Visiting Turkey without trying the famous Turkish coffee would be unimaginable. Whole books have been devoted to this black liquid: its history, role in social life and the ambiance of the countless coffee houses. If you are unfamiliar with its cultural context, you may be disappointed by the miniscule infusion with the unpleasant layer of grounds that the uninitiated visitor (like Mark Twain) ends up chewing by mistake.
Even the smallest village has its “kahve” (café) where men come to chat, drink coffee and play backgammon, cards or dominos.
Coffee is drunk sweet (serkerli), semi-sweet (orta seker) or without sugar (sade). We suggest having it “orta” even if you usually don’t take sugar in your coffee. The sugar provides the slightly caramelized flavor typical of Turkish coffee and it would be unadvisable to miss it.
If you really want to make the most of your “keyif” (warrior’s rest), drink your coffee Turkish-style, comfortably settled on pillows, and sip it slowly. Then you’ll really experience a taste of the Turkish good life.
How to prepare it
• a copper coffee pot, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, with a long straight handle (cezve) – the neck should be narrow so that the coffee boils very quickly
• small moka cups
• take a small moka cup and measure out the water according to the number of cups desired; pour into the cezve;
• add 1 tsp. sugar per cup; bring to a boil;
• add 1 good spoonful of finely ground coffee per cup;
• bring to a boil;
• once the liquid reaches the brim, immediately take it off the heat and serve right away;
• Variation: in some regions, they let the foam subside off the heat and repeat the process three times.
• pour a little coffee at a time into the cups to divide the foam evenly.
To complete the Turkish experience, the Turks love to read their future (and sometimes their past) in the shapes formed by grounds in the bottom of each cup. So that everything is clear to the person reading your fortune, you have to invert the saucer over the cup, then turn everything over toward yourself and turn it clockwise three times while making a wish. Then you have to wait until the bottom of the overturned cup is completely cold before the grounds can be read.
A few words of advice
First, be careful not to swallow the grounds. Sip the coffee carefully. Don’t expect a caffeine rush from your first sip of Turkish coffee. It’s not strong, just thick. Finally, keep in mind that the coffee is just a pretext for the ambiance and the company: they’re what really matter.