The True Turkish Coffee on Sand,

as I saw it made in Turnu Severin

by Camelia Krausmann

There isn't such a thing as Turkish coffee. However, there are different methods of preparing a cup of coffee. Before the coffeemakers were invented, people used other ways to brew their morning delight. Turkish coffee refers to a method of making coffee which is, till today, the preferred one in some countries.

When I was in high school, my classroom went on a trip along the Danube river. The trip lasted only three days but in this short time I collected lots of information that later became memories.

First, we landed at a hotel in Turnu Severin - a port at Danube river. I remember being very happy because the boy I was interested was there too. Today I do not even recall his name but he was the one that, short after we got our rooms and unpacked, invited me to go down town for a coffee.

As we were under the age of 18 we were not allowed in any bar or restaurant without an adult so we went to a flee market he knew from his previous trips. In a large plaza, near downtown, there were people selling gadgets, fresh fish, or vegetables just picked from their garden. Others had small kiosks that served a kind of local fast-food, and of course, coffee. There were several places for coffee; he brought me to this particular one that made true Turkish coffee, as he later explained to me.

If I looked for a top stove with boiling coffee pots, I was wrong. Instead a saw this huge try filled with sand, resting on a frame above a gas tank. The tray was as big as 20 x 30 inches and the sand inside was lightly steaming. A tall, thin man, slightly bended from his back, like a reed in a breeze, came carrying some funny pots I never saw before. Those were ibrice (plural of ibrik, a pot used to prepare coffee).

this is the littlest Ibric I ever saw
this is the littlest Ibric I ever saw

Turnu Severin is a medium size city located on the south-west side of Romania, on a very accessible shore to Danube river. The archaeological discoveries suggest that once, there, was one the first settlements in Europe, dated around 9000 BC.


He put the pots on the tray, nesting them in the sand, more then 2 inch deep. Then he filled them with water from a glass carafe. "It's going to be 10 minutes till it's ready" he said to us and turned his back and left. We stuck around anyway, having nothing to do more important.

I look at the pots and the chaotic way they were laying on the tray thinking that if that man would have wanted he could have fit a couple more.

The pots were narrow and tall, made out of copper, with a very long handle. They could hold only 4 ounces of liquid unlike the ones I was used to, a large cylinder, to fit at least tree cups of water.

The man came back with a brown paper bag. Using a long-tail teaspoon he reached inside the bag and filled it with coffee, that he pour it into a coffee pot. Two heaping teaspoons for each pot. The water inside was steaming. I wanted to touch the sand so I got closer. I almost placed a finger in the try but my friend stopped me he said I'll get a bad burn.

Seemed like a long time till our coffee was ready. In the mean time lots of other people were waiting for theirs.

Working very fast, the man was taking one pot at a time and quickly emptying it in a small white cup then hand it to its customers. We got ours among the last; a hot cup of coffee, topped with a thick layer of froth.

It was the first and the last time I saw how to brew coffee in hot sand. The coffee was very good but not much different from one made on top of my stove.

It is said that Turkish coffee refers at the way the Turks used to prepare it. However, it is more to it, like the rituals that took place, the social meaning of drinking it, the conversations that developed around it.For many centuries, parts of what is now Romania, were under Ottoman Empire's suzerainty. In this time a cultural transfer took place. Such things like words, foods, drinks, clothing were imported and used by the upper classes in Romania. So, I believe coffee preparations was one of many things we got from Turks, which only enhanced our own culture.

my coffee pot
my coffee pot
my coffee cup
my coffee cup

Here is how I used to make turkish coffee: what I use: - a special pot like the one in the second photo - a teaspoon - cold water, sugar and finely grounded coffee

  • Turn on the stove to medium or low heat (low if gas, medium if electric).
  • Pour 8 ounces of cold water on a pot and place it on the stove.
  • Add as much sugar you want (I usually have 1 heaping teaspoon for a cup if in Romania and 2 if in US because US sugar is less sweet).
  • Add 2 heaping teaspoons of coffee.
  • Do not stir.
  • Let it come to a boil and stir slightly.
  • take it out of heat and collect the froth and place it in a cup (this is a little trick but it's also important).
  • Put the pot back on the stove and boil it again, for few more seconds.
  • Now take it out of the stove and pour it on the cup.
  • Wait a minute or two to allow the coffee grounds to settle at the bottom.
  • Then enjoy.

what a beauty
what a beauty

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Comments 28 comments

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This looks sooooo good. I'd love to try it so thanks for including all the photos. When I was in Greece I had such a great thick cup of coffee - sooo good. I kind of figure - if you can't have a cup of good coffee, why even bother. I'll bookmark this so I can shop in the future1

Thanks a million!

