How to make Turkish Coffee

Updated: Nov 10, 2021


The first thing you need to know about Turkish coffee is that it's not from Turkey. Apparently the Ottoman's inherited this method from the Yemenites about 500 years ago.


That being said, it's one of the oldest ways to make coffee. Before people figured out how to filter out the grounds, they just didn't. Instead they waited for the coffee grounds to settle on the bottom of the cup before imbibing G-d's gift to young parents and the hungover.


There's really two ways to make Turkish coffee (or "botz" = mud in Hebrew, and also known as "Kafe Shachor" = black coffee). The first couldn't be more simple, the other, well, it's for those who love a good ritual.


What you'll need

In both cases, you need:

  • Coffee that's ground as fine as possible

  • Hot water

The Simple Method


Directions

Pour "just off boil" water (meaning you let the water cool 10 seconds or so after it boils) in a cup with super-fine coffee, give it a swirl with a spoon, let the grinds settle in the cup (about 30 seconds), and sip.


I suggest using 10-12 grams of coffee to every 100 ml of water. Traditionally served in small cups. Add sugar if you like.


The Ibrik

In this example, we're using a 2 cup Ibrik


Directions

  1. Preheat your stove on a low-medium setting. If you have gas burners, turn to a low heat.

  2. Pour 120 ml of water into the 2-cup ibrik. Grind 14 g of coffee to a very fine powder and pour it into the water.

  3. Place the ibrik on the heat source and let it sit. After 30 seconds, stir the grounds into the water.

  4. Somewhere between 60 seconds and 90 seconds in, you should start to see little bubbles form in the coffee. These tiny bubbles are okay, but if they start to reach a boil, hold the ibrik up from the heat slightly.

  5. At around 2:30, you want to have a thick foam forming in the ibrik. Raise or lower the heat as needed to hit this mark. Let the foam rise till it reaches the very top of the ibrik, then remove completely from the heat.*

  6. Quickly pour the coffee, grounds and all, into two small cups. Let the coffee sit for another 2.5 minutes to finish brewing and cool down. This resting period also allows most of the grounds to settle in the bottom of the cup.

*Traditionally, you would allow the foam to rise and fall not once, but three times by taking the ibrik off the heat source over and over again.


However, this isn't necessary. In fact, you may get better tasting coffee but letting it foam up just the once.


Many recipes also call for continuous stirring, but this may result in extra bitterness. If you’d like to try the multi-foaming step, go ahead! Your coffee is your coffee - make it how you want.


What to do if the coffee is too bitter

If the coffee is too bitter, it means you over-extracted the grounds and you need to extract less next time. Here are a couple things you can try. (And yes I know they contradict each other.)

  • Slow down the extraction by turning down the stove heat a bit, or by lifting the ibrik an inch or two to

  • Shorten the brew time (and thus possibly lessen the extraction) by using a slightly higher heat to get that foam a little quicker

What to do if the coffee doesn’t foam

If the coffee doesn’t foam, keep playing with the heat level to find that right spot. I cannot give you specific advice on how to use your stove or burner - it’s just something you have to play with and figure out.