How to Make Authentic Turkish Coffee

Growing up as a Lebanese American, usually on special occasion's I remember the adults making Turkish Coffee after a meal. When I asked for some they would always tell me, "Oh no, It is too strong for you".

I grew up with this mystique of Turkish Coffee. One of my Aunt's would read everyone's fortune after they were done drinking their coffee. This is done by turning the cup over in its saucer and letting the remaining coffee drip down the insides of the cup. Forming different patterns. This is all done in fun.

In Lebanon, Turkish Coffee is called qahwah or ahweh. It is not referred to as, "Turkish Coffee". The variants of "Turkish Coffee","Lebanese coffee,""Egyptian coffee," "Syrian coffee," and "Iraqi coffee" are completely different in the flavor, preparation and how it is served. Lebanese and Syrian coffee are fairly close.

Turkish coffee is a method of preparation, not a kind of coffee. I have blended a combination of Colombian and French that turned out really well. Yemeni coffee is a common bean used in Lebanon. One can find Turkish coffee already ground with or without cardamom in middle eastern grocery stores.

There is really no special type of bean. It is how they are ground. Beans for Turkish coffee are ground or pounded to the finest possible powder; finer than even for espresso. The grinding is done either by pounding in a mortar (the original method) or using a burr mill.

You can store the ground coffee in an airtight container like any other coffee. Over time it will lose its flavor. So, only purchase and grind what you think you will consume in 1 month's time.

The utensils used to make Turkish coffee is a small pot with a long handle. In Arabic, it is called, a rakweh, raqweh. Small cups are called, shaffe. Sometimes a demitasse cup with a handle may be used but more for social occasions. The shaffe without a handle is more preferred. A teaspoon for stirring.

It will depend on the size of pot you are using for the amount of water that is used. You can use a cup (shaffe) to measure the amount of water. Figure about a heaped teaspoon of coffee per cup. More or less may be added according to taste.

Turkish coffee is prepared by submersing the ground coffee in hot water that has been heated in the rakweh. Bring to a boil. Then remove and stir. Return to the heat. Bring to a boil. Stir. Do this about three times. Let coffee settle.

If you wish you can spoon a little of the foam in each cup if you have guests. Some say, this enhances the flavor. It is difficult to get the same amount of foam into each cup.

Like the Barista that attempts the most intricate design on top of a cappuccino. Getting the thickest layer of foam to form is the pinnacle of the coffee makers craft. Pour coffee into each cup.

Sugar may be added depending on an individual's taste. It can be bitter (murrah), little sugar (Sukkar Alil).

Turkish Coffee

  • 3/4 - 1 1/2 cups cold water, depending on size of coffee pot
  • Approximately 2 T. ground coffee -- again, depends on how strong you like your coffee. This will take some trial and error.
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom -- remember, some blends already come with cardamom
  • 1 tsp. sugar -- again, use according to desired taste

When making Turkish Coffee, one must stand over the pot to prepare. It will boil over quickly if not watched carefully. Some people will pour a little of the hot water into one of the cups, make the coffee then pour the water back into the pot. This will help from boiling over. If adding sugar, do this after you add the coffee. Bring to a boil. Stir. Repeat two more times. Let settle.

In the Lebanese culture, even in the most humble of abodes, coffee, tea, cookies and sweets are offered as soon as guests walk in the door. You can find utensils and coffee at most middle eastern grocery stores. The pot and cup are served on a tray. Turkish Coffee is the essence of what coffee should be. From how it is prepared, served and drank. It is such a raw unadulterated way of preparing coffee. Try some for yourself.



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