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

BkCreative, thanks for reading and commenting. I heard that Greek coffee is very good. Tough I imagine is not so different then coffee in Romania. I think that one of the key ingredients in a good coffee, regardless the methods, is water. Like beer. But I’m in love with coffee so I may write another hub on the subject.

rodica sis 6 years ago

Hi sis,

i love your story. I remember the turkish coffee in Turnu Severin, i've been there twice, and the glass of "braga" i ever drunk. Now i'm drinking a big cup of strong coffee la ibric and it is so good! Hugs

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Hi sis…

I miss your coffee. I can make one of myself but it won’t be the same.

I’ve never had “braga” I’m wondering if they still make it. Thank you for stopping and commenting.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Will have to try this method of preparing coffee! It looks so and sound so good. For a confirmed coffee addict a new way is always welcome.

Love and peace


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Hi Tony, you should try it, if you like strong coffee. It is very easy to make. If you have any questions just ask. I'm an expert in turkish coffee.

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Hi Came,

just the smell of coffee brings back great memories of good times and even better friends

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Hi Petra, It is good to see you. Thank you for stoping and commenting. I found out that people either love either don't care about coffee/ there's no middle line. But the first category is much bigger.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, cameciob, I am glad I read this. I didn't realise how they prepared it. I love your memory of the boy, because that is the sort of thing that makes it special. I Have had Turkish coffee in Greece, and it was lovely. Very strong, but I thought it was great. Thanks for the history of it, it was very interesting. cheers nell

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Hi Nell, I’m glad you like my hub. Yes, I still remember my first three boyfriends….lol. I think Greek coffee is very close to what I described as Turkish coffee. Greece was under Turks occupation till 1829, so the coffee has to be Turkish. Thanks for the comment.

Mike Chronos 6 years ago

Really informative Cameciob. Never correlated the similarities between Greek and Turkish coffee but that makes a lot of sense. Find the "do not stir" element interesting. Great stuff! Thank you!

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Mike Chronos, thank you for reading my article. I have been making turkish coffee all my life. There is something about the way the coffee boils when you just let it raise to the top during heating. It release more flavor. Besides, the sugar melts slowly and caramelizes a bit.

coffeeBeany 6 years ago

oh wow this is great.. I'll try this next weekend wooheee...

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

Hi coffeeBeany thank you for stopping and welcom ti hubpages. You should try a turkish coffee one day because it is realy good.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

Ahhh, this is the only real way to make great coffee! Much better compared to coffee maker machines! Thanks for nostalgic view.

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

ReuVera, thank you for reading and commenting on my article. I was too nostalgic when I wrote this hub because no matter what I'm doing I cannot get the same taste of turkis coffee as I had in my country, even if I'm using the same kind. But I agree, it is much better then the coffee I make in my coffeemaker.

PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

Very interesting. I love coffee but the only coffee I probably tasted is an instant coffee bought from the grocery store. I wish one day I would have the chance to taste that authentic Turkish coffee.

cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago Author

PaperNotes, If I could I would offer you a turkish coffee but since I cannot please accept my cyber coffee now.

Thanks for stopping by.

HelenBukulmez profile image

HelenBukulmez 5 years ago

Cool article. Here is a blog I wrote about Turkish coffee, too :

Enjoy your Turkish coffee and hopefully the friendships and conversations it may bring to your life.

cameciob profile image

cameciob 5 years ago Author

Helen, thank you for your wishes. I'll check your blog soon as I like to read everything that has to do with coffee.

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Good article which is well articulate.Nice work,thanks

celeBritys4africA profile image

celeBritys4africA 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I am a coffee addict.

cameciob profile image

cameciob 5 years ago Author

me too, celeBritys4africA.

shaima 5 years ago

hey came :)

i'm egyption and i love turkish coffee!! but every one tells me its bad for my health :( does it realy cause health risks?

lots of love

cameciob profile image

cameciob 5 years ago Author


The only problem that I heard about is that the caffeine in coffee (or tea) may cause high blood pressure. It may be other but there are many benefits also. How's the coffee in Egypt?

shaima 5 years ago

the coffee here is amazing! :) its a very common drink in egypt, alot of people here cant start their day without it..i think i'm becoming one of them :D can you please tell me its benefits? might as well make me love it even more :) by the way i'm only 17 years old! does this make any difference for how bad it can be for me?

sorry for this long comment,i hope i didnt bother you :)

lots of love from egypt.

cameciob profile image

cameciob 5 years ago Author


thank you for reading and commenting on my article. I agree that coffee is amazing. And did you know that one of its first uses, in Europe, was as a medicine. Yes, coffee has lots of benefits. I may write another article and listn them all for you, soon. And for you, I don't see why it can be bad, as far as you just drink in moderation.

lots of love for you too.


Kaffeeschnueffler profile image

Kaffeeschnueffler 3 years ago from Zuerich, Switzerland

Now, thats a very lovely wrotten story, ending with how to ejoy that strong coffee. Go on with your good writing :-))

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