How to make Turkish coffee: Recipe and history
Coffee’s arrival to Turkey dates back to the period of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The governor of Yemen, Özdemir Pasha, brought coffee to Anatolian territories for the first time in 1570.
Coffee is an essential and the second most consumed beverage in the world. Its motherland is Ethiopia’s Kaffa region. The coffee beans are collected from small red fruits from coffee plants, which belong to the Rubiaceae family. Before its discovery as a drink, the natives used to chew these seeds in order to get more energy. The transformation of coffee today since the 14th century is a very interesting process because varieties of different coffee beans and brew methods have derived. Across the world, coffee is planted in nearly 70 countries, yet Turkey is not one of them.
Coffee’s arrival to Turkey dates back to the period of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The governor of Yemen, Özdemir Pasha, brought coffee to Anatolian territories for the first time in 1570. Expanding its spread overseas from Yemen to Turkey and from there to Europe, coffee has become an irreplaceable drink within the palace. The first official coffee shop was opened in 1551 and with it, coffee became available to the public.
It could be said the journey of Turkish coffee began in the court kitchen. Contrary to common belief, Turkish coffee is not a bean but a brew method found in the Ottoman palace. The type of coffee, its roasting technique, grind degree, type of packing, amount of coffee and sugar used per demitasse (small cup to serve Turkish coffee), water, coffee pot, heat source and its foam are the essentials to making a traditional cup of Turkish coffee. It is also the first coffee to have been served without filtering its coffee grounds.
Turkish coffee represents a culture rather than just a drink, because what it really symbolizes is the hospitality and sincerity of the atmosphere it is being served in. With its unique taste, scent and presentation, it reflects history, a tradition.
Since Turkish coffee was found in a multi-cultured Ottoman period, today there are several Turkish coffee recipes depending on regional customs.
In earlier times, coffee was imported from Abyssinia. However, today, Brazil is the top coffee exporter.
In Turkey, coffee prices change over economic and supply factors, but in general, a kilogram of Turkish coffee costs 50 Turkish Liras ($10.9) on average. This means nearly 140 cups of Turkish coffee.
In a standard coffee shop or a restaurant, one cup of Turkish coffee costs 5 to 15 liras ($1 - $3.2) depending on its brand and the quality of the seeds.
Traditional Turkish coffee recipe
In each recipe, whether classic or regional, one should have the right ingredients for making Turkish coffee and materials such as fine drawn beans, high quality water, and a copper Turkish coffee pot called a “cezve.”
According to the advice of experienced elders, for each cup of Turkish coffee, 2 teaspoons of ground coffee and sugar (optional) is added for every cup of water.
It is necessary to use cold water while making Turkish coffee to obtain foam, which will keep the coffee warm and look good at the same time. After blending them nicely, the mixture should be cooked over very low heat.
Beneficial and harmful sides of Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee has many benefits in terms of health. It is general medical advice that a person can drink up to two cups of sugar free Turkish coffee a day.
When consumed regularly and in moderate amounts, it not only increases capabilities for concentration and memorization by supporting cognitive functions, but also decreases the risk of cancer by with its antioxidant-rich content.
As is said in local Turkish discourse, “A cup of Turkish coffee will be remembered for 40 years.”