How Does Turkish Coffee Work? A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the world of Turkish coffee, a beverage steeped in history and tradition. This isn’t just your average cup of joe; it’s a cultural experience that dates back to the 16th century Ottoman Empire. The brewing process is a meticulous ritual, a dance of sorts, that involves a unique piece of equipment known as an Ibrik or Cezve. This small, long-handled pot is the heart of the process, and it’s what gives Turkish coffee its distinctive, robust flavor.

Drinking Turkish coffee is more than just a caffeine fix; it’s an immersive experience. The rich aroma, the thick froth, the strong taste, and the residual coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup all come together to create a sensory journey like no other. So, buckle up, coffee lovers, as we delve into the fascinating world of Turkish coffee.

What is Turkish Coffee?

Turkish coffee, as the name suggests, is a coffee brewing method that originated in Turkey. It’s characterized by its strong, bold flavor, and it’s typically served in small cups where the coffee grounds are allowed to settle at the bottom. But what sets Turkish coffee apart from your regular espresso or latte?

The secret lies in the coffee beans. Turkish coffee uses Arabica beans, which are known for their superior quality and flavor. These beans are ground to a fine powder, much finer than what you’d use for an espresso. This ultra-fine grind is what gives Turkish coffee its distinctive body and intense flavor.

But remember, Turkish coffee isn’t just about the beans or the grind. It’s about the process, the tradition, and the experience. So, let’s embark on this journey together, one cup at a time.

what is turkish coffee

The Brewing Process

Let’s dive into the heart of Turkish coffee – the brewing process. It’s a delicate dance that requires patience, precision, and a little bit of flair. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Start by adding water to the Ibrik, also known as a Cezve. This small, long-handled pot is the star of the show. It’s typically made of brass or copper, and it’s designed to distribute heat evenly for a perfect brew.
  • Next, stir in your finely ground coffee. No filters here – the coffee goes straight into the water.
  • Add sugar to taste, but don’t stir it in. Let the heat do the work.
  • Now, place the Ibrik on a heat source. Traditionally, a bed of hot sand would be used, but a stove will work just fine.
  • As the coffee heats, it will begin to froth. Just before it boils over, remove it from the heat.
  • Pour a little of the frothy mixture into each cup, then return the Ibrik to the heat.
  • Once it froths up a second time, pour the rest of the coffee into the cups, making sure to distribute the froth evenly.

Turkish Sand Coffee

Now, let’s talk about Turkish sand coffee. This is a traditional method of brewing Turkish coffee that uses a bed of hot sand as the heat source. The sand creates a consistent, even heat that allows for a slow, gentle brew. Here’s how it works:

  • A pan filled with sand is heated over an open flame.
  • The Ibrik, filled with water and coffee, is nestled into the hot sand.
  • The heat from the sand brews the coffee slowly and evenly, creating a rich, robust flavor.

Brewing coffee in sand has its benefits. It allows for a more controlled and even heat compared to direct flame, and it adds a touch of authenticity to the process. Plus, it’s a fascinating process to watch!

Now, let’s compare this method to traditional brewing methods:

MethodHeat SourceBrewing TimeFlavor
Turkish Sand CoffeeHot SandSlowRich, robust
Traditional Turkish CoffeeDirect FlameQuickStrong, intense
Drip CoffeeElectric HeatMediumMild, balanced
EspressoPressurized WaterQuickBold, concentrated

As you can see, each method has its unique characteristics and flavor profiles. But there’s something truly special about the slow, gentle process of brewing Turkish coffee in sand. It’s a tradition that’s been passed down through generations, and it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of this unique beverage.

Drinking Turkish Coffee

Savoring Turkish coffee is an art in itself. Unlike your typical coffee-drinking experience, it’s a slow, mindful process. You start by sipping the frothy top layer, then gradually make your way to the stronger brew beneath. But remember, don’t gulp down the last sip! The bottom of the cup is reserved for the coffee grounds, which are often used for an age-old tradition – fortune telling. Yes, you heard it right! Reading coffee grounds is a popular pastime in Turkey, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the Turkish coffee experience.

Turkish Coffee vs. Other Brewing Methods

how to make turkish coffee

When it comes to brewing methods, Turkish coffee stands in a league of its own. Unlike espresso, which is brewed under pressure, or drip coffee, which relies on gravity, Turkish coffee is brewed slowly over low heat, allowing the flavors to develop fully. The result is a strong, full-bodied brew that’s unlike anything you’ll get from a standard coffee maker.

But it’s not just about the taste. The process of making Turkish coffee is a ritual, a moment of pause in the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s about taking the time to prepare your coffee with care, savoring each sip, and perhaps even finding a little bit of fortune in the coffee grounds left behind. It’s these unique aspects that make Turkish coffee more than just a beverage – it’s an experience.


What is so special about Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee is unique in its brewing method, which involves simmering finely ground coffee beans in a special pot called an Ibrik or Cezve. This method results in a rich, robust flavor and a distinctive frothy top layer.

How does Turkish coffee keep filling up?

The “filling up” refers to the frothing process during brewing. As the coffee heats, it froths up, and this froth is distributed among the cups before the coffee is allowed to froth up again.

What makes Turkish coffee rise?

The rise of Turkish coffee is due to the heat applied during brewing. As the water heats, it mixes with the coffee grounds, causing the mixture to froth or “rise.”

How are you supposed to drink Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee is traditionally sipped slowly, allowing you to savor the rich flavors. It’s also customary to leave the thick layer of grounds at the bottom of the cup.


We’ve journeyed through the world of Turkish coffee, exploring its rich history, unique brewing process, and the cultural traditions that surround it. From the finely ground beans to the frothy top layer, each aspect of Turkish coffee contributes to a unique and immersive experience.

So why not give it a try? Brew a pot of Turkish coffee, take a moment to savor the aroma, taste the rich flavors, and maybe even try your hand at reading the coffee grounds. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite way to enjoy coffee!

Leave a Comment