A true testament to the importance of coffee in Turkish culture is a proverb which means "whoever has a cup of Turkish coffee with a Turk will remain friends for 40 years to come."
Indeed, Turks have been drinking coffee since the 15th century when coffee beans were first introduced to them by Ozdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Yemen at that time. He liked it so much that he introduced it to Suleiman the Magnificent who would later give the Royal seal of approval for the drink.
Once called “the black drink,” Turks have mastered the art of Turkish coffee by first grounding roasted coffee beans in a mortar and then slowly boiling the powdered coffee with water in a pot called “cezve” that is made of copper.
Gaining popularity first in palace premises, Turkish coffee soon caught the attention of the general public all over the Ottoman Empire, and became a very valuable commodity to have.
As you continue down this post, you'll read about interesting fun facts on tradition as it relates to serving coffee, brewing techniques, and finally wrapping up with highly rated and modern Turkish Coffee makers.
Interesting Fun Facts About Turkish Coffee Traditions
An Engagement Tradition
It is part of the engagement process for a bride-to-be to prepare Turkish coffee when the parents meet for the first time in order to get the blessing of the bride’s elderly relatives.
While the bride-to-be prepares the perfect foamy coffee for both her and groom’s parents to show her culinary skills, she intentionally puts salt instead of sugar into the coffee of the groom.
Everyone knows this fact and when she serves “the” coffee to the groom, everyone watches him as he drinks. What is expected from the groom is that he has to finish his coffee without any sign of dislike. This behavior is interpreted as his love, patience, and respect for the bride.
A Cup Reading Tradition
Another interesting fact about Turkish coffee is that the leftover coffee grounds in the cup is used for fortune telling.
A favorite pastime in Turkish culture, Turkish coffee readings fall in the category of Tasseography, a method used to interpret patterns in wine sediments or coffee grounds.
Here is how it's done:
Once your coffee is finished, turn your cup (choose a white one) over upside-down on the saucer
Swirl the cup and saucer 3 times clockwise thinking about your intent or wish
Put down the saucer and cup once you are done swirling. While the sediment is going down the cup onto the saucer, put a ring or coin on top of the cup until it cools down.
Once the cup is cold, it means that the reading can begin.
The Traditional Turkish Coffee Brewing Method
The delicious taste of Turkish coffee owns its uniqueness to the
coffee’s grinding method. The whole process starts with the brewing of finest ground coffee without filtration.
One coffee bean is ground into 15,000 to 45,000 particles for the best Turkish coffee. To put things in perspective, typical drip coffee that we are accustomed to in the US is ground to approximately 100 particles per bean, and around 3,000 particles for espresso. Imagine the difference!
Therefore it’s not an easy task to make the powder daily yourself by using a brass grinder unless you’re a professional or a connoisseur. You're much better off buying packaged Turkish coffee powder like Turkish locals do. They prefer buying the coffee powder ready from their favorite coffee shop or brand.
The best way to make Turkish coffee is by using a long-handled pot made from brass or copper. Of course, a finely ground coffee is needed in the first place. If you don't have one, here's one I recommend for starters that is handmade from Turkey. More on this below.
What is a Traditional Turkish Coffee Pot (Cezve/Ibrik)?
A cezve is used to make Turkish coffee and you can find them used all along parts of North Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
It is also known as “ibrik,” a specifically designed pot made of ceramic, brass, metal, or copper. You can even find silver and gold versions depending on your budget.
Gourmet professionals prefer a copper cezve as this material is the finest conductor of heat and it requires only low to moderate heat to obtain the most delicious coffee. They come with a brim and a distinctive long handle to serve the coffee easily.
How is Turkish Coffee Traditionally Served?
Turkish coffee is served in traditional Turkish coffee cups called ‘fincan”. These cups are beautifully decorated. Under each cup, there is a small saucer, which are sometimes used in fortune telling traditions as previously mentioned. If you don't have a set, espresso cups work just fine, but here's a starter set that you can use that comes with an ibrik and Turkish coffee grinds all in one.
It’s also part of tradition to serve coffee with a small cup of cold water and Turkish delights called “lokum” aside on the plate. Don't know what these are? Read more about these delicious delicacies here.
Why the water? It's recommended to drink a bit of cold water before Turkish coffee so that water can cleanses your mouth. This way, you can enjoy the flavor of the coffee even more.
