The History of Turkish Coffee, Top 5 Brewing Machines, & How to Make it
As any true coffee aficionado will tell you, the Turkish method of coffee brewing is the oldest method known.
With roots going all the way back to the 15th century, this method of brewing has accrued many refinements with both benefits and differences compared to more modern, conventional brewing methods.
The Early History of Turkish Coffee
The Turks discovered the flavorful and euphoria-producing effects of the basic coffee recipe in the early 15th century.
They quickly realized the value of their discovery and soon began shipping coffee beans anywhere in the world where they were engaged in trade.
From there, the beverage rapidly became popular in locations all over the world and was quickly embraced wherever it appeared. Soon the coffee plant was being cultivated all over the globe.
There is some room for interpretation about the origin of coffee as there are two stories that are generally accepted as equally likely to be true.
The first holds that Ozdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Yemen, discovered the coffee bean in the region under his rule and that he introduced it to his sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent.
As the story goes, the sultan gave the beverage his royal seal approval, and the rest is history.
According to the second account, the properties of the coffee bean were discovered in 1554 by two Syrian men who brought their discovery to Istanbul.
There, according to the tale, the two men opened competing coffee shops and the effect of their efforts to out-do each other resulted in the popularization of the beverage in Turkey’s most well-known historic city.
Few historians deny that each of the two stories is both backed up by historical documentation, and appear to be equally likely to be true.
Whichever story you prefer is a matter of personal taste. But it could be that both chains of events happened simultaneously. Either way, the Turkish nature of coffee’s origin is certain.
After the beverage reached the royal palace, the sultan’s culinary staff decided to grind the beans to ground and boil them in a coffee pot that is still used today known as the Cezve (jezve).
From there, the drink found favor among all of the royal houses and soon became a profitable profession for the working class brewer.
The piping hot beverage found its way to Europe in the early 1600s after Turkish merchants began trading and selling it all over the world.
By the middle of the 18th century, coffee was considered one of the most valuable trade commodities in the world. Since then, it has been commonplace in the trenches of war, the bridges of large merchant and military ships, in homes, and in workplaces.
Everywhere people crave a pick-me-up in the early morning hours, coffee is there.
Turkish Delights & the Origin of Creme VS Turkish Coffee
The Turkish Delight, also known as the “lokum,” is the original coffee sweetener. These are candies made from a gel consisting of sugar and starch.
The beverage was not known to be commonly sweetened until it reached the royal houses and eventually the coffee shops of Istanbul.
As the drink made its way around the globe, people found different ways to overcome the bitter taste.
While there were many different ways to mellow coffee’s bitterness, most cultures stuck with some personal combination of milk, cream, and sugar lumps.
The sugar lump, it could be argued, was developed as a western answer to the Turkish lokum, which had roughly the same effect, except that sugar lumps dissolve more quickly and alter the flavor of the coffee to a lesser degree.
But the origin of the never-ending debate over whether or not coffee should be sweetened has its roots in the earliest versions of coffee. Black coffee came to be known as a more mature beverage called “man’s coffee” or “country coffee.”
Turkish delights are still popular all around the world and have their place in the finest coffee shops in the United States and Europe.
In fact, if you wish to serve true Turkish coffee, lokums must be on offer – otherwise, it isn’t really Turkish.
Today’s Top 5 Turkish Style Coffee Makers
Unlike most things in life, the basic Turkish recipe for brewing coffee remains the same. To achieve the same flavor that we believe the Turks enjoyed more than 5000 years ago, clever coffee maker manufacturers have found ways to do it faster, with more options, and of course, with at least a degree of automation.
The benefits and differences are, for a start, that the basic flavor is the same as it was 3000 years before the birth of Christ- and the overriding differences revolve around what we would think of as matters of convenience.
That being the case, we have narrowed it down to just five models that deliver great quality Turkish style coffee. The big difference between them will be determined by other factors.
The Black+Decker 735W OptiSense Turkish Style Coffee Maker
The first item on our list earns its spot for portability and convenience. It is nice looking, compact, and portable with its wireless design. It is limited in its capacity but if you want a Turkish brew whilst camping, this is the coffee maker for you.
Arzum Okka Turkish Style Coffee Maker
A step up in the looks department, this coffee maker is not technically portable, but it is still small. Designed to produce a single cup at a time, it is more focused on quality than quantity.
Beko Single Pot Turkish Style Coffee Machine
A hard last in terms of looks alone, however, the Beko has some useful sound and light indicators to help ensure that you get exactly the strength of brew that you are looking for.
Fakir Kaave Turkish Style Coffee Maker
Another portable item, the Fakir delivers all the lights and sound warnings you find in the Beko. Accuracy plus transportability make this a solid second place on our list.
Electric Coffee Turkish Espresso Percolator
Finally, we have our pick for number one. This simple, elegant percolator gives you perfectly brewed Turkish style coffee. What makes it great is that it is both portable and it delivers coffee in the one way that is most likely to produce genuine Turkish flavor. It’s also the cheapest on the list!
How to Brew the Best Turkish Coffee
If you’re interested in a historically accurate flavor, this is the way to do it. After you try it, you just might find that you love it. After all, it’s been considered one of the finest brewing methods for thousands of years.
The method is simple: do as the Turks did so long ago, and continue to do today.
- a Cezve
- Whole bean coffee (Sumatran Italian is recommended)
- A grinder
- Filtered water
- Unrefined cane sugar or genuine lokum
You may want:
- A digital scale
- A high-quality burr grinder
- Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice
Step 1. Grind your beans
Step 2. Boil your water
Step 3. Add your grounds to the water
Step 4. Flavor to taste (with sugar and spices)
Step 5. Heat a second time on medium to low
Step 6. Continue to boil until the entire brew is gently rolling and the surface sediment has sunken into the water
Step 8. Cool to your liking
It is as simple as that. Yes, many people consider the grounds to water ratio to be of the greatest import.
But the truth is that this was traditionally always a matter of taste and the tools available on hand. Experiment with proportions and flavorings, and take pride in knowing that you are brewing your coffee the way it was intended to be brewed!