For a short time during my travels around Turkey I helped out in a friend’s cay evi (tea house) and became quite a dab hand at making Turkish coffee, called kahvesi. The trick to getting that prized thick foam on top is removing the pot – called a cezve (pronounced jez-VEY) – from the heat just before it boils. I think the locals came as much to see the fair foreigner with a smattering of broken Turkish working the coffee burner as they did for the coffee! For Turkish coffee, the sugar is mixed with the coffee and water before it’s heated, rather than added afterwards, so when ordering you need to indicate your preferred sweetness: sade (without sugar), az şekerli (little sweet, ½ tsp/cup), orta şekerli (medium sweet, 1 tsp/cup), şekerli or çok şekerli (sweet or very sweet, 2 or more tsp/cup). Unlike Arabic coffee, Turkish coffee isn’t made with added spices like cardamom.
- 160ml cold water
- 1½ tablespoonss pulverised coffee beans (Turkish-style coffee)
- 2 teaspoons sugar, more or less to taste
When you’ve finished your coffee, place the saucer on top and turn the cup upside down. Let it drain for a minute or so then turn it right way up and peer inside at the remaining coffee grounds to try and make out images that may tell you what lies in store. My travelling companions and I passed many amusing hours with such coffee cup readings!
- Combine water, coffee and sugar in a cezve or small saucepan, stirring to combine well.
- Place over medium heat for a few minutes until it starts to foam up.
- Quickly lift it off the heat for a few seconds, then return it and allow it to start to foam up again.
- Repeat one more time, then pour a small amount of froth into each cup, followed by the rest of the coffee, grounds and all.
- Allow coffee to sit for a minute or 2 before sipping, leaving the grounds in the bottom of the cup.
- Serve with a glass of water to drink afterwards to cleanse the palate.