Locals also prepare Turkish coffee by putting the ibrik it into hot coals or sand directly. For example, after a barbecue with friends and family, if you have some left over coals, put your cezve into the coal to brew your coffee and notice if there's any difference in taste! Don't believe me? Take a look:
The Basics of Preparing Turkish Coffee
There are a few different ways to prepare Turkish coffee, and many are up for debate as to which method is the best, but here's one for you to try.
Add cold water to your cezve about 50 milliliters (1.7 oz) per cup of coffee
Add two small tablespoons spoon of coffee powder per cup
Add a small spoon of sugar upon preference
Stir the mixture very slowly
Put the cezve on the stove and bring to a boil
Remove the cezve before it is about to boil, pour some of the coffee to the cup
Put the cezve on the stove again, this time wait until it boils
Then, pour the rest of the coffee to the cup
Brewing Turkish coffee is all about patience. If you hurry, your coffee will taste bland and won’t be foamy.
Here are some important tips to a delicious coffee:
Always use cold water when preparing Turkish coffee
Stir the mixture very slowly and always let a bit of coffee powder stay on the surface of the cezve before putting it on the stove. By doing this, your coffee will be more foamy
Never boil your coffee in the first round. Take the cezve just before it is about to boil. If you miss it, your coffee will be without foam and more importantly it will taste bitter
If you see that a cup of coffee has more foam than the other, you can transfer some of the foam by the help of a spoon
Modern Turkish Coffee Machines for the Busy Family
Turkish coffee machines have come a long way through the years to meet the needs of large families as well as business owners who serve coffee to their customers several times during the day.
Taking the place of the traditional way of brewing coffee at the push of a button, Turkish coffee machines provide a practical and quick way of preparing coffee without sacrificing any taste. They are easy to operate, durable, and a favorite of many families in Turkey, too.
You pour the correct amount of water and coffee into the brewing pot, push the button, and voila! You don’t even have to monitor the process as most machines stop automatically when your coffee is ready to be served.
Delivering smart solutions for kitchens in more than 145 countries since established in 1955, Beko is one of the biggest names in home appliance brand in the European market.
Known to support balanced and healthier lives, Beko has been working with UNICEF to educate and inspire families on the importance of eating healthy.
What makes Beko's system unique?
Using an ancient brewing method called CookSense Brewing Technology, Beko guarantees an excellent cup of coffee withe perfect foam ever time.
Just use the scoop to add your coffee and water. Fully insert the pot, push start, and once you hear the light and sound warning, you know that your coffee is ready.
It only takes Beko less than three minutes to prepare two cups of Turkish coffee.
Make sure that you wash the cup with mild soap and water after every 3-5 uses. Be careful not to overfill the pot.
The Beko 2-Cup System in summary:
Generally costs around $129
Uses an ancient brewing method
Guarantees perfect foam each and every time
Prepares 2 Turkish cups of coffees at the same time
It takes less than 3 minutes to prepare
Has a light and sound indicator to let you know when its finished
Its equipped with a standard US 120 volt plug
Comes in black with red lining
Arzum has been changing the lives of people with products that bring creativity and technology together since 1966. It is the brand that manufactured the first electrical coffee pot in Turkey.
OKKA Minio revolutionizes the authentic preparation of Turkish coffee with a patented technology with the push of a button. All you need to do is to put the correct amount of water and coffee to start the brewing process.
In a few minutes, Okka Minio can prepare four cups of coffee at the same time with perfect foam. You can use both Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese coffee brands in the market for finely-ground coffee.
If you have limited space in your kitchen, there is no problem because the machine takes up very little counter space. It's also easy clean.
What's also nice is its compact design allowing it to be easily portable.
The Okka Minio 4-Cup System in summary
Generally costs around $106
Prevents overflowing with its smart technology
Comes with a washable pot
Provides ideal brewing at low heat
It has a sound alarm system to let you know when its finished
You can prepare 1-4 cups at the same time
Color options: Black/Silver, Red/Silver, Black/Gold
Its equipped with a standard US 120 volt plug
I hope that this has given you a nice summary about Turkish coffee, its history, and brewing methods and how to bring this unique taste to the comfort of your own kitchen.
Do you have a favorite Turkish coffee brand? Let us know in the comments below!