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Turkish Coffee,Turk Kahvesi – More Than a Drink

Enjoying a delicious sip of Turkish Coffee at the Archeological Museum, Istanbul

Enjoying a delicious sip of Turkish Coffee at the Archeological Museum, Istanbul

Have you ever tried the deliciously frothy Turkish coffee? It is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi

Turkish coffee is made from 100 % Arabica beans that have to be toasted to the point and ground to a very fine powder. When properly made, a delicious foam forms at the top, which is essential to any Turkish coffee. My mother loves her daily Turkish coffee but needs to limit with one a day. If she is ordering in a Café, she charmingly asks the waiter for a “guzel kopuklu kahve lutfen” which means  “Turkish coffee with a nice foam at the top please”; that is her treat for the day and she thoroughly enjoys that one cup with a smile on her face.

Turkish coffee ritual; a glass of water and Turkish delights accompanies Turk Kahvesi

Turkish coffee ritual; a glass of water and Turkish delights accompany Turk Kahvesi

Although Turkish coffee was first cultivated at the southern edge of the Arab peninsula, it was via the Ottoman Empire that the fame of coffee spread to Europe. Within just a few years of its introduction to Europe, hundreds of coffee houses sprung up in Istanbul alone, and coffee drinking became such an important part of daily and ceremonial life that the Sultan’s coffee set was carried during royal processions; every wealthy household had a servant whose sole task was to prepare coffee and under the laws the failure of a husband to provide his wife with coffee was grounds for divorce (so they say)!

Reading the Turkish coffee cup; a childhood past time

Reading the Turkish coffee cup; an innocent childhood  fun

When I was a little child, my mother used to make us very milky Turkish coffee – so we could join in the ritual with them :). And just for the fun of it, once in a while we used to turn our coffee cup upside down to its saucer after finishing, in search of our fortune. My mother would always see the happiest things inside the cup; if there is “a bird” in the cup, that is good news, if there are “narrow lines”, there is a travel on the horizon; if there are “horses” in the cup, that is good fortune. Nothing ever bad appeared in our cups and we loved listening to mum and this innocent fun with giggles.

When we stopped for a break while visiting Ephesus last April, I reminisced this childhood memory and I ordered my Turkish coffee. After drinking, I turned my coffee cup upside down to its saucer, eager to see what waits for me. And to my surprise, I did spot a horse in the cup (can you see it?), with a smile on my face. I am now looking forward to this fortune!:)

Though not the traditional way, a little hot milk may also be added to Turkish coffee in some parts of Turkey; like Turkey’s For Life experienced in Van; you may enjoy this version if you like it less strong. Please also check out A Seasonal Cook in Turkey for delicious Turkish coffee experiences in Istanbul.

A very aromatic Menengic Coffee

A very aromatic Menengic Coffee

How about Menengic Coffee? This aromatic Southern Turkish Specialty features Menengic, known commonly as terebinth and turpentine tree, is a species of Pistacia, and wildly grown in Southern Turkey, part of the national flora. Cooked with milk, you can certainly get the wonderful pistachio taste, a unique experience.

How to Make Turkish Coffee

Here is how to make proper Turkish coffee; I hope you can get to try this special drink sometime, if not already;  Turkish coffee really is more than a drink for us.

Cezve; long handled pot is an essential equipment to make Turkish coffee.

Cezve; long handled pot is an essential equipment to make Turkish coffee.

To make Turkish coffee, you need the right equipment: a special long handled pot called “cezve” and small coffee cups called “fincan”. The size of the pot is significant. It must hold almost double the amount of the water used to have adequate “room” on the top for the foam to rise.

Turkish coffee set; all ingredients that you need!

Turkish coffee set; all ingredients that you need!

There are different sizes of “cezve”, the long handled pot, depending on the number of persons for whom you wish to make Turkish coffee. A well-made coffee must have froth on the top and you cannot have a good result if you prepare the coffee for 2 persons on a pot for 4.

Stir in s heaped teaspoon of Turkish coffee to the pot.

Stir in a heaped teaspoon of Turkish coffee to the pot.

Into your “cezve”, put one coffee cup of water for each person, 1 heaped teaspoon of coffee and 1 rounded teaspoon or less of sugar. Traditionally, the amount of sugar should be known beforehand, i.e. “az sekerli” (with little sugar), “orta sekerli” (medium), or “sekersiz” (with no sugar). Skip the sugar if preferred. Stir well, put over very low heat and bring slowly to boil.

As the froth forms on top, remove and divide the froth into the cups.

As the froth forms on top, remove and divide the froth into the cups.

As it gently start to boil, the froth forms on top and rise. Just before it overflows, remove and divide the froth into the cups. Then bring to boil again and divide the rest out to the cups. Your Turkish coffee is ready.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi, afiyet olsun!

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi, afiyet olsun!

Turkish Delight, lokum traditionally accompanies the Turkish coffee and it is a perfect fit. You can also make your own Turkish Delight if you like, here is my Turkish Delight recipe.

Afiyet Olsun; I hope you enjoy your Turkish coffee,



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31 Responses to Turkish Coffee,Turk Kahvesi – More Than a Drink

  1. jaz June 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    i do see the horse and thin lines. you are going to be rich and travel! what a nice story!

