How To Make Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is one of my favorite ways of brewing my joe. People at my work always peek at my coffee mug with curiosity. In North America this strong coffee is almost unknown.

Turkish coffee preparation is similar to the Eastern European, or the Greek, or the Arab coffee. The difference is that the coffee is simmered for a longer time and traditionally, is sweetened. There are variants of the brewing method; I will refer to the most interesting ones.

Cup of turkish coffee

Start by bringing the sweetened water to boil, take it off the stove, add the finely ground coffee and put it back on the stove for the final boil. On the regular electric stoves the lowest temperature is not low enough to prepare a long simmer brew. At high temperatures the coffee froth will overflow every time it reaches the boiling point. To avoid the overflow, you have to take the ibrik off the stove when the froth starts to build up. The overflow starts to build up slowly and progresses very fast. You will need to bring to a boil a few times. Every time you bring to a boil you pour a small quantity into the cups and then proceed to the next boil. This way you get to keep the goodness of each of the steps. The first boil will give you the fine aromas and oils and the foamy layer that are lost at higher temperatures. The consecutive boils will extract the maximum amount of caffeine from your grounds.

Another way to prepare it is to simply raise the foam a few times and pour the coffee at the end. A traditional way to brew Turkish coffee in shops is to simmer coffee for a long time at very low temperatures, near the boiling point on hot sand. This will allow a full extraction while maintaining a full flavor. According to this article about Turkish coffee though, we should only let it rise once.

How does it taste? It is incredibly rich and bold, with a thick body, and people who like clear coffee would definitely not enjoy it. But if you drink espresso and French press regularly, you will probably love it.

Cezve the Turkish Pot – We Call it Ibrik


The traditional Turkish coffee pot is a beautiful copper, hand-made, pot called cezve, (we call it ibrik in North America). The cezve can be simple, or it can have beautiful traditional designs. Traditionally, the cezve, is hammered into shape by craftsmen. The fancy ones can be etched with fine traditional motives, and painted with bright colors! Good quality ibriks are lined with tin on the inside. This improves the durability and makes it easier to clean.

When choosing a great ibrik, (cezve), make sure it is made with thick metal. A thicker material helps to stabilize the brewing temperature. Also a thick ibrik will last you longer, since copper wears down at high temperatures.

The preparation

  • Add one to two cups of water into the ibrik and put it on the stove.
  • Add sugar if desired.
  • Bring the water to boil.
  • Take the recipient off the stove and add one to three teaspoons of coffee. The quantity depends on the coffee type, the size of your mug and your personal taste.
  • Put the recipient back on the stove at a high temperature for a few seconds to bring to simmer. Do not boil too much if you want a full flavored coffee; the more you boil it the more flavor is gone, and more caffeine gets extracted.
  • If you want a strong coffee, set the stove at the lowest temperature possible and simmer the coffee longer. The result will be a Turkish style coffee. Be careful, the froth will overflow very fast when it starts to build up near the boiling point.
  • If the brewed coffee is too strong you can always add hot water within the first 30 seconds after brewing.
  • Depending on the coffee type and roast and the boiling time, you will obtain a nice foamy layer as with the Espresso. The foamy layer is the sign of a flavorful coffee.
  • Use a fine strainer to strain the coffee grinds, or leave the grinds settle at the bottom of the cup. The finer the coffee grind the easier the coffee will sink. You need to let the coffee rest for two – three minutes for the grinds to sink. Add a few cold water drops to help the grinds sink.
  • I prefer to leave the grinds sink by themselves, and keep the foam for a nice visual impact. Stirring also helps to sink the grounds.

If you don’t own a Turkish coffee grinder, buy pre-ground. I am not a fan of the pre-ground coffee because it oxidizes faster than whole beans, but in this case it’s better because the grind size is essential with this brewing method.