If you want to learn how to make Turkish coffee at home, this article will give you all the details. Making Turkish coffee is not as tricky as other methods, but you will find that it takes some practice. Measuring out the ingredients for this Turkish coffee recipe is the easy part. But there is a learning curve for how long to keep everything on the heat.
Once you dial in your technique, you will find that the perfect Turkish coffee tastes fantastic and has a thick texture with beautiful foam. It tastes even more delicious with something sweet, like chocolate or a Turkish delight.
So if you’re ready to learn how brewing Turkish coffee works, keep reading to learn the details!
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Turkish Coffee Making: The Basics
Compared to regular coffee from a standard drip coffee maker, Turkish coffee is more similar in serving size and taste to espresso. As a full-immersion brewing method, you boil fine grinds in a copper pot called a cezve and serve it unfiltered in a small espresso cup. The taste is intense, and the texture is thick, although it does not have as much caffeine as the intensity would suggest.
You will also hear Turkish coffee called Greek coffee or Arabic coffee because the same brewing method is popular in countries throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Besides the unique taste compared to American coffee, drinking Turkish coffee reminds us of the origin of coffee. The world’s first coffee house was in Istanbul (Constantinople at the time.) Also, the species of high-quality coffee bean known as Coffea arabica, or arabica beans, gets its name from its origins amongst Arabic people.
When drinking Turkish coffee, you should remember that in Turkey and Middle Eastern countries, the culture treats drinking coffee as a ritual. Especially when serving this drink to guests, the goal is to bring people together, have engaging conversations, and enjoy slowly.
Traditional Turkish Coffee Brewing
Many Turkish families in modern times use an electric Turkish coffee maker. But you make authentic Turkish coffee in a special long-handled pot called a cezve. Water, finely ground coffee, and possibly sugar are placed over low or medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Turkish sand coffee is even more traditional. This method uses hot sand as the heat source, which is even more ideal for brewing the coffee low and slow. Turkish coffee tastes best when you achieve a thick and foamy texture without burning or over-boiling the mixture.
You also serve and drink Turkish coffee unfiltered, with the fine grinds adding to the overall strength and texture.
Making Turkish Coffee at Home
Before you can get into the details of making Turkish coffee at home, let’s review a few pieces of equipment you might need. You can technically get by without the proper equipment, but dialing in the perfect flavor and texture will be difficult.
Firstly, you will need a Turkish coffee pot, called a “cezve” in Turkish. This device is a long-handled pot that other countries call an “ibrik”. A traditional pot has copper material, and the shape helps the coffee heat gradually over low heat. Brewing Turkish coffee correctly is all about going low and slow. And unless you already own small espresso cups, you will also need at least one Turkish coffee cup. The small cup holds the right amount of liquid (3 ounces) and often has traditional Turkish designs on it.
You can check out our complete guide to Turkish coffee pots and cups for details. But for most people, we recommend the BCS cezve and these traditional cups. You can also consider buying a Turkish coffee machine, although we think the traditional brewing method on the stove is more fun.
Can You Make Turkish Coffee with Regular Grounds?
There are multiple problems with trying to make Turkish coffee using regular grounds. Firstly, you will not achieve the same extraction and flavors with the coarser grounds designed for drip machines. Secondly, the fine powdery grind meant for Turkish coffee more naturally falls to the bottom of the cup to prevent you from drinking too many grinds.
You can use any beans and grind at the finest setting, but we do not recommend using regular drip grounds!
A Basic Turkish Coffee Recipe
If you want to know how to brew Turkish coffee with a basic recipe, the instructions in the graphic below will give you the basic steps needed for two servings of Turkish coffee. Later in the article, you will find more details and considerations. We also include tips for brewing if you do not own the proper Turkish coffee equipment.
How To Make Turkish Coffee: The Details
The above recipe for Turkish coffee should work well, but like all coffee brewing, understanding the details will help you dial in the perfect flavor every time. So let’s examine some of the details behind making Turkish coffee and how they affect the flavor.
Turkish Coffee Preparation
If you’re brewing the coffee with a machine, there is little stress about the heating process. Combine the water, ground coffee, and sugar (optional) into the coffee pot and let the machine do the rest.
But when brewing in a cezve, it is even more crucial to get the proper ratio of ground coffee to water. The easiest way to measure the ratio is to fill your coffee cup just below the rim with water, which should be 120 ml. Do this for each serving and combine it with 1 tablespoon of ground coffee. For people familiar with brewing on an espresso machine, the dose of coffee is around 18 grams, resulting in a coffee-to-water brewing ratio of roughly 1:6.
Lastly, gently stirring is also critical so that you evenly mix and remove dry clumps.
Turkish Coffee Grind
If you are using whole bean coffee and have a good coffee grinder at home, use the finest setting. The grind should be even finer than espresso. If you have your coffee ground at a store, tell them how you plan to brew it.
But you won’t have to worry about grinding if you buy a Turkish brand of coffee because those come pre-ground.
Turkish Coffee Ratio
Like all coffee preparations, dialing the perfect ratio is a matter of taste. Although Turkish coffee is not as sensitive to the ratio as espresso or drip coffee, you will find it affects the strength and intensity of the taste.
We recommend a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:6, which is 1 tablespoon of coffee (18 grams) and 120 milliliters of water. Most Turkish coffee cups hold the correct amount of water, so we usually measure with that to make it easier.
Turkish Coffee Spices
Besides adding sugar for sweetness, it is also common to add cardamom. Many Turkish coffee brands even blend it into their grounds. It is supposed to add a pleasant smell and slightly sweet flavor.
