Anatomy of a Drink: Turkish Coffee - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Anatomy of a Drink: Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee

Learn how to make this centuries-old coffee drink.

For hundreds of years, Turkish families and friends have used coffee as a bridge to important ceremonies, and to connect during holidays and gatherings. “It [has been] one of the precious cultural values, and one of the most popular ways to socialize and communicate for over 500 years,” says Atilla Narin, co-founder of Turkey’s first coffee museum in Safranbolu, in northern Turkey, and co-author of the book Lost Coffees of Anatolia.

The drink’s preparation has evolved over time, and by the 18th century, the preparation had evolved to include the compact, copper-plated vessel (typically tinned or silver-plated) called the cezve (not to be mistaken with the ibrik, another server for Turkish coffee) that we recognize today. For an elaborate showcase, coffee can also be served out of ornate ibriks (also called dallahs in Arabic culture), reflecting the region’s six centuries of coffee history.

Brewing Turkish coffee involves boiling very finely ground beans with water and sugar (if desired), then serving it unfiltered and accompanied by a glass of water, a Turkish delight confection (lokum in Turkish), and šerbet (sherbet), a sweet Middle Eastern drink. Today, however, coffee pros approach the centuries-old beverage with more precision regarding factors like water temperature and ratios, marrying modern technique with tradition.


  • 9 grams (about 1 tsp.) finely ground coffee (or a 1:10 ratio depending on the size of your vessel)
  • 70 grams filtered water
  • sugar, to taste (optional)
  • Tools:cezve, or traditional Turkish coffee pot, small wooden spoon
  • Glass:Turkish coffee cup or demitasse
  • Garnish:Turkish delight (lokum)


Add the ground coffee to the cezve and the sugar, if desired. Add enough water to match the volume of the serving cup, around 70 grams. Stir 8-10 times, ensuring that all the coffee comes into contact with the water. Heat the pot directly over medium heat for 2–2 1/2 minutes. When the foam (köpük, akin to crema) begins to rise toward the rim, but before the coffee spills over, remove from the heat and pour into the serving cup, no filtering needed.

TipStart with water at room temperature to prevent the coffee from becoming too bitter, then stir the grounds with a wooden spoon to prevent the coffee from clumping and to avoid damaging the coffee pot.

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