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Mar 1, 2010 11:27 AM

When making Turkish Coffee for guests....

I like to make Turkish Coffee for my co-workers. I keep all of my supplies at work - cezve, a little burner, coffee, cups, sugar for any convenient moment to share this treat with them.

However, so far as spices in the coffee, should I allow them to add any spices to their own cup or should I ask them if they want me to spice the coffee before preparing? How about sugar? Should it be prepared sade (sans sugar) and have each person sugar the coffee to his/her tasting?

I am just not sure if adding spices and sugar AFTER the coffee is poured would diminish the quality.

How is this done in the lands where Turkish coffee originates?

Also, so far as spices go, I keep cardamom, cinnamon, ginger on hand. Are here any more that you folks could suggest?

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  1. Have had Turkish coffee in Greece numerous times and occasionally make it at home. The sugar is cooked with the coffee and the sweetness - e.g."metrious" [medium] is specified when ordering. I have never seen spice put inTurkish coffee in Greece.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emilief

      Heh - don't let a Greek person hear you call it Turkish Coffee.

    2. Like emilief, I have never had Turkish style coffee with spices in it either.

      When I have been served Turkish coffee in homes, they just serve it with the sugar already in it and the sugar is boiled with the water. Turkish coffee is served in tiny cups so it would be too hard to stir the sugar in, plus one is supposed to let the coffee grains settle at the bottom of the cup and adding sugar after it is in the tiny cup would make this grain settling take longer. It is traditionally made quite sweet since the coffee is so strong and bitter.

      In restos and coffee shops, the waiter asks you how you want your sugar: strong, medium, or light, and the sugar is boiled with the water.

      One piece of cultural information is that Turkish coffee is always brought out on a tray with a glass of water. You MUST have the water on the tray. I don't know why, though. You can serve it in the slim boiling vessels and pour it into the tiny cups for the drinker, or you can bring out the cups with the coffee already in it on the tray.

      2 Replies
      1. re: luckyfatima

        Putting orange blossom water or cardamom in coffee are typical of the arab world, but as you say, I've never heard of Turks doing that. As for cinnamon, I've only seen that from Austrians...

        1. re: tmso

          I am not saying as an authority though that there are are no spices in Turkish coffee ever...if someone knows different I would like to know as well. I am only saying that in my experience I have not had it spiced, echoing what emilief said. I have never been served Turkish coffee by a Turk, only by Arabs.

          Come to think of it there is a popular Brazilian brand that sells cardamom blended Turkish coffee grains, so I guess that is an option.

          There is another type of common Arabic coffee which is prepared with a different type of beans than Turkish coffee, and that is spiced, though.

      2. We have been visiting Turkey since the early '60s and what I can say is that, first we were surprised to find that Turkish coffee did not really exist. People drank almost only tea (cay pronounced "chay"). This was the result of Ataturk's autharchy which developped the tea plantations in the Black Sea area as a way of saving on expensive/luxury imports. So coffee drinking had become very uncommon and up until the early '90s you could find coffee almost only in restaurants. Coffe instead was very common in Greece were it was called Greek coffe.
        The glass of water has the purpose of diluting the impact of the harsh tannic taste of such a cocentrated coffe on one's stomach. And it actually works. Bringing a glass of water with your espresso coffe is actually quite common all over the Mediterranean. It is also a kind of polite gesture as in making the service more "complete".

        1. Thank you all. I must be confusing Turkish coffee with Arabic coffee. A Sudanese friend gave me some (which he called Turkish coffee) and it had spices in it.; it was preground and unfortunatel;y, I cannot read the brand. I just bought some Mehmet Efendi and also want to practice making my own witha Zassenhaus grinder. Maybe I will leave the spices out...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jimmy Buffet

            The Middle East calls all non-instant ground coffee "Turkish"; there is even decaf Turkish coffee. Among the many varieties on our supermarket shelf are several with hel [cardamom], which I really don't like but drink at my inlaws. They make a whole ceremony of the preparation - grinding the coffee, boiling it, adding the sugar & boiling it again. At home I just pour boiling water on the coffee in my cup, which is heresy to the purist but tastes fine if the ground coffee is good.

            1. re: hanna5

              I know there are different names of things in the various dialects of Arabic, but I have heard people call Turkish coffee "qahwa turkiyya" (Turkish coffee) and the Arabic or Bedouin coffee (Ethiopian type boiled with spices "qahwa arabiyya" (Arabic coffee) so at least in countries which consume both, there is a distinction. There is also American coffee and as you allude to, the ubiquitous Nescafe. The Gulf was never Ottomanized so they only have a tradition of Arabic coffee, though these days all types of coffee, from Turkish to Starbucks are popular.

          2. I am wondering, if you are making for more than one guest, do you have multiple Turkish coffee pots on the go at once? Cause one is only one cup? Or am i mistaken?? Thank you :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Wahuj

              Actually they sell several sizes of vessels for making Turkish coffee, so one can make several cups at a time in the larger vessels.