November 29, 2008

Equipment to Prepare and Serve Turkish Coffee

It's thought that preparation of Turkish coffee is a hard and complex process. Also, it's believed that it needs a number of sophisticated equipment. However, this myth is not true. Once you learned it is very easy to prepare Turkish coffee. You just need some basic equipment.

To grind
As explained in preparation section, you can skip the grinding step by buying ground Turkish coffee. Therefore, you can prepare your Turkish coffee faster. Of course, you will have a better result by using freshly ground coffee beans.

If you decide to use grind your own coffee, you have two options:

- First one is to use a Turkish grinder (mill) (kahve degirmeni) to grind your coffee yourself. You can buy a special Turkish grinder online or you can ask your local coffee stores. (Please click on link for more information about manual coffee grinders.)

- Second option is to grind your coffee at your local grocery store. In the States, most of the grinders at your local grocery or coffee stores have a Turkish coffee setting.

Dark or medium roast are okay for Turkish coffee. The point is to have strong aroma and flavour. The end result of the grinding process should be powdery, something like baby powder (even finer than espresso coffee grounds). Don't forget, Turkish coffee is the finest grind of all coffee. So, you should grind your coffee as fine as possible.


To brew
  • A narrow-topped small boiling pot
  • A teaspoon
  • A heating device
You can use any kind of pot that is narrow-topped. In Turkish, this kind of pot is called cezve. You can also find it under the name of "Turkish warmer". Traditionally, cezve is made of copper and has a wooden handle. But, there are also steel or other metals models of cezve. The size of the pot should depend on amount of coffee to be prepared. If you use a pot that is too large, at the end you will not have too much foam (kopuk), which is one of the critical indicators of a good Turkish coffee.

Teaspoon is used to put coffee and sugar (if you desire) to the pot and to stir. Normally, you should use 2 teaspoons of coffee (5 grams or 0.176 ounces) for per cup. Of course, it mainly depends on your taste. You may increase or decrease this measure. You can also use a teaspoon to stir coffee powder (and sugar).

You can use any regular heating device. The important point is not to use very strong heat source, as lower heat allows gentle heat transfer.

To serve


  • Turkish coffee cup (fincan)
Turkish coffee represents a life style and a culture. So, you shouldn't drink it from ordinary cups. It is served in special cups that is called fincan in Turkish. It is about the size of espresso or sake cups. Turkish coffee cups are generally made of porcelain. They have a handle and a narrow bottom. In Turkey, you can't find a household without fincans. :)

10 comments:

SlowRain said...

I'm interested in Turkish hand mills for two reasons. One is for making Turkish coffee, but the other is for an inexpensive espresso grinder. Many people in the US use restored, vintage hand grinders for espresso (http://www.orphanespresso.com/). I figured that if a good quality Turkish hand mill can grind fine enough and evenly enough for Turkish coffee, it should also be able to grind for espresso.

I would like to order a Turkish hand mill (possibly 2, plus a cezve) directly from Turkey. I'm a Canadian living in Taiwan, so I don't want to pay for shipping to the US plus mark-up from a US retailer,then pay for shipping to Taiwan. I've heard that Sozen (Sözen) and Acar are two good brands, but I'd like to know what you think, especially for espresso. Also, do you know of any reliable websites in Turkey that sell Turkish hand mills and will ship overseas? I already know about Barista Septi (http://www.baristasepeti.com/), but I think they quoted me too much for shipping and they don't have a cezve, so I would like to try a few others first.

Thanks,

SlowRain

Mahir said...

SlowRain,
Thank you for your message.

To be honest, I rarely drink espresso. But, as far as I know, a Turkish hand mill can grind coffee for espresso or french press, as well as for Turkish coffee. The only thing you've to do is to tighten up or down the screw inside the mill to find the right setting for the coffe type you want to drink. So, you've to be sure that the mill you want to buy has an adjustable screw. Generally, mills that are specifically designed to gring spices don't have a screw to tighten up/down.

As regards the brand, I can say that Sozen (Sözen in Turkish) is a very good mill brand -especially, if you look at price/quality ratio. I can definitely recommend you Sozen. For instance, Zassenhaus mills are very popular; but I personally prefer Sozen... Acar is also a good one, but to me Sozen comes first...

