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How to prepare Turkish coffee

According to the Turkish proverb "Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love." Let us remember that the coffee that was consumed mainly in the 16th century, when the famous Turkish Coffee was created, belonged to the robusta family, which, as we well know, has a much stronger and bitter taste than Arabica.

A little history

The coffee made its triumphal entry into Istanbul in 1543 during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, thanks to the mediation of Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Yemen, who decided to take a sample to Istanbul.

The initial way of preparing coffee in Yemen consisted of roasting the beans over a fire, then being finely ground, almost like powder, to finally be slowly heated with water over the ashes of a coal fire.

The easy procedure for making coffee, together with its aroma, made it become an increasingly famous drink and relatively easy access for all those who wanted to try it.

In fact, coffee had such an impact and popularity in the sultan's court that the post of "Chief of the Coffee Maker", Kahvecibaşı, was added to the list of judicial officials.

Whoever held the position of "Chief Coffee Maker" had a great responsibility, and at the same time it was a great privilege and reason for admiration, since he was the only person in charge of preparing coffee for the Sultan. Among the various requirements that the Chief Coffee Maker had to meet, he highlighted, for example, his loyalty and his ability to keep secrets.

To get a better idea of the relevance of this position, we can find in the records of Ottoman history a list of "Presidents of the Coffee Makers", some of whom even became Grand Viziers of the Sultan.

Drinking coffee became fashionable and that is how he made the leap from the court and settled in the great mansions. The wealthy people then bought green coffee beans, roasted them in their own homes, then ground the beans in mortars and used coffee makers known as "cezve".

With the creation of the first coffee shops, the general public had access to coffee consumption. The first one called "Kiva Han" opened its doors in 1554 and after it, many more followed, becoming an integral part of the social culture of Istanbul as people gathered in the establishments throughout the day, to read books, play board games such as chess or backgammon, and discuss various topics such as poetry, politics and literature.

Thanks to the efforts of merchants and travelers who passed through Istanbul, the "Turkish Coffee" and its way of preparation, soon spread to Europe and finally to the whole world.

How to prepare Turkish coffee?

It may seem obvious, but the most important thing about Turkish coffee is having the right coffee maker. Traditionally, it is a small copper jug that has a long wooden or sometimes metal handle and the base is wider than the top.

One aspect that differentiates it from other forms of preparation is that the liquid must boil and usually, sugar, spices, cardamom, anise, etc., are added during the preparation process. This makes the result very intense but at the same time pleasant.

It should be noted that Turkish Coffee has its own annual world championship organized by the SCAA and the SCAE, which is within the World of Coffee Events, and is highly recognized internationally.

Now, let's see step by step how to prepare a Turkish Coffee:

  1. Fill the ibrik (jar) up to 2/3 with fresh bottled or filtered water.

  2. Add the coffee (the ratio is usually 1 spoon for each cup approximately),

  3. Then add the sugar (this is to everyone's taste, but it is usually 1 tablespoon for every 2 coffee), spices if applicable, and mix it well.

  4. Once we have the mixture ready, we place the jar over medium heat without stirring until it boils. It is removed from the heat, and left to rest for a few seconds until the liquid level returns to its initial point.

  5. Serve some coffee in the cup that we have selected and put it back on the fire.

  6. We wait a few seconds until it boils again and it is removed, another little is served in the cup and let it rest in the same way.

  7. The boiling process is repeated a third time and the cup that we are going to use is finished filling.

For the traditional preparation of Turkish coffee, a large stone fountain is used that is filled with sand. Inside the fountain there is a hole where burning coal is placed, which will be in charge of heating the sand.

In principle, after three boils, the coffee would already be prepared, but there are people who add an extra step and that is to stir the coffee and place it on the fire a fourth time, to get a cleaner cup.

As final recommendations, comment that it has to be served with great care, so that the coffee grounds that remain at the bottom of the ibrik, although it is normal for some of the coffee remains to pass into the cup. And also that it is important to take good care of each of the steps to follow since in case of foaming the drink too much, we can find bitter flavors in the cup.

We leave you the following video developed by DEFRAGMENTEUR in which we are taught how to make a Turkish coffee using a traditional fire and not with coal or sand. There is no doubt that we can use various forms of preparation to enjoy a delicious Turkish Coffee and that finally, personal experience is what will tell us what amounts of coffee, sugar, spices and how many boils are adequate to satisfy our palate.


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