The Beautiful Coffee: Turkish Coffee
That Special Something
Served in the most delicate of demitasse, Turkish coffee is that special and should be.
No other coffee in the world can match it's deep traditions, one that has kept to it's roots for more than 500 years. This coffee is an art form. This coffee is the owner of coffee mystique. It's deep flavors and unique aroma have the power to take you back many centuries to exotic times and lands.
What Is Turkish Coffee?
Turkish coffee is brewed using a powder-fine ground coffee, sugar(optional) and water in a special brewing pot called a cezve or ibrik. The brew is then heated slowly until it forms a foam that begins to rise to the top of the cezve. It is then carefully poured into a small coffee cup so as to retain the foam on top. The grounds remain in the coffee (they are not strained out) and these grounds settle into the bottom of the cup. It takes a bit of finesse and practice to make a great cup of Turkish coffee but well worth the effort.
Careful Pouring Adds Beauty
Proper Serving of Turkish Coffee
The art of carefully preparing Turkish coffee also includes the proper serving of it. It is such a beautiful coffee because of it's rich, dark color that forms a creamy foam topping when poured. Serving it in small cups such as demitasse or espresso cups shows off the lovely colors of this coffee.
To properly serve to guests, you should leave the coffee in the cezve pot once it has completed it's brewing. Place it on a nice serving tray along with the cups and saucers you intend to serve it in. Place a delicate sweet, such as a Turkish Delight, chocolate, cookie or baklava on the saucer or tray. Also, include a small glass of drinking water in a clear glass on the serving tray. The coffee is then carefully poured into each cup when served.
Lovely Tray Set-Up
What You Need To Make Turkish Coffee
- Extra-fine coffee grind especially for Turkish coffee. No other grind will work.
- granulated sugar(optional)
- cezve, or ibrik brewing pot
- stove-top burner
- demitasse or espresso cups
The Correct Coffee Grind is an Absolute Must
The grind of coffee is the most important part of making Turkish coffee, because otherwise it will not brew correctly as a true Turkish coffee. This grind of coffee is sometimes very difficult to find on store shelves, especially if you live outside of Europe and either you must find specialty shops or order online. You can also use a special grinder to grind it yourself from whole coffee beans. The texture is that of talcum powder.
Ibrik/Cezve To Use For Brewing
The Correct Brewing Vessel Is Also Necessary
It is also necessary that Turkish coffee be brewed in the correct pot for it to have it's best flavor and texture. I have seen some people simply boil water in a saucepan for this coffee and while it turns out as Turkish coffee, it doesn't have that full flavor nor the beautiful colors and crema. These cezve pots are also hard to find unless at a specialty shop or online.
How To Make Turkish Coffee
Some historians believe that coffee's origins began in the Kaffa Kingdom area of Ethiopia because the coffee plant is native to that area and the earliest known legends of it's discovery come from this part of East Africa.
It is uncertain when or how the stimulant effects of the coffee bean were discovered. One legend says that an Ethiopian shepherd observed his goat herd's increased activity upon consuming the beans and thus tried them himself. Discovering it's energizing benefits, he took them to a monk who threw the beans in the fire because he considered them unholy. The aroma from the burning beans brought out the other monks who took the roasted beans, added them to water and thus created the coffee beverage.
From Yemen to Turkey
The coffee beans made their way to the Arab country of Yemen and soon they began to cultivate their own coffee beans. The strong, dark brew made from the cultivated beans was used in some religious ceremonies in this region. It was thought of as a healing drink.
Word spread and eventually coffee was introduced to the a sultan in Istanbul, Turkey around 1555. (This is one theory as to how coffee was introduced into Turkey.)The Sultan's palace staff, through trial and error, discovered a more refined and precise way to prepare the coffee to get the most flavor. This special brewing process and the results is what is now referred to as Turkish coffee.
Turkish Coffee Spreads Across Europe
Coffee houses, using this particular way of brewing, began to emerge in Istanbul soon after coffee's arrival. Coffeehouses during this time were important places to gather and socialize and became an integral part of life. This was at the height of the Turkish Ottoman Empire's reign in Turkey and other parts of Europe including the Balkans, and much of Southern and Eastern Europe. The Ottoman Empire controlled the trade routes which allowed for the movement of coffee. Areas occupied by the Ottomans adopted the culture. Ottoman armies are said to require that coffee be made available to them as well when they were deployed.
Due to the increased spread of the coffee commodity by merchants during this time,coffeehouses began to spring up in areas like Vienna,Paris,Armenia and London. The preparation of the Turkish coffee began to vary, but only slightly and was due mostly to personal tastes and variations of the teachings of preparation.
Reading The Coffee Grounds
Turkish coffee reading has been around since the 16th century. Many cultures still practice this ritual.
After the coffee is consumed, the cup is turned upside-down onto it's saucer and allowed to sit a few minutes. Because Turkish coffee leaves a thick sludge in the bottom of the cup, it forms it's own unique patterns on the sides of the cup as the sludge drains from the cup into the saucer. These patterns are then read as images with certain meanings that tell the future. It is very popular in the Arab world, Greece, the Balkan countries and Russia. It is a tradition that is passed down to each generation. Most people do it for fun but many others truly believe in the readings and take it very seriously.
Example of Readings
- Many black dots- means money or good fortune will come your way
- Image of a key- means you will be moving or that you will fall in love
- A leaf shape- means you will meet a new friend or hear from a friend
- Image of a butterfly- means you have a toxic friendship with someone and should keep a distance from them
- A bell- means you will hear good news soon