What do we immediately think of when Turkey is mentioned? It might be Turkish Delight, kebabs or even belly dancing but I’m betting that Turkish coffee is in there somewhere!
|hot and frothy: the perfect cup of Turkish coffee|
I am more of a çay fan myself but I love the attendant rituals of both Turkish tea and Turkish coffee. Neither of them are for people on the run but oh how much more enjoyable they are when you have to observe the time-honoured ways of preparing them! I hate teabags and equally the concept of instant coffee is just not the same thing.
If you have it in a restaurant, it will come with a glass of water which is drunk before the coffee to clear the palate, and an accompanying little piece of lokum/Turkish delight, or a kürabiye/cookie, just to heighten the pleasure.
|Turkish coffee at Big Chef’s, Bağdat Caddesi, Bostancı|
|here is the cezve which goes right on the burner|
Now, the ritual of making or ordering Turkish coffee starts immediately as you have to declare your preferred level of sweetness: şekerli/sweet; orta/medium; az şekerli/ a little sugar; and sade which means no sugar. All you need is a cezve (pron: jez/veh) an attractive little pan with a long handle, often made of copper which comes in different sizes: one-cup all the way up to four or so. You probably wouldn’t want to make more than four cups at one time anyway.
|prepare your tray first: these pretty little glasses are especially for the water to accompany the coffee|
You measure one pretty heaped spoonful of the finely ground coffee directly into the cezve, then you add however much sugar you require. Measure out the amount of cold water per cup you need and add. Put the pan on the gas and then mix with either a small whisk, or a fork will do. Then watch that pan like a hawk as it will come to the boil quickly and will froth over if you don’t watch out.
|2 cezves because both orta and sade were requested|
So watch the froth rise steadily to the top and then quickly remove from the gas. Share out the frothy foam into the waiting cups and replace on the gas for a second time. When it rises once again, this is it, your Turkish coffee is ready. Distribute it amongst the waiting cups and serve. Apparently the mark of a good cup of coffee lies in the froth!
Kadıköy on the Asian side has some wonderful authentic places in which to enjoy a good cup of Turkish coffee and Fazıl Bey‘s is one of them. This little café is located in the çarşı itself right in the middle of the hustle and bustle so it’s always busy not to mention easy to find.
|notice the little copper cezves hanging from the ceiling|
You can see how all the old coffee grinders have been carefully preserved and are indeed well used to this day!
|and here’s TT and me enjoying a cup of Fazıl Bey’s coffee recently!|
BTW, did you know that coffee was introduced to Istanbul (Constantinople) in the 16th Century by an Ottoman governor who had been posted to the Yemen during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent? It soon became a vital part of palace cuisine and was extremely popular – so popular that the position of Chief Coffee Maker was added to the roster of functionaries! I love that little fact!
And finally: a time-honoured custom after drinking Turkish coffee is to place the saucer on top of the cup and then turn the cup over and let it rest. When the grounds have cooled and settled in the cup, you are ready to have your fal or fortune read….!!