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Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee
Türk Kahvesi - Bakir Cezve.jpg
A cup of Turkish coffee, served from a copper cezve
Type Coffee
Country of origin Turkey
Color Dark brown

Turkish coffee (Turkish: Türk kahvesi) is a method of preparing very finely ground unfiltered coffee.[1][2]


Turkish coffee is made by boiling very finely ground coffee beans with water and usually sugar, then serving the result into cups, where the grounds are left to settle. Sugar, if any, is added to the initial mixture, before boiling. The boiling is done carefully, so that as soon as the mixture begin to froth, and before it boils over, about one-third of the coffee is distributed to individual cups; the remaining amount is returned to the fire to froth a second time, then distributed to the cups.[3]


When ordering a Turkish coffee, the amount of sugar is specified, from no sugar (Turkish sade 'plain'); with little sugar (az şekerli 'a little sugar'); with moderate sugar (orta şekerli 'medium sugared'; μέτριος 'moderate'); or heavily sugared (şekerli 'sugared' or tatlı 'sweet').[4]

Names and variants

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkish coffee is also called "Bosnian coffee" (Bosnian: bosanska kahva), which is made slightly differently from its Turkish counterpart. A deviation from the Turkish preparation is that when the water reaches its boiling point, a small amount is saved aside for later, usually in a coffee cup. Then, the coffee is added to the pot (džezva), and the remaining water in the cup is added to the pot. Everything is put back on the heat source to reach its boiling point again, which only takes a couple of seconds since the coffee is already very hot.[5] Coffee drinking in Bosnia is a traditional daily custom and plays an important role during social gatherings.

Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania

Typical Czech or Slovak Turkish coffee made of ground coffee beans poured with boiling water.

A beverage called "turecká káva" or "turek" is also very popular in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, even if other forms of coffee preparation (such as espresso) have become widespread in the last few decades, decreasing the popularity of turek. Cafés usually do not serve turek any more, in contrast to pubs and kiosks, but turek is still often served in households. The Czech and Slovak form of Turkish coffee is different from Turkish coffee in Turkey, the Arab world or Balkan countries, since cezve is not used. It is in fact the simplest possible method to make coffee: ground coffee is poured with boiling or almost boiling water. The weight of coffee and the volume of water depend only on the taste of the consumer. In Lithuania, this method was the only method that people made coffee during last decades, however never called it Turkish coffee. The method is widely used in the households to this day.[6] In recent years, genuine Turkish coffee made in a cezve (džezva in Czech) has also appeared, but Turkish coffee is still understood, in most cases, as described above.[7][8]


In Greece, Turkish coffee was formerly referred to simply as 'Turkish'(τούρκικος). But political tensions with Turkey in the 1960s (Istanbul pogrom) led to the political euphemism 'Greek coffee'(ελληνικός καφές),[9] which became even more popular after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974: "... Greek–Turkish relations at all levels became strained, "Turkish coffee" became "Greek coffee" by substitution of one Greek word for another while leaving the Arabic loan-word, for which there is no Greek equivalent, unchanged."[10][11] There were even advertising campaigns promoting the name "Greek coffee" in the 1990's,[11] which acknowledged the usage of "Turkish": "Thousands of Greeks follow the habit of calling their beloved coffee 'Turkish'."[12]

Turkish weddings

As well as being an everyday beverage, Turkish coffee is also a part of the traditional Turkish wedding custom. As a prologue to marriage, the bridegroom's parents (in the lack of his father, his mother and an elderly member of his family) must visit the young girl's family to ask the hand of the bride-to-be and the blessings of her parents upon the upcoming marriage. During this meeting, the bride-to-be must prepare and serve Turkish coffee to the guests. For the groom's coffee, the bride-to-be sometimes uses salt instead of sugar to gauge his character. If the bridegroom drinks his coffee without any sign of displeasure, the bride-to-be assumes that the groom is good-tempered and patient. As the groom already comes as the demanding party to the girl's house, in fact it is the boy who is passing an exam and etiquette requires him to receive with all smiles this particular present from the girl, although in some parts of the country this may be considered as a lack of desire on the part of the girl for marriage with that candidate.[13]


Superstition says the grounds left after drinking Turkish coffee can be used for fortune-telling.[14] The cup is commonly turned over into the saucer to cool, and it is believed by some that the patterns of the coffee grounds can be used for a method of fortune telling known as tasseography (Turkish: kahve falı, Greek: καφεμαντεία, kafemanteia, Arabic: قراءة الفنجان‎, qira'at al-fenjaan, German: Kaffesatzlesen, Serbian: гледање у шољу / gledanje u šolju), or tasseomancy.

