Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Turkish Coffee: A Guide

Following up on my previous post about Turkish coffee, I wanted to write a semi-detailed guide on how to make Turkish coffee. Granted, I am a beginner to this method, but more ink spilled about it will spur interest in this neglected method.

First: Grind coffee beans at the finest setting possible. There are specific grinders for Turkish coffee, but they run about 60-70 dollars. If you have a quality burr grinder, it should work. The grind should be dust-like or close to it. Also, buying pre-ground Turkish coffee works.

Second: Fill up ibrik to desired level with water. I found that about 6-7 oz works out well, creating enough froth, but not overfilling my specific ibrik.

Third: Add ground coffee, for ~3oz add 1 heaping tablespoon. For my 7oz cup, I use 2 1/2 spoons worth. One should add sugar at this point if you want. Remember, one shouldn't add sugar at the end of brewing because that would stir up the grounds spreading them throughout the cup. Sugar must be added now or never.
Fourth: Stir vigorously with plastic or wooden spoon. Avoid metal, this adds unnecessary scraping with the sides with the tin sidewalls. If you have a stainless steel ibrik, it probably wont matter too much.

Fifth: Place over low heat. I use a gas stove, and keep the flame from touching the ibrik itself. After a minute, I stir again making sure everything is mixed well. Continuing to stir after this will prevent a nice foam/froth/crust from forming. This is one of the best parts of Turkish coffee, and recommend to all readers not to stir anymore. (Though only a recommendation)

Sixth: Right before it boils, the thick crust will creep up on the walls (~5 minutes into brewing), pay attention! This creeping means that a lot of froth will be made, but also will be followed by uncontrollable boiling. It is important to take the ibrik off before it boils but after it froths. This may take a few times to figure out. Spoon out of the froth into the cup or cups.

Seventh (optional): Place it over the flame one more time, and let it boil for a quick second.

Eighth: Pour coffee into cups trying to share as much froth as possible, if other people are partaking. If not, be greedy and take it all!

Caution: Be sure to not pour out all the liquid in the ibrik, as towards the bottom it will contain a lot of sludge. Better to let some go to waste, than ruin your cup. Don't worry there will be plenty of slurry at the bottom of your cup anyways.

Here are a few pictures to document my first attempts:

I am off to New York City for the weekend, and will be MIA until Tuesday or Wednesday. Hopefully I will be able to find some good coffee shops, if you have any recomendations comment below or tweet me.


  1. Thanks for the quick guide. Turkish coffee just may be my next try.

  2. Thanks Joe, I would definitely recommend it. It is one my go to things right now. It is wicked strong, as my New England cousins would say. Today, I added some cinnamon to it, and tasted awesome complimenting the Guatemalan beans I used.