Rich, thick, and very strong. These are the key factors that define the perfect cup of Turkish coffee. It’s more of a caffeine hit than you might be used to, but for millions of people, it’s the way they start their day.
If you’re a fan of the flavor, you can get an authentic tasting brew at home in less than 10 minutes. Just follow our Turkish coffee recipe below.
What You Need (Serves 2)
- 2 demitasse cups cold filtered water
- 2 tablespoons coffee (finely ground with Turkish grinder)
- 2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Demitasse or other small cups
- Cezve/ibrik Turkish coffee pot
What is Turkish coffee?
This is the method of preparing and serving coffee, not only in Turkey but also in many parts of the Middle East and Europe. Depending on the country, it is also called Arabic coffee or Greek coffee. It’s not smooth like your regular coffee. It’s an unfiltered brew, usually served sweet, which might take some getting used to if you like clean, black coffee.
Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as loveTurkish proverb
The strength comes from grinding the coffee beans to a fine, powder consistency. It’s mixed with cold water and brewed using a decoction method – one of the oldest ways of preparing coffee (1).
What is a cezve?
The cezve, also known as an ibrik, is the traditional coffee pot used to brew Turkish coffee. It’s a long-handled vessel with a broad base and a narrow top, usually made from copper and stainless steel or ceramic. Traditional ibriks can be highly decorative and make a great gift. It’s not just about tradition either; the pot’s shape is essential to the brewing process, ultimately affecting the flavor.
If you don’t have an ibrik, you can get a similar tasting brew from using a small saucepan. The difference is that you won’t get the foam on top that signifies a good cup of Turkish coffee.
As in many countries, it’s not just about getting the caffeine fix, but also an integral part of the culture and daily life. When you sit down at a café in Turkey, you won’t just get your coffee.
How To Make Turkish Coffee
Preparing Turkish coffee at home might not be as simple as using a drip coffee machine or a French press, but with a little practice and the right equipment, you’ll be able to deliver a strong, thick brew.
Step 1: Combine your ingredients
Measure your water in the cup in which you’ll serve the coffee. Add the water to the ibrik along with the ground coffee and add sugar if required. You must add sugar initially, not when serving. So if your guests like different levels of sweetness, you’ll have to do separate brews.
Pro tip: If you want a little extra flavor in your cup of coffee, you can add spices like cardamom at this stage.
Step 2: Bring to a boil, twice.
Place your cezve or saucepan over medium heat. You will notice that as your coffee and water mixture begins to heat, a foam will develop. As the brew approaches a boil, remove it from the heat. Return to the heat and bring to the boil a second time. You’re aiming for a total brew time of 2 mins 30, so if your coffee’s boiling quicker than this, use a lower temperature.
Pro tip: Some recipes call for completing the boil, remove cycle three times.
Step 3: Pour and enjoy
After the brew has boiled a second time, remove from heat and pour the coffee into two cups. Leave it to rest for around 2 minutes before drinking to allow the ground coffee to settle to the bottom. This is why some traditional Turkish cups have a reverse tulip shape larger at the base (2).
Pro tip: Don’t stir the coffee once you’ve added it to the cup, or you will lose all that foam you’ve worked so hard for!
The Turkish coffee style might be a more hands-on process than other methods, but that’s all part of its charm. The strong, black brew is designed to be enjoyed slowly, from the brewing process to the last sip. Take the time, and you’ll be rewarded with a genuinely immersive experience.
No, it is wrong to drink Turkish coffee with milk. But it is acceptable to add milk in Turkish coffee if it’s for children. The milk is not added at the end, but rather the brewing process is done with milk instead of water.
You can’t make Turkish coffee in an espresso machine. If you use coffee that is finely ground to a powder for traditional Turkish coffee, it will clog your coffee maker. If you use espresso grounds, you will simply be making an espresso.
You can grind your own Turkish coffee, but you might need the help of a good grinder. Most electric grinders don’t get the fine powder consistency required for this traditional brew (4).
- Butterworth, M. (2020, December 7). Turkish Coffee Revisited. Retrieved from https://www.freshcup.com/turkish-coffee-revisited/
- Sakar, B. (2019, March 5). What is the story of the tulip-shaped (ince belli) tea glasses? Retrieved from https://medium.com/@behicsakar/what-is-the-story-of-the-tulip-shaped-ince-belli-tea-glasses-524de754884f
- Oden, G. (n.d.). The Ultimate Turkish Coffee Ibrik/Cezve Buying Guide. Retrieved from from https://www.javapresse.com/blogs/stovetop-brewing/ultimate-turkish-coffee-buying-guide
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.