I've never shopped from baristasepeti.com or any other website to buy mill or any other coffee product (when the subject is coffee, I enjoy visiting local stores :) But, in the Turkish coffee forums that I've been following, I've read good comments about that site.

Hope these answers'll help you. Please don't hesitate to contact me again...

SlowRain said...

Mahir,

Thank you for your reply. I have a few more questions.

How easy is it to take apart a Sozen and clean it? I like to keep all of my coffee equipment clean, so this is important for me. Is a Sozen easier to take completely apart and clean than an Acar?

Also, regarding speed: can a Sozen grind faster than an Acar? Do they both grind to the same quality?

Is there any difference between these two hand mills: http://www.baristasepeti.com/index.php?target=categories&category_id=192

One seems taller and has a straight body. The other is shorter, but is bowl-shaped at the bottom. Is that only for looks, or is one of them more practical than the other?

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions like this. I really know very little about Turkish coffee.


SlowRain

Mahir said...

SlowRain,

The answer of your first question lies on your manual skill :-) If you're good at assembling, it's not so hard. But if you're not, think twice before taking apart :) You'll see a screw on the sideway of the mill. If you take off that screw, you can take apart your mill. Even if you assemble everything again, you may not be able to mount the mechanism properly. Such a thing may affect the performance.

Regarding cleaning of the mill, I've to say don't use water to clean inside of the mill, chamber, or jagged. Even don't use moist tissue for those parts. Moisture is enemy of the mill. To clean chamber, you can use a dry brush. If you clean outside of the mill by using a moist tissue or something like that, don't forget to rub down it. Before the first usage, you can use some cheap beans to clean the mechanism…

In terms of taking apart and cleaning, I cannot say there’s a major difference between Sozen and Acar. On the other hand, in terms of grinding quality and speed, I definitely prefer Sozen...

Bottom of a Turkish coffee mill can be cylinder (straight) or globe (bowl-shaped). The main differences are look and ergonomics. Although some people think cylinder mill is better, personally I think a globe-shaped mill is more practical than the other.

By the way, don’t use your mill when there’re not coffee beans inside the mill. If you screw so hard (so you can grind Turkish coffee), never use the mill without coffee beans inside. Last but not least, keep your mill away from moisture!

Thank you again for your questions... You reminded me that maybe I should write a separate post about Turkish coffee mills. :)

SlowRain said...

Thank you very much. You've been a big help.

SlowRain said...

I hate to bother you again, but can I ask a favor?

I've tried sending several messages to Barista Sepeti. I received a positive reply to my first message, but I haven't received any replies to my last two or three messages.

Do you know of any other good Internet vendors in Turkey selling Sozen hand mills?

Thanks,


SlowRain

Mahir said...

SlowRain,
You can ask whatever and whenever :) The whole aim of this blog is to help people about Turkish coffee related issues...

I'll try to contact baristasepeti and ask about your mails...

Unfortunately, I don't shop from any Internet vendors in Turkey selling Turkish coffee products, including hand mills. I am so close to traditional coffee shops those sell everything regarding Turkish coffee. But, if I'll be able to learn a good Internet site selling Sozen mills, I'll let you know.

SlowRain said...

Thanks.

After a week of trying, Barista Sepeti finally responded and I've ordered a Sozen hand mill and a cezve.

I think there may have been a delay because they were researching alternative shipping methods. I'm not sure.

Once they arrive, I'm sure I'll have more questions for you.

Thanks for your offer.

SlowRain said...

Okay, the Sözen and cezve have arrived. My two questions are: 1. How should I season it? 2. How fine can I grind before it is too fine and I risk damaging the burrs?

Thanks,

SlowRain

Mahir said...

SlowRain,

Sorry for the delay in answering your questions. Finally, I'm back and ready to answer everything! :)

1) My suggestion is to not wash your grinder with water! So, no need to season it. :) As I mentioned earlier, moisture is enemy of the mill. As a simple cleaning method, you can put some cheap coffee beans and grind it. Of course, the aim is not to drink that, just cleaning the burrs.

2) The experience is the best answer for your second question! :)