Other popular spices you can add to Turkish coffee include cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These spices are a matter of personal preference, so add them slowly until you find the perfect cup for you.
Turkish Coffee: How To Make in 4 Steps
To put all of this info into an easy step-by-step process, here is our Turkish coffee recipe in four segments.
1. Measure Ingredients and Combine Into Coffee Pot
Combine water, ground coffee, and any additives/spices like sugar into the cezve. Use one tablespoon of coffee for every 120ml of water, a ratio that is roughly 1:6. A proper Turkish coffee cup can serve as your measuring vessel.
Stiring the ingredients before brewing will help you get an even extraction and remove any clumps of coffee grounds.
2. Place Cezve Over Medium Heat
The key to delicious Turkish coffee is slowly heating the mixture. Using medium heat will ensure that you don’t burn the grounds or make your coffee too bitter. After a few minutes, the mixture should begin bubbling. The goal is to make the foam rise without fully boiling the mixture. This step takes practice to get the timing and heat level right without spilling or over-boiling.
You should let the foam rise 2-3 times, taking the cezve off of the heat for a few seconds to let the mixture settle.
3. Transfer Foam
After each time the foam rises put some into the coffee cups with a small teaspoon. This process will prevent overflow in your cezve and create a better texture in your final cup.
4. Serve with Treats
After 2-3 repetitions of rising foam, slowly pour the thick mixture into each of your cups. The goal is to pour slowly enough so you don’t disturb the foam you have already scooped into each cup.
Whether or not you added sugar into the cezve, the intensity of Turkish coffee blends well with something sweet. Turks love serving their coffee with either chocolate or a Turkish delight on the side.
How To Make Turkish Coffee without Cezve
The brewing process will be similar if you try to make Turkish coffee without a cezve, but it will be hard to get the proper foam and taste. Any kind of small pot could work, but remember that the shape and material of a cezve are ideal.
But let’s check out some alternatives.
Turkish Pot Coffee
Without a cezve, you can theoretically make Turkish coffee in a small pot. The key is to find something as narrow as possible that will heat gradually without burning or over-extracting the coffee.
A narrow pot also ensures that you can get the right texture and foam. Pouring from a pot into a small coffee cup can be difficult. So you might consider transferring everything into a measuring cup with a spout before serving into cups.
How To Make Turkish Coffee in a Saucepan
Unless you have a particularly small saucepan, the key to making Turkish coffee in a saucepan is brewing enough. If you try to make one cup in a medium/large pan, it will not work. So aim for at least four servings if using a pan. Scoop out the foam first and transfer it to a measuring cup to avoid spills.
How To Make Turkish Coffee in a French Press
Since you cannot boil water in a French press, you will not be able to achieve the proper texture or flavor for Turkish coffee. But if you want to make coffee with a similar brewing ratio, you can add ground coffee at the finest setting at the Turkish coffee ratio of 1:6.
The normal brewing ratio of French press coffee is around 1:15, so using a fine grind and a tighter brewing ratio might get you closer to the taste and texture of Turkish coffee.
Best Coffee for Turkish Coffee
While you can technically brew Turkish coffee with any bean, there are specific brands that work particularly well.
Where To Buy Turkish Coffee
You should be able to find Turkish coffee in an international grocery store, especially one that specializes in Middle Eastern foods. The links below also take you to various brands on Amazon that have the Turkish coffee most Turks use. If you want to use your usual coffee beans, just be sure to grind them as fine as possible.
Look out for certain brands that contain spices already blended in, as this will speed up the process. Lastly, be sure to check the expiration date. Fresh Turkish coffee tastes infinitely better than old grounds!
Best Turkish Coffee Brands
Since we’ve been to Turkey many times, we can vouch that Turks love the following brands of Turkish coffee:
Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi
Elite Turkish Ground Coffee
Elite Turkish Coffee with Cardamom
Can You Make Turkish Coffee with Regular Grounds?
While any type of coffee bean, can work for making Turkish coffee, one of the key elements is a very fine grind. So, if you choose to brew with the beans you have at home, put your grinder on the finest setting.
You technically can try to make Turkish coffee with regular grounds, aka pre-ground coffee meant for a drip machine. However, you will miss out on the classic Turkish coffee flavors that you get from the fine powdery grounds that you would typically use.
How Do You Make Turkish Coffee: FAQ
Now that you understand the details of a basic recipe for Turkish coffee, let’s wrap up by answering some of the most frequently asked questions people have about this beverage.
How is Turkish coffee made?
Turkish coffee is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans with water and sugar (optional) in a cezve (small copper or brass pot) and serving it unfiltered in small cups.
Do you put milk in Turkish coffee?
Turkish coffee is not usually served with milk because you drink it out of small cups like espresso. However many people add sugar to balance the intensity of Turkish coffee.
What is the ratio for Turkish coffee?
We recommend a ratio of 1:6 when making Turkish coffee, which works out to 1 tablespoon of coffee per 120 ml of water. But like all coffee brewing, the ratio for Turkish coffee can vary.
What makes Turkish coffee different?
Turkish coffee is unique because you boil finely ground coffee beans and serve it unfiltered. The result is a strong flavor, thick texture, and rich aroma.
Making Turkish Coffee: Final Thoughts
Most of our readers are passionate about specialty coffee, and they usually prefer strong coffee in the form of espresso. But hopefully, you now have a greater appreciation for Turkish coffee, its history, and the rich culture that surrounds it.
Okay fine, you might not become an everyday Turkish coffee drinker. But having this ability will impress your friends and connect you with a coffee culture that dates back hundreds of years!
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