Prep 1 min
Cook 5 mins
I first tasted Turkish coffee when in Israel. After striking up a conversation with a fruit vendor on the side of the road in the shade, he, generously, offered to share his coffee with me. I was struck at how wonderful it tasted. He told me it was Turkish coffee. I asked what the "other" flavor was and he told me "hell". Attempting to get clarification, he spelled it, hele. He showed me the pods and gave me a few. After I got home it took me forever to figure it out in English. It was cardamom. This is the best set of instructions I have ever seen to get a good result. The ibrik is that small pot with a spout and long handle. The yield here is 1 cup, obviously if your ibrik or small pot is larger, you yield may be greater. However best made in small amounts.
- When brewing Turkish coffee, the foaming occurs at around 70C/158F, much cooler than boiling, which is why it's possible to foam the coffee repeatedly without boiling it--higher than 75C/167F the coffee becomes over-extracted.
- Much has been written about the number of times the coffee foams: once, thrice, etc. This is very confusing: just as in other brewing, the time spent at brewing temperature is your best guide.
- Instead of foaming and cooling cycles, modulate the flame to maintain a continuous foam for the duration of the extraction time. To me, it seems simpler and more consistent to use extraction time, as in other brewing styles.
- Procedure: Room temperature water with sugar, coffee, and cardamom stirred in is put onto the gas at medium heat. At two minutes, when foaming starts at the edges of the ibrik, slowly begin reducing the heat. The goal is to keep the coffee foaming, but not to let it rise more than a quarter of its volume. If you turn the gas down too quickly and the foaming stops, just turn it back up. The goal is to foam for 3 additional minutes (5 minutes total time). At 6 minutes total the coffee tastes overextracted, and at 4 it can be thin. The temperature at the end of 5 minutes should be around 75C/167°F.
- At the end of extraction time, add just a touch of room temperature water to end the brewing--10% should be plenty.
- Swirl the ibrik gently to help the grounds caught in the foam subside and place the ibrik in a saucer of water to cool.
- After 1-2 minutes of settling, pour the coffee gently to retain the grounds. With a good brew, you should have enough foam to cover most or all of the surface of a demitasse cup.
- Coffee amount: Between 7-10% of initial water mass. At 10% the body is heavy and many will find it harsh. 8% is very nice. This method of brewing can accentuate the acidity of the beans--the coffee is very different from french press in flavor profile (this is not surprising since the extraction temperature is so much lower).
- Sugar amount: 0-4% of water mass. Using half the mass of coffee is just about the maximum to balance the bitterness and really let the acidity shine.
- Grinding: Much better if ground with a burr grinder, powder fine. Or try the Zass turkish mill, a manual one.