take it again off from fire immediately after it is boiled.
- High sides is another feature of good ibrik for Turkish coffee which helps you not spill any drop of your precious drink while it is being heated up. High sides allow you to use a long match to light up your coffee beans under the ibrik. This gives you more time to watch your pot, adjust fire or stirring beans before they are boiled.
- There are different sized ibriks according to their capacity . I think it is better for you to go with the bigger size if you have a larger family and often make Turkish coffee for your guests.
Because Ibrik can be easily heated on fireplace stove, smaller sizes might require longer heating time which could result in losing some of its strength. If there are only two people living in your house it will be enough to go with smaller size ibrik too.
The Best Ibrik Style Coffee Beans
You can make Turkish coffee from a wide variety of beans, but the best taste is achieved by using the right grind and type of bean.
Here are some recommendations on which beans to use for your next cup:
Kahveci Mehmet Efendi - Medium Roasted Robusta Coffee Beans—This is the original brand that started production in 1951. The Kahveci Mehmet is primarily known as a family tradition and for its high quality and great flavor. This brand has won many awards over the years at various world fairs or expositions where it was recognized for its superior quality.
The Kahveci Mehmet comes in three grades: medium roasting (the most popular), medium light roast, and dark roast. The most popular grade is the medium roasted beans which are perfect for making Turkish coffee .
Altaylar Grup - Dark Roasted Arabicas Coffee Beans—This brand of coffee is also very good quality with a strong full flavor. It can be used to make both espresso and Turkish coffee.
Portakal Çikolatalari - Lightly Roasted Arabicas Coffee Beans—The Portakal çikolata or orange chocolate is another fine brand that does well in the Ibrik style brewing process.
This bean is more expensive than others but it's worth every cent you spend on it because it has a smooth taste that will please any palate. If you prefer your first cup of coffee to be a pleasant experience and not too strong, this is the brand you should buy.
The Best Coffee Grinder for Turkish Coffee
The best way to grind this type of coffee is into very fine powder (Turkish Grind or Powder). But getting an even particle size while doing so can be...tricky. Let me explain:
The biggest challenge here is getting the proper grind consistency... If the powder is too fine your brew will be muddy and taste very bitter...too coarse and it will be weak and underdeveloped in both flavor and body.
What you need is a coffee grinder that can produce a very fine grind while also falling through your mesh coffee filter. Some examples of grinders that can do that are the Hario Slim Grinder, Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill and Porlex Mini.
- The Hario Slim Grinder is probably the best choice for most people. It starts at around $40 dollars and is super easy to use...the only drawback being that it only has one grind size adjustment so you'll have to test it out a few times to get your desired coarse-ness. You can read my full review of this grinder here .
- The Zassenhaus Santiago is probably the best looking coffee mill on the market today. Even though it's ~$90 bucks, if you're serious about getting everything right every time then it's worth it.
- The Porlex is what I consider to be the best...it's around $50 bucks, is really easy to grind with and very portable. The one drawback being that it is not too accurate when it comes to coarseness.
Demitasse Cups for Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is traditionally served in demitasse cups. These small cups hold about 1-2 ounces. In Turkey, demitasse cups are sometimes called "finjan". This word comes from the Arabic word "finjan" which means cup or little container.
The reason these cups work best with Turkish coffee is because they are very small. An average demitasse cup is only about 1-2 ounces. This way the thick coffee won't get cold too fast. However, Turkish coffee tastes wonderful in small espresso cups also.
If you want to make Turkish Coffee at home and serve in authentic style, look for demitasse cups made from white porcelain with gold decoration around the rim and handle. There are also some lovely glass cups which will work as well (but please be careful not to overheat them!).
So, now that you know everything there is to know about Turkish coffee and all of the equipment needed for a perfect cup, it’s time to start brewing. Get ready for your taste buds to be blown away by this delicious brew!
After reading this guide, I hope you have an appreciation for what makes Turkish coffee so special and how each element can help create the perfect cup. It takes more than just water and grounds in order to achieve greatness with this drink (plus some pretty specific tools).
Let me know if I can answer any questions or provide additional resources on anything!