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Cheers Jaz : ) it was such a lovely surprise to see the horse in the cup – and I do love traveling, so that would be great hopefully!: )

  2. Phil in the Kitchen June 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Oddly enough, the only time that I think I’ve ever had anything like an authentic Turkish coffee was in France. It was in a restaurant run by a Turkish chef and poet and followed an excellent dish of lamb grilled with mint. A memorable evening and an excellent coffee. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      Fascinating isn’t it, traveling and surprising foodie delighted that comes to your way; a Turkish chef in France and enjoying Turkish coffee there; sounds lovely. Glad the post brought happy memories Phil : )

  3. Peri June 25, 2013 at 3:54 am #

    Ozlem, I love this post and I’m not even a coffee drinker…the story of reading the coffee cup is so fun, I could see horses galloping in the one in your picture:) And the coffee utensil and coffee set are beauties! I’m planning to try this Turkish coffee out:) xxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Dear Peri, thanks a lot; it is the rituals, the memories that comes with the Turkish coffee makes it so special for me i think – and yes, isn’t that galloping horses amazing!: ) xx Ozlem

  4. senior dogs abroad June 25, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem, Beautiful photos and background story to go with. In Urfa and Diyarbakır we had great merengiç coffee. In one place, they also put milk in it – it was delicious but a bit more like a cappucino than a Turkish coffee. I think of a traditional cup of just plain orta şekerli Turkish coffee as Turkey’s ultimate comfort drink.

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:13 am #

      I am a bit of a traditionalist too when it comes to Turkish coffee; cok sekerli Turk kahve would just fit the bill perfectly for me 🙂 Menengic coffee was a special experience though, a once in a while treat for me 🙂 Many thanks for your kind comment 🙂

  5. Turkey's For Life June 25, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Great post Ozlem and thanks for the mention. 🙂 Lots of stuff we didn’t know about Turkish coffee here – shared in the usual places. 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      My pleasure and thanks to you guys too; Turkish coffee is really more than a drink for us with all the rituals and fun that comes with it, glad you enjoyed it : ) Ozlem x

  6. Joanne T Ferguson June 25, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    G’day! I LOVE Turkish coffee, Ozlem, true!
    Look forward to the day we celebrate over one and enjoyed reading your blog today too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    What’s On The List

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      G’day to you too Joanne, glad you enjoyed the post, and welcome to the Turkish coffee lovers club 🙂 Best wishes, Ozlem

  7. Alan June 25, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    . . this has become my daily (or more) fix – it’s like take the caffeine intravenously – an instant ‘hit’! J likes Menengiç I prefer to stick with the hard stuff.
    Such an excellent post 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      I am with you Alan; Turkish coffee is such a special daily fix for me too! I tried Menengic, loved the pistachio flavor, a once in a while treat for me:) Thanks for your kind comment!

  8. Claudia June 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi Özlem! What a lovely post with great photos! Turkish coffee is such a great topic. Thanks too for the kind mention :))xx

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      Merhaba Claudia, really glad you enjoyed the post – thanks to you too for a great post on Turkish coffee, I look forward to visiting Fazil Bey’s Cafe for Turkish coffee 🙂 Ozlem x

  9. BacktoBodrum June 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    I’ve never tried Menengiç coffee, you’ve whetted my appetite so I’ll have to search some out.

    • Ozlem Warren June 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      I think you may like menengic coffee; it has a pleasant pistachio flavor, and apparently very good for you : ) Ozlem x

  10. A Cat From London June 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Ozlem, after this post sure will go to the kitchen for a nice Turkish coffee with a treat of double pistachio lokum :).
    In London we are making all our Turkish grocery shopping from TFC (Turkish Food Centre) supermarkets. We just heard now MarkeTurk thanks to your post :).
    Görüşmek üzere. Sevgiler…

    • Ozlem Warren June 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Merhabalar Aybige, lovely to get your comment, great to meet you: ) I didn’t know about TFC, many thanks for letting me know!
      Cok selamlar, sevgiler, Ozlem

  11. Cuisine de Provence June 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    Don’t forget to play the lottery now Özlem – you are almost guaranteed to win :)! No, seriously – when in Turkey I have always much enjoyed Turkish coffee.

    • Ozlem Warren June 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      🙂 you reckon?:) I am so unlucky in lottery games but I should take your word and try Barbara : ) I do enjoy Turkish coffee, and it tastes even better when I am home.

  12. erica July 2, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Turkish coffee is like a ritual we have every afternoon….actually I make a ‘suvari’ in a cay bardak.
    When I was in Turkey I wanted to buy a cay bardak with the boncuk on it…well I looked everywhere and couldn’t find any in any stores. Well I came home to Toronto and when I went to the Turk store they just got a whole shipment in….the Turkish tea glasses with a Boncuk.
    Thanskf for sharing your recipes and great pics.

    • Ozlem Warren July 2, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      Merhaba Erica, I thank you for this lovely comment, how nice you could get your cay bardak with boncuk in Toronto 🙂 I love how the love of Turkish food and country connects us all – it is my pleasure to share, thank you again 🙂


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