How Does Turkish Coffee Work? A Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever tried Turkish coffee? It’s not your typical cup of joe. This strong and flavorful coffee is a staple in Turkish culture and is steeped in tradition.

If you’re new to Turkish coffee, don’t worry. This beginner’s guide will answer all your questions and teach you how to make the perfect cup.

From the brewing process to the unique serving style, you’ll learn all about how Turkish coffee works and why it’s so beloved.

So, grab a cezve (Turkish coffee pot), and let’s dive into the world of Turkish coffee! If you don’t have one, you can buy this one which I use to brew my Turkish coffee. 

How Does Turkish Coffee Work? [Step-By-Step]

Turkish coffee, also known as Cezve or Ibrik coffee, is a contemporary approach to the traditional brew method. It uses a special pot called Ibrik/Cezve, made of copper, or brass. It usually has a long handle for easy handling. 

Turkish Coffee

Ingredient You’ll Need for One cup

  • Ibrik/Cezve
  • Specialty Coffee Beans/ Very fine ground coffee (7 grams)
  • Coffee grinder (If you like grinding fresh) – I use Baratza Encore (My go-to grinder)
  • 70 grams of water (preheated to 60 °C or room temperature)
  • Heating Stove 

Step-1: Prepare the Ground

To make a great cup of Turkish coffee, start with specialty-grade coffee beans. Dark roast arabica beans are preferred as of high quality, and dark roast contains less caffeine than light roast beans. I recommend using freshly roasted coffee and freshly ground coffee for the best taste. 

The grind size should be very fine, like powder, because this brewing method does not involve any filtration. The coffee grounds should settle down to the bottom of the cup, which is why the grind size should be fine.

Notes: One of the difficulties of this brewing method is over-extraction, which can easily happen due to the fine grind size and lack of filtration.

Step-2: Make the Perfect Ratio

To make one cup of Turkish coffee, start with seven grams of coffee and add seventy grams of water for a 1:10 ratio. This is not a rule, but it’s a good start, and you can adjust the ratio according to your taste.

Step-3: Stir To Staturate Coffee With Water

Pour the water slowly to saturate the coffee and stir it ten to fifteen times. Not more, because, more stirring, increase the extraction. You can add room temperature water, or preheated water of 60 °C. Brewing with preheated water will yield a better result. 

Step-4: Brew With Precision

Brewing time is crucial in Turkish coffee, as it affects the extraction and foam of the coffee. The ideal brewing time for one cup is around two minutes, during which the coffee creates foam and extracts.

Turkish coffee Pot

Unlike traditional brewing methods, Turkish coffee does not reach boiling temperature but is finished around 92-94 Celsius degrees.

To prevent over-extraction, it’s important not to stir the coffee during brewing. Traditionally, any bitterness in the coffee is balanced with sugar and spices (cardamom) in the Middle East, Balkans, North Africa, Turkey, and Greece where this method is popular.

Finished Brewing ( Turkish Coffee)

Step-5: Adjust Heating & Serve When Ready

At around one minute, lower the heat to control the rise in temperature. When the foam reaches the rim, strain it without waiting. Hold the cup at an angle and pour it into the cup slowly, and serve with water and something sweet.

The coffee will still be too hot to drink, so wait for at least two to four minutes for the ideal drinking temperature. The coffee grounds in the cup need to settle to the bottom before enjoying.

Serving Turkish Coffee

Notes: In Turkish culture, it is customary to start with water to cleanse the palate, then sip the coffee, and finally enjoy the desert.

By following these steps, you can create a delicious cup of Turkish coffee with a unique taste and texture that is truly one-of-a-kind.

What’s The Role of Sand In Brewing Turkish Coffee?

The role of sand in brewing Turkish coffee is to provide a steady and even heat source. The sand-filled tray distributes heat evenly and helps prevent the burning of the coffee.

Turkish coffee brewing Using Hot Sand

The sand also allows for a slow and controlled brewing process, resulting in a rich and flavorful cup of coffee. The sand method is common in the street of Turkey, and in places where sand is readily available. 

However, at home, it’s really difficult to manage sand-filled trays. If you can manage it will give you the comfort of even heat distribution. Otherwise, control the heat while brewing on a stovetop. 

Common Mistakes While Brewing Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee can be tricky to get right, and there are some common mistakes that people make. Here are a few things to keep in mind when brewing Turkish coffee:

#1: Coffee Quality

Specialty coffee is the way to go for this method. However, using any kind of specialty coffee is fine. However, dark roast Arabica coffee beans are the preferred one.

#2: Water Quality

Avoid using tap water and opt for spring water or well-filtered water instead. This will enhance the coffee’s flavor and produce a better quality cup.

#3: Ratio

Instead of measuring with teaspoons, use a scale for consistent brewing.

#4: Don’t Boil Your Coffee Three Times

Brewing Turkish coffee three times creates over-extraction. Avoid getting close to boiling temperature as it can lead to over-extraction as well.

#5: Agitation

Avoid over-stirring your coffee, as it increases the extraction and creates a bitter taste. Gently stir at the beginning when pouring water on top of the coffee.

#6: Use Freshly Ground Coffee

Pre-ground coffee loses its flavors and aromatics, so it’s best to grind your coffee just before brewing.

Turkish coffee & Pot


Is Turkish coffee stronger than regular coffee?

Yes, Turkish coffee is generally considered stronger than regular coffee due to its preparation method and the fact that it is not filtered. The coffee beans are ground very finely and boiled with water in a special pot called a cezve, resulting in a strong and concentrated brew. Additionally, Turkish coffee is traditionally served in small portions, further emphasizing its strength.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Turkish Coffee?

Some of the health benefits of Turkish coffee include increased focus and alertness, improved digestion, and reduced risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties [1].

However, excessive consumption of Turkish coffee can lead to negative health effects, such as increased heart rate and anxiety. Moderation is key to enjoying the potential health benefits of Turkish coffee, as with any food or beverage.

Why is Turkish coffee often served with a sweet treat?

The sweet treat is believed to cleanse the palate and enhance the flavor of the coffee. Also, it can help balance the strong, bitter taste of the coffee, making it more enjoyable for those who may not be accustomed to the strong taste.

In Turkish culture, serving Turkish coffee without a sweet treat can be seen as impolite and incomplete. This tradition dates back to the Ottoman Empire.


Turkish coffee brewing involves a unique and meticulous process that has been passed down through generations.

Its cultural significance is evident in the importance placed on hospitality and socializing while enjoying a cup of coffee.

To truly appreciate Turkish coffee, it is necessary to experience it for yourself. So, if you have the opportunity, take a moment to savor the rich flavors and aromas of Turkish coffee and immerse yourself in its rich cultural traditions.

Sujit Modak

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