Turkish or Greek coffee is made by boiling finely ground roasted coffee beans inside a coffee pot called cezve or briki. It’s served unfiltered in a small coffee cup.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Turkish coffee and Greek coffee are the same thing. To make it you will need a cezve or briki, which is a special type of coffee pot with a conical shape. You will also need very finely ground roasted coffee beans.
After talking to a lot of people (including my grandma who I have never seen drinking any other kind of coffee – except for one time when I made her an espresso freddo) and after doing some research on the subject I was able to put together all the secrets and tips on how to make a delicious cup of Turkish (or Greek) coffee.
You can drink this in the morning or in the afternoon with one or two Turkish delights, but these Cretan almond bicotti or a few pieces of Greek sesame cookies (koulourakia) are also an ideal accompaniment.
So, is Turkish and Greek coffee the same?
Yes they’re the same. If you are in Turkey you will order a Turkish coffee and if you are in Greece you will order a Greek coffee. The only difference I could find is that in Turkey they often let the coffee to foam more than one time so it becomes stronger. In Greece, they usually serve it once it begins to boil over because the kaimaki (the foam created on the surface of the cup) is thicker and keeps for a longer time.
According to wikipedia, the earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in Yemen’s Sufi monasteries. Also, according to propertyturkey.com it was first introduced either from Yemen or from Syria.
In Greece, it was known as Turkish coffee until the early 60’s when the Greek population was persecuted from Istanbul and afterwards the Greeks decided to call it Greek coffee.
What type of coffee you will need
Turkish coffee (or Greek coffee) is made unfiltered with very finely ground coffee beans. The beans are first roasted to the desired level (usually dark) and then grounded so fine that they resemble the texture of cocoa powder.
The coffee pot: cezve or briki
The cezve or briki is a tall, thin pot usually with a conical shape that has a long handle which angles upward from the rim. The narrow neck of the coffee pot helps the creation of a better foam (kaimaki). If you don’t have something like this, any narrow small pot will do. Keep in mind though, that if the pot is wide but the quantity of the coffee is too small, then the kaimaki may not be so thick (which is fine!).
A typical briki looks like the one in the photos or the one in video at the end of this post.
The coffee cup
Turkish coffee is approximately 2 fluid ounces (60-70 ml), which equals to a double espresso. Any coffee cup with this capacity will do.
Hovoli is considered the best way to make this type of coffee. It consists of a heated metal plate with sand on top. The sand covers at least half the briki’s height and heats the coffee slowly and evenly in order to reveal all the delicate flavor. When the coffee starts to foam and just before it boils you remove the coffee pot and serve the coffee.
How to make the best Turkish/Greek coffee
- Fill a coffee cup with water and pour the water into the coffee pot.
- Add the coffee and sugar (if using). Stir well until no lumps of coffee remain.
- Heat over medium heat and stir again once or twice.
- Stop stirring and let the coffee get heated through. When it starts to foam and before it boils over the pot, remove the pot from the heat and pour into the coffee cup.
- Let the coffee rest for 5 minutes in order for the coffee granules to set at the bottom of the cup and the temperature to drop down.
- Drink by sipping slowly.
- Find a good blend (usually Arabica). If possible it needs to be freshly roasted and freshly ground.
- Start with room temperature water.
- Cook over medium heat (slow cooking releases more flavor).
- Don’t let it unattended because it may boil over.
- A little bit of sugar helps the extraction of aroma.
- Don’t let the coffee boil, you will destroy the foam and the taste. When it starts to foam it’s ready.
- Start pouring the coffee from low, then lift the coffee pot a little higher and bring it back down to the level of the cup.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes. It needs time to cool and for the residue to settle at the bottom.
- Usually you don’t add milk.
- Serve with a glass of cold water and Turkish delights or Turkish delight filled cookies.
Types of Greek coffee
- Sketos (black): no sugar added.
- Metrios (semi-sweet): half to one teaspoons sugar.
- Glykos (sweet): one and a half to two teaspoons sugar.
- Elafris (light): one leveled teaspoon coffee (3.5 grams).
- Varis (heavy / intense): 3 leveled teaspoons coffee (10 grams).
Did you finish your coffee? Let me tell you your fortune! Because Turkish coffee is unfiltered there will be a residue at the bottom of the cup. What you can do is ‘swirl’ your cup, turn it upside down and wait for a few minutes. Once you flip it back up you’ll be able to see patterns formed inside the cup from the coffee grounds. If you find someone who knows how to interpret those patterns, he will be able to tell you your fortune (does that mean that our fate is already written?).
- 2 leveled teaspoons (7 grams) finely ground coffee (almost like cocoa powder)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz / 60 ml) room temperature water
- 1 leveled teaspoon (4 grams) sugar
Fill a coffee cup with water and pour the water into the coffee pot. Add the coffee and sugar (if using) and stir well until no lumps remain.
Heat over medium heat and stir again once or twice. Stop stirring and let the coffee get heated through (don’t walk away from the kitchen now!). When it starts to foam and before it boils over the pot, remove the pot from the heat and pour into the coffee cup.
Let the coffee rest for 5 minutes in order for the coffee granules to set at the bottom of the cup and the temperature to drop down. Drink by sipping slowly.
For a lighter coffee use 1 leveled teaspoon (3.5 grams) of coffee.
For an intense coffee use 3 leveled teaspoons (10 grams) of coffee.
For a bitter coffee don’t use any sugar.
For a sweet coffee use 2 level teaspoons of sugar.
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