Turkish coffee is a favourite drink not only in Turkey but also in many parts of the whole world. From the Middle East to Europe, many people enjoy its strong taste and robust flavour as a morning pleasure or during a small talk with friends during breaks. But have you ever wonder what makes Turkish coffee different from other recipes? Here is what you need to know about this special drink.
Quality of coffee beans in Turkish Coffee
The quality of the ingredients plays an important role in making Turkish coffee is one of the most beloved beverages in the world. Ideally, people often go for Arabica coffee beans that are moderately or heavily roasted. They can increase the overall level of acidity.
You should not use light-roasted categories like Rwandan or Colombian because they would be eventually too strong or too dark.
More importantly, coffee beans used for this type of coffee should be finely ground into powder. It should be finer than other types of coffee to ensure the foam layer and robust flavour.
The right coffee beans to make Turkish coffee can be not only expensive in some parts of the world, but also not as simple to find. This makes the drink so special and unique among coffee lovers.
Special tool – cezve
Another thing that makes Turkish coffee different is the use of a special tool called a cezve or ibrik. It is a small pot with a long wooden handle filled. People use it to contain hot water and coffee grounds while brewing. Most cezves are crafted from ceramic, brass, or copper. Some can be beautifully decorated with unique patterns in the Middle East.
While it is possible to use a cup or saucepan to make this type of coffee, a cezve is a part of the culture for good reason.
The special shape and size of this tool allow you to control the boiling process better. This results in the desired levels of foam and bitterness in the coffee. In fact, it can be hard to create a sludgy and concentrated drink when you only brew with a pan.
These days, automatic machines make it much simpler to make Turkish coffee. But without a cezve, the taste and flavour are truly different.
Turkish coffee brewing method
Now, about the brewing method itself. A noticeable distinction is that Turkish coffee is typically unfiltered. This means you will boil finely ground coffee beans with water, sugar, and cardamom (optional) in an ibrik until the mixture reaches the desired stage.
That way, the resulting drink comes with many features that attract coffee lovers: rich, bold, thick, and strong. The grounds will be left in the coffee during serving to bring out the most of its flavour.
Also, Turkish coffee makers tend to add sugar before heating rather than later. This allows the foam to show up easily.
A few herbal spices can be included as well, especially in eastern recipes. You can try ambergris, salep, mastic, or cardamom. All of these ingredients can give you a more exotic and unique coffee experience.
Serving and drinking
People often serve Turkish coffee in small cups with similar size to espresso mugs. They are often crafted from porcelain rather than glass to keep the drink warm for as long as possible. Some cups even come with a lid and copper holder. If you want to experience this coffee culture to the fullest, then investing in these special items is worth it.
The taste is so strong and rich that Turkish coffee is usually served with a glass of water. Sipping water can be a good way to refresh the palate before or after sipping the drink. By doing this, you would get the most fun and enjoyment out of the coffee. And do not forget some sweet treats like candies or cookies, an indispensable part of any coffee experience.
Unlike espressos and other popular styles, Turkish coffee is supposed to be sipped slowly. You should enjoy every sip while talking with friends or thinking about life. It can be 10 minutes, 1 hour, or more until the grounds remain at the bottom of the cup.
Another factor that makes Turkish coffee different from other types is tasseography – the practice of reading coffee grounds. As it is unfiltered, the drink leaves a dark and murky layer of sediment on the bottom of the cup after consuming.
Based on the patterns, shapes, and colours, people can relate to common symbols and interpret their meanings to tell your past and future. While many people practice tasseography professionally, everyone can do it at home to have more fun in their coffee time with friends or family.
With many unique features in preparation, brewing methods, and rich culture, Turkish coffee made it into the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2013.
The drink is a widely accepted symbol of friendship and hospitality, with coffee being offered to guests as a welcoming gesture or friends hanging out at coffeehouses. It is also important in the inscription when people commonly serve the drink during engagement ceremonies and holiday.
From the Middle East to Europe, Turkish coffee is not only a drink. It is a part of culture, society, and way of life. People take their time, sit, chat, wait for friends, and celebrate with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
As you can see, what makes Turkish coffee so beloved and unique is only a special brewing method but also a long history of nearly 500 years. So, the next time you are in Istanbul, look for a good café shop to engage with one of the most historic and vibrant coffee cultures in the world.