Sunday, July 11, 2010

Coffee Guide: Intro to Turkish Coffee

The Turkish ibrik, the oft-neglected coffee pot is unknown to the populace, marginalized by the coffee elite, and loved by few (at least in the West). The ibrik is an unusual brewing method requiring no filter of any kind. It is uniquely designed to brew coffee with the grounds and the water co-existing relatively peacefully. The outside is brass with the inner layer made of tin. One brews the coffee over a heat source (I use a gas stove), for about 5-10 minutes till it boils, and then pour it in a small demitasse cup slightly bigger than an espresso cup (~3-4 oz). The small, powder-like grounds fall to the bottom, separating from the liquid. The taste is similar to a strong drip coffee. One should remember not to drink the coffee near the bottom as the slurry can be quite potent and coat your mouth.

Here is Turkish coffee with the coffee sludge. Yet, do not let this deter you from enjoying this wonderful little drink! Traditionally, Turkish coffee incorporates cardamom, a sweet pine-like spice that makes it taste like Christmas (If Christmas had a taste). Also, sugar or cinnamon could be used as well to offset its natural strong taste.

After using it twice, I found that creating quality coffee froth was quite hard. Similar to making good espresso, there are many variable that affect the quality of Turkish coffee. Some argue that one should never let the coffee boil, others argue it should boil 3-4 times. Should the temperature be low or med-low? Should one stir constantly or allow a delectable, marbleized crust to form on the top. What is the coffee to water ratio? What about when adding sugar? Many of these answers are preference, but it takes time to figure them all out. Be sure to read Coffee Geek's brewing guide to Turkish coffee.

In a later post, I will write a detailed post about my brewing adventures in a step by step guide. I barely touched upon many of the topics concerning this unique method, so if you want to know more, please comment below and ask a question. In the meanwhile enjoy these pictures of the ibrik. Notice the first picture, I have darkened it already from my old school gas burner. It gives it character!
If you find these posts interesting and worth sharing, please use the buttons below to spread Metro Espresso.


  1. Nice post. Now I know what an ibrik is. Can't wait to hear about your brewing adventures.

  2. Thank you Joe! The ibrik doesn't necessarily come to mind when one thinks about brewing coffee, but it is one of the most interesting, tactile, and involved methods. Plus, they are relatively cheap compared to espresso machines!

  3. I did use tic tacs as a way to help the viewers to get scale. Nothing else was particularly around. I guess Tic Tac's get some free advertising!