Did you know that it was the Turks who first introduced coffee to Europe in the 1500s? The ruling Ottoman Empire first gave coffee, or Kahve as it’s known in Turkey, to the Italians and from there it saw a rise in popularity, with coffee houses quickly becoming a familiar sight in many European countries.
Coffee is an important part of Turkish culture and is served quite differently than in the West. So how Is Turkish kahve different? Kahve refers to the special brewing method that is most common in the Levant, a region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea which includes the South of Turkey.
Turkish coffee is made unfiltered using finely ground coffee beans (so fine in fact that they resemble the texture of cocoa powder). The ground beans are boiled with sugar (adding a cardamom pod is optional) in a special pot called a cezve or ibrik. An important distinction is that kahve is brewed with sugar rather than adding it later.
The coffee is served in small cups and should always be allowed to sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the ground coffee to sink to the bottom of the cup and settle. In some regions, much like with tea leaf reading, your fortune can be told by the coffee grinds left in the cup!
Turkish Coffee Tips
- If you can’t find finely ground Arabic coffee, you can purchase a bag of coffee at any coffee house and ask them to grind it for Turkish coffee. You need to have a powder-like consistency.
- Do not stir after pouring into cups.
- Always start with cold water.
To make authentic Turkish coffee, you will need an ibrik, a small coffee pot that is heated, traditionally over coals or in hot sand. The makers behind the latter method claim that using hot sand offers a more consistent, even heat than normal brewing.
Here is a video we found online for making Turkish coffee with sand:
Sugar is added during the brewing process so the need for a serving spoon is eliminated. Cream or milk is never added to Turkish coffee but additional sugar can be added, according to taste.
Here is a recipe for making authentic Turkish Kahve:
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon extra finely ground coffee (powder consistency)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, or 1 cardamom pod (optional)
How to Make It
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in an ibrik. If you do not have an ibrik, a small saucepan will work.
- Remove from heat and add the ground coffee (and the cardamom pod, if desired).
- Return the saucepan to the heat and allow to come to a boil. Remove from the heat when the coffee has foamed.
- Pour into 2 coffee cups and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. If using a cardamom pod, it can be served along with the coffee in the cup for added flavour.