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What is Turkish Coffee?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Turkish coffee is a particular preparation method for coffee, which is not exclusive to Turkey. It is strong and usually sweetened. So-called Turkish coffee is enjoyed in Greece, Armenia, and Arab countries, as well as in Turkey. It differs from other preparation methods in that the grounds are not filtered.

The vessel for preparing authentic Turkish coffee is unique. It is a small metal vessel with a long handle. It is called, variously, a cezve or ibrik (Turkish), mpriki (Greek), rakwa (Arabic), and finjan (Persian). The technique for preparing Turkish coffee is one thing that sets it apart. Coffee type, grind size, water temperature, and equipment are all important elements.

  • The coffee should be ground to powder. The grind for Turkish coffee is finer than for espresso. Some coffee grinders come with grinding burrs that you can adjust to achieve the desired grind.

  • The proper amount of coffee and water is placed in the vessel and heated over medium heat. Sugar, if it is to be used, is added immediately prior to the coffee approaching a boil. Turkish coffee without sugar is called sade.

  • In the meantime, warm a demitasse cup, or fincan – one way to do this is to run the cup through the dishwasher just before serving.

  • While Turkish coffee is not allowed to boil, it is brought to the point of developing a froth or foam. The froth only is poured into the warmed cup. This is repeated once or twice, depending on the recipe you are following. On the final time, all of the coffee remaining in the vessel is poured into the cup.

  • Wait a few minutes for the grounds to settle before serving your freshly brewed coffee. It is very important not to mix it. The sediment is not good to drink.

Some people consider it anathema to introduce any variations to Turkish coffee. Others consider it appropriate to add spices--for example, cardamom or cinnamon--to the coffee at the beginning.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for DelightedCooking, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By anon110767 — On Sep 13, 2010

Turkish coffee is a great thing! Also it's easier to prepare than most people think.

By malena — On Jan 20, 2008

Turkish coffee is also common in East European countries. Just go into easy if you are trying it for the first time -- it packs a powerful punch!

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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