Turkish coffee is a relatively easy to make and delicious hot beverage. Making and drinking Turkish coffee allows you to experience a small part of an elusive and exotic culture. You are reading this because you have probably traveled to Turkey and been served Turkish coffee or want to impress your friends with your cultural literacy and coffee making skills. Whatever your reasons, I’m happy that you are reading this article and I’m sure you’ll like it because it has everything you need to know.
Turkish coffee is served in many countries in the Middle East and eastern Europe and has a long history which I would not mention for the sake of space. But, it’s good to know that some people might take offence to the name so be careful and culturally conscious. For example, it’s best to not mention anything Turkish related in proximity of Kurdish, Armenian and Greek people. If you do, no worries. You’ll get accustomed to the geopolitical complexities of the Middle East and the fact that our ancestors’ actions and our history may affect us to this day.
Turkish coffee is brewed in Cezve, a metallic boiler pot, and served with sweets such as Turkish delights or sugar cubes. My mother taught me how to brew coffee with Cezve when I was a teenager, and it served as a coming of age symbol. Of course, it goes without saying that you should not give coffee to children because it’s a stimulant. If you do, you’ll witness the reincarnation of devils that need an exorcism on the permission of the catholic church. It’s important to note that it’s hard to get permission from the catholic church to perform exorcism these days and no, a doctor’s note won’t do. But no bother because you’ll only be sleepless for one night or two and you’ll understand the importance of responsibility in child rearing.
First, you need to buy Cezve and Turkish coffee. Same with the ingredients of any western dish such as creme brûlée or lasagna, it’s not as complicated, but important to have the equipment. You can, however, brew the coffee in a milk boiler, but it won’t have the same lustre and metallic taste of copper and thus you won’t experience the full essence of Turkish culture.
In order to buy Cezve, you need to go to a Turkish supermarket. It is easy to find these supermarkets in big cities because of the Turkish immigrants’ desire to reside in bigger cities. I’m sure most other Middle Eastern supermarkets also carry Cezve; they can also be found in those areas. You can find these supermarkets in part of the city known as the “shady” areas or the “ghetto” which you don’t visit often. This might be an excuse to explore your city. You might want to learn about city design, planning and allocation of resources. You might also notice “food deserts,” which are not real deserts and no need to worry about.
In the supermarket, you may find yourself surrounded by Middle Easterners who may or may not speak their language. At first, that might make you uneasy, but it’s totally fine. It’s normal to feel uneasy when surrounded by the unfamiliar, but just know that you are perfectly safe.
Your only challenge is that they might not speak English. We recommend showing a photo of Cezve instead of speaking like they are hard of hearing or have a lower than socially expected intelligence quota. That way you won’t risk coming across as racist or socially inept or both.
It’s very important to note that most of these Turkish coffees are authentic and imported from countries that don’t worry too much about sustainability. So, just to warn you, your coffee might not be sustainably sourced. If that bothers you, you can go to any Starbucks location, grab any of the coffee bags and take it to the barista. When they ask you “would you like it grinded” you should reply “yes, Turkish coffee please” and they’ll now what to do.
When you grab your coffee and your ** Grande Mango Dragon Lemonade** Light Ice, be sure to thank your barista and think about the union busting and the right of the baristas to a good life before complaining about the amount of ice in your drink; It might not be their fault.
You might be tempted to buy other exotic goods in the Middle Eastern shop such as coffee cups or spices. We don’t recommend buying Saffron because it’s very expensive and we know you would never use it. It can also be toxic if used too much. If you are in Canada you may have to wait for twelve hours in the emergency room, in pain, before a tired and disgruntled doctor sees you. Or, if you are in the US, your insurance provider might not cover your illness because it’s a self-inflicted injury.
You might also come across this red and exotic fruit. It’s called pomegranate and make sure you read our guide on How to Eat Pomegranates in Three Easy Steps.
The shopkeeper might be overly enthusiastic and warm. Don’t worry, he is not going to put you in a lamp like a Genie, but might try to upsell you some items. Just say “thank you for that, that’s all for now.” And, if you feel sorry for him and spend a fortune at his shop, you’ll learn about assertiveness and its importance in our everyday lives.
You might leave the shop without buying delights or sugar and might feel too embarrassed to go back because of your latest interaction with the shopkeeper, but just know that less is always more. In Turkish culture bitter coffee is called Sade Kahve which means simple coffee. It’s important to often enjoy the simple things in life and know life doesn’t always give us something sweet.
