Turkish Coffee

A classic Turkish proverb says that Turkish coffee is “black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”

After trying it, this proverb is clearly true. I was fortunate to visit the beautiful city of Istanbul, Turkey a year ago, and while I was there I indulged in lots of the local cuisine, including Turkish coffee.

Turkish coffee is served in a small cup. It is extremely dark and strong, and it is made with a lot of sugar to counteract the strength of the coffee. Turkish coffee is very finely-ground and brewed with sugar in a special pot, called a cezve.

Water is placed in the pot on low heat until it starts to heat up. Once it is heated, roughly 1 tablespoon of the coffee grounds are placed on top of the water, but it should not be stirred in yet. Sugar is then added – a little or a lot, depending on preference. After a little while, the water will be hot enough that the coffee and sugar sink into the water, and at this point it is stirred rigorously.

After a while, small bubbles of foam will start to form on top of the water. At that point, the heat is lowered, and the pot is removed to cool down a little. The pot can then be placed back on the heat. It is crucial to make sure the water never reaches a boil, as this will ruin the brewing process. The foam building up on top should thicken, but it would evaporate if reaching a boil. The coffee can be kept on for a long time, as long as foam keeps building up, making sure not to let it boil.

When satisfied, the coffee is removed from the heat altogether. It is then poured into cups and served with glasses of water (to cleanse your palate first). Turkish coffee is extremely strong, extremely dark, and traditionally very sweet. Because of the high concentration, it is served in small amounts. A single glass can fuel you for a day with caffeine, though it is sometimes served after a meal like dinner.

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