See also


  1. ^ "Getting Your Buzz with Turkish coffee". Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Brad Cohen. "BBC - Travel - The complicated culture of Bosnian coffee". Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Basan, Ghillie. The Middle Eastern Kitchen. New York: Hippocrene Books. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7818-1190-3. 
  4. ^ Basan, Ghillie. Classic Turkish Cookery. I.B. Tauris. p. 218. ISBN 1860640117. 
  5. ^ Cohen, Brad (2014-07-16). "The complicated culture of Bosnian coffee". BBC - Travel: Food & Drink. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  6. ^, Lietuviška kava griauna mitus: lenkia italus, vejasi pasaulio geriausius, retrieved February 16, 2018.
  7. ^ LAZAROVÁ Daniela, Czech baristas compete in the art of coffee-making, Radio Prague, May 12, 2011.
  8. ^ Piccolo neexistuje, Turek.
  9. ^ Mikes, George (1965). Eureka!: Rummaging in Greece. p. 29. Their chauvinism may sometimes take you a little aback. Now that they are quarrelling with the Turks over Cyprus, Turkish coffee has been renamed Greek coffee; ... 
  10. ^ Browning, Robert (1983). Medieval and Modern Greek. p. 16. ISBN 0-521-29978-0. 
  11. ^ a b Joanna Kakissis, "Don't Call It 'Turkish' Coffee, Unless, Of Course, It Is", The Salt, National Public Radio 27 April 2013: '"It wasn't always this way," says Albert Arouh, a Greek food scholar who writes under a pen name, Epicurus. "When I was a kid in the 1960s, everyone in Greece called it Turkish coffee." Arouh says he began noticing a name change after 1974, when the Greek military junta pushed for a coup in Cyprus that provoked Turkey to invade the island.' "The invasion sparked a lot of nationalism and anti-Turkish feelings," he says. "Some people tried to erase the Turks entirely from the coffee's history, and re-baptized it Greek coffee. Some even took to calling it Byzantine coffee, even though it was introduced to this part of the world in the sixteenth century, long after the Byzantine Empire's demise." By the 1980s, Arouh noticed it was no longer politically correct to order a "Turkish coffee" in Greek cafes. By the early 1990s, Greek coffee companies like Bravo (now owned by DE Master Blenders 1753 of the Netherlands) were producing commercials of sea, sun and nostalgic village scenes and declaring "in the most beautiful country in the world, we drink Greek coffee."'
  12. ^ Leonidas Karakatsanis, Turkish-Greek Relations: Rapprochement, Civil Society and the Politics of Friendship, Routledge, 2014, ISBN 0415730457, p. 111 and footnote 26: "The eradication of symbolic relations with the 'Turk' was another sign of this reactivation: the success of an initiative to abolish the word 'Turkish' in one of the most widely consumed drinks in Greece, i.e. 'Turkish coffee', is indicative. In the aftermath of the Turkish intervention in Cyprus, the Greek coffee company Bravo introduced a widespread advertising campaign titled 'We Call It Greek' (Emeis ton leme Elliniko), which succeeded in shifting the relatively neutral 'name' of a product, used in the vernacular for more than a century, into a reactivated symbol of identity. 'Turkish coffee' became 'Greek coffee' and the use of one name or the other became a source of dispute separating 'traitors' from 'patriots'."
  13. ^ KÖSE, Nerin (nd). KULA OÜGÜN GELENEKLERi. Ege University.
  14. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion (20 July 2007). "Coffee grounds brewed trouble for Israeli fortuneteller". McClatchyDC. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 

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