Now that you are back at the comfort of your home after your cross-city adventure, it’s time to brew some coffee! First, you need to measure the water. Don’t do mental math acrobatics and measure 1.7 cups of water per coffee cup. Keep it simple. Fill your coffee cup, usually as small as an espresso single shot cup, with water and pour it in the Cezve. Measure one teaspoon of the finely ground coffee per person and put it in the pot. If you bought sugar or already have it, measure one teaspoon and add to the rest of the mixture in the pot.
If it’s your first time using the white powder in the cabinet and accidentally used salt, no problem. In Turkish culture, when the groom asks for the hand of a girl in marriage, the bride has to brew coffee for him and by tradition she has to put salt in the coffee. It’s supposed to test the temperament of the groom. Maybe you can do this experiment with your husband, wife or partner to see their reactions. Just be assured that it’s not always late to file for divorce, and considering the rising divorce rates, you won’t fall behind the new trend.
Now, put Cezve on the stove and wait to hear a sizzling sound. Move the pot to the centre and back. Make sure to look into the pot and once the water starts to boil remove the pot from the stove. You must not let the water boil off and should remove the pot as soon as you hear the first bubble burst on the surface of the coffee. Pop!Your coffee is ready!
You can serve the coffee with a glass of cold water. But, don’t add milk or cream or any other additives to your coffee because that’ll ruin your cultural experience and the taste of the coffee.
If you are enjoying this hot beverage with friends you can try a fortune telling session. Put the saucer over the cup, bring it up to your heart and flip it out. Make sure you watch a YouTube video on how to do this. If you do it wrong, bad luck will strike you and your family. If you are superstitious and believe anything you read on the internet you might encounter everyday first world problems. These problems are included but not limited to receiving unknown phone calls, unexpected items in the bagging area and lack of space in your fridge.
If you see a scissor, knife or a rat in your cup, unfortunately a close friend is betraying you. You were suspicious that your best friend Stephanie was a tad bit jealous of your new Tesla, and your husband’s promotion, so you might be right after all. If you think your pal Alex likes your girlfriend because one time he laughed at one of her stupid jokes, they might already be sleeping together.
Of course it’s all superstition, but if you decided to end it with Stephanie and break up with your girlfriend you might get disappointed to know that I lied, I don’t know how to make Turkish coffee, and you were wrong all along. That way, you may have learned an important lesson.
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This is a lovely, funny story written in a great style. I hope to see more from you soon.
Thank you so much, Katy! I really enjoyed reading your winning story. Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you!
Great story Arvin. As a relatively novice writer myself, I sometimes look at prompts and self-generated ideas and think "how can I make this into a story?". Then here you come with a story on brewing Turkish coffee that's witty and enjoyable to read, I admire the skill! :)
Thank you so much for the nice comment. I'm very happy that you liked my story!
Teşekkürler hikaye için. Favorite line: unexpected items in the bagging area
Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the story!
Best story, Honestly!! So much things i can relate to but the more i read the funnier it got. So im Arab and so many people would look at me crazy if i would say if a man is coming to engage me we would put salt in the coffee to test his patience to see ahead of time if we'll be good and have a good marriage lol but this is the first time i heard literally anyone talking about and from their point of view , its so funny , i loved it! im doing my short story assessment based on your story!.
Thank you so much Huda for the nice comments! It made my day!I am happy you liked the story. I thought the salt in coffee was a Turkish thing, but I guess Middle Easterners have so much in common, yet they have distinct cultures. Thank you!
Arvin, this was laugh-out-loud hilarious! I mean, seriously, every paragraph had me at least chuckling. Your wit is delightful! A particular favorite, though it was hard to limit myself: "If you do, you’ll witness the reincarnation of devils that need an exorcism on the permission of the catholic church." LOL "We don’t recommend buying Saffron because it’s very expensive and we know you would never use it." Ok, funny, and also not wrong. Stay out of my kitchen, Arvin! "If you are enjoying this hot beverage with friends you can try a fortu...
Thank you so much for the nice comments Wendy. I appreciate your readership, comments and support. I am happy that it was funny because I was doubtful if the humour came across or if it was childish. It's my first time writing something satirical and it was a big departure from the more serious topics in my stories and definitely a challenge. Thank you again and I'm glad you liked my story!