Turkish Coffee – An age old Tradition
If you have been studying up on your coffee history, you will know that the Turkish culture played a big part of coffee’s past. Do you remember the story of two Syrian traders who brought thefirst coffee beans to Istanbul in 1555. Before the drink was invented, the berries of the plant were crushed, mixed with fat, then consumed. Later on, the beans were boiled and the “drink” of coffee was invented by Arabs. This drink became a large part of the Turkish culture and still remains so today. In the history books, you may read about elaborate coffee ceremonies, where the Sultans of Turkey were served coffee by “kahveciusta,” royal coffee makers and a large posse of servants. Would you even believe that men used women’s “coffee making skills” as criteria in choosing a good wife. Dating back to the 16th century, Turkish coffee preparation was invented long before the times of modern brewing methods, but has survived the test of time. People, still to this day, participate in this age old method of coffee preparation. You too, can easily prepare this dark, delectable brew, minus elaborate ceremony and servants.
Gathering the materials/ ingredients
The first and foremost important part of making Turkish Coffee is getting your hands on an Ibrik, this is the traditional pot, usually made of copper or brass. They are typically smaller on the top and wider on the bottom, and have a long handle. The next, and also extremely important ingredient to gather is ground coffee. It is crucial to ground the beans on the finest setting to insure that you have grounds that are “powdery” and almost moist to the touch. Most commercial grinders actually are equipped with a “Turkish” setting, which again, would be the finest setting (even finer than espresso, or Italian) You will also need a heat source, sugar, optional spices (cardamom, cinnamon, or all-spice ) and cold water.
Fill the ibrik2/3 filled with water. This should be about where the Ibrik’s“neck” starts. Remember that the sizes of these pots can vary, so adjust the ingredients accordingly. Add sugar and spices, to taste. I recommend about 2 teaspoons. Next, 1-2 heaping teaspoons of finely ground coffee, depending on the size of your Ibrik. The grinds should be floating on the top. Do not stir the grounds. Now, place the pot on your heat source. The stove top should work fine, and should be on a medium setting. You will want to heat it slowly, so I would not recommend placing in on a high heat. Watch carefully as the concoction starts to heat. Make sure that it does not come to a boil. If it does come to a boil then you have not used enough coffee grounds. If this is the case, I would just toss and start over. After a few minutes the coffee should start to produce a foam that will work it’s way up the neck of the Ibrik. Now for the stirring- When the foam reaches the top, take the Ibrik off of the stove and stir the foam in to the coffee, then place back on the heat. The foam, again, will work it’s way up the top of the neck. Once again, when the foam reaches the top, take off the heat and stir. Repeat this whole process once again. After repeating this step for the third time, you will place it back on the heat source, this time allowing the foam to reach the top, take it off the stove and allow the foam to stay, do not stir. Your coffee is now finished, but it is best to let sit for a minute so the grounds will settle to the bottom. You may now pour coffee into serving cups, but be sure to leave the “sludge” on the bottom of the Ibrik. Add the foam to each cup. If you desire, you may add cream to taste. ENJOY!!!
Now for the fun Part
Do you believe in telling fortunes. Even if you don’t, try this old tradition for fun. After you finish your cup of Turkish coffee, there should be some remains at the bottom of the cup,ie…grinds, “sludge”. Turn your cup over for a second, then back upright. Look into your cup and it may reveal a fortune. They say that the sludge will form a “picture”. Maybe a dollar sign will tell of a rich future. Maybe your “sludge” will form a heart, revealing future filled with love. Maybe your sludge will just be sludge. It’s all in what you perceive, so have fun and be creative.