I was first introduced to Turkish coffee through our friend Sameen, who brought us round a sample of what he said was the strongest coffee we would ever taste to try back in our first flat. I remember we brewed it in one of those little metal stovetop pots, and that we had to store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
The Middle Eastern method of brewing gourmet coffee (it’s popular throughout the Arab word, but the Turkish name has stuck) uses finely-ground grains and is drunk unfiltered – which makes it very easy to prepare. The varieties I’ve tried have had an earthy, smokey taste to them, and give a far stronger caffeine hit than your typical high street espresso.
Özerlat is a Cypriot company that has been grinding and blending coffee beans for almost 100 years (it’s the method, rather than the beans, that is Turkish, incidentally). Last month the company launched a new blend, Moziak, developed for a UK market now accustomed to the flavour of black espresso and with a smoother finish than the company’s traditional “Heritage” blend. I prefer the smokier aftertaste, so it was lucky the company sent us both blends to try!
The beauty of Turkish coffee is that it doesn’t really need any specialist equipment to prepare, although it is traditionally brewed in a small “cezve” pan. As you can see, I used a standard saucepan – it still tasted excellent, although it was difficult to scoop off the “crema” which is one of the distinguishing features of Turkish coffee.
To brew, mix your ingredients (a heaped teaspoonful of coffee, sugar if you take it and water – Turkish coffee cups are usually small, around 70ml in size) and combine. The sugar goes in at the start, because you shouldn’t stir Turkish coffee once brewed. Place over a medium heat and leave to brew undisturbed; watching carefully for the moment just before boiling when the foam starts to rise at the edges.
At this stage, remove the pot from the heat and pour or spoon this “crema” into your cup. Return to the heat and watch for the foam to rise again, at which stage you are ready to pour the contents into your cup. Do so slowly, doing your best to maintain as much of the foam as you can as it rises to the top – it’s a sign of a quality cup of Turkish coffee.
You should give the coffee a minute to settle in the cup before drinking, and leave the grains at the bottom when you do: tradition has it you can tell your fortune from the pattern left in the grains. Turkish coffee should be served with a glass of water and with a little something sweet on the side – Turkish delight or candied fruits are traditional – and should be drunk black. Although, I have a confession: I drank the Heritage blend with milk and it was better than any latte I have ever had. I suspect purists will be more offended by my serving it with Fry’s Turkish delight than with the milk – but it turns out it’s impossible to get anything other than the most plastic-looking baklava in Govanhill on a Saturday afternoon.
Have you tried Turkish coffee? What did you think?
DISCLAIMER: This post contains a PR sample, but I was under no obligation to say anything nice about it. See my full disclosure policy.