Monday, February 27, 2012

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is strong coffee made from very finely ground coffee boiled in water. Frequently it's boiled with sugar and cardamom.

Cardamom and coffee, mmmmmm.

I know there's something to be said for authenticity, but I'm neither Turkish, nor do I drink (or make) this often enough to warrant the purchase of the appropriate accoutrements.

However, I think it can be fabricated well enough at home with what's available to me. Besides, I was able to grind the coffee to the appropriately lovely, powdery fineness when I bought beans. Finer than FINE, more than ESPRESSO, it's... TURKISH.

Well, the grinder at home wouldn't grind finely enough.

When the finished coffee is poured into cups, there should be creamy layer foam on top of each serving (but if there's not, it's certainly still drinkable). This is the reason why stirring should not occur while the coffee brews- so that the foam remains intact. Slow pouring (as well as pouring high above the cup- which constitutes a little coffee theatrics) will help to ensure foam. Carefully removing foam after the first boil and spooning it into cups will also ensure foam for each cup of coffee...

But foam isn't as easy to come by as it may seem (and to be perfectly honest, it's not really one of my strong points).

Turkish Coffee
serves 4

6 t very finely ground coffee (Turkish)
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed, seeds removed and crushed finely in a mortar and pestle
4 t sugar
1 1/3 c cold water

Stir coffee, water, and sugar together in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Place the pan over medium low heat, and cook without stirring.
When the coffee boils and froths, carefully remove the pan from the heat so as not to disturb the foam, and let it settle a bit (do not stir). After about 30 seconds, return the pan to the heat and re-boil over medium low heat. 
Once again, remove from the heat and let the coffee settle (do not stir). Boil a third time in the same manner, remove from heat without stirring the mixture and let it settle. 
Boil the coffee a fourth and final time, remove from heat, and let the coffee settle. Pour the finished Turkish coffee a little at a time into each of four demitasse cups, alternating several times to distribute the coffee and foam evenly. Let the cups sit a minute for the grounds to settle before serving.


  1. What a delight! I had Turkish coffee once at a middle-eastern restaurant on Delmar on the Loop. I never was quite able to reproduce it myself, however.

  2. If you end up trying it, you'll have to let me know how it compares.
    As far as authenticity goes, it would probably end up with more of the necessary foam if the coffee were cooked in the pot it technically should be made in (an ibrik)- I assume the shape helps retain it.