April 7, 2010


Mirra is a special kind of Turkish coffee. It is a very strong coffee, which is prepared commonly in the south-east region of Turkey (especially Mardin, Urfa and Diyarbakir provinces).

"Mirra" is derived from the word "mur" which means "bitter" in Arabic. It is mainly presented at ceremonies of hosting special guests, ‘sira’ nights (name of a special entertainment event in the region) or wedding feasts.

Mirra can be prepared with any kind of coffee beans. But, coffea arabica is generally preferred. Fresh coffee beans are roasted in a big paddle. When the roasting is done, the beans are ground in a special wooden mortar called "dibek". Although using a dibek is the traditional way, today automatic grinders are widely used instead of dibek. The ground coffee beans should be a bit coarser than the Turkish coffee.

During brewing process, Mirra is boiled again and again since it gets the favorable consistency. The coffee is boiled with water until it almost turns into sediment, and then it is mixed with water to prepare the mixture called “şerbet”.

A coffee jug, which is specially designed for Mirra is filled with the şerbet. To avoid overflowing it is brought near and taken away, and after getting the favorable consistency it is taken from the heating source. The coffee is poured to another jug called ‘mutbak’ after getting cold, before the coffee mix with the sediment at the bottom, and again some şerbet is added. This mixture is poured again to another mutbak after being completely boiled and before mixing with the sediment. The coffee in the mutbak is boiled for a while, and taken from the heating source and left to cool. After the cooling, the coffee is poured into the biggest of the coffee jugs, which are specially designed for Mirra and have lids over their spouts, and lastly it is poured to the biggest zinc cezve. Cardamom is generally added during the brewing process.
As you may have already noticed, the brewing method of Mirra is totally opposed to the basic principles of coffee brewing idea. As explained above, Mirra is being boiled for hours; six to seven times! Moreover, Mirra is prepared in big amounts, then saved and consumed in days or even weeks!

So, if you look at Mirra from a technical perspective, it is obvious that this coffee brewing style violates basic coffee principles. However, it is an ancient and precisely a different way of coffee brewing.


Sul said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I am enjoying reading through it. Nice work!

Do you have any info on those cups you have in the first picture? (the cups with no handles). I have seen cups in these styles before but I had no idea they were coffee cups. I always thought they were chinese tea cups, but I am probably wrong.

Turkish Coffee Blog said...

Hi Sul,

The cups without handles are the traditional Turkish coffee cups. The metal part holding the cup is named "zarf" in Turkish.

Nowadays, even in Turkey it is hard to find this type cups. But once, it was the most common one.