Turkish coffee: my way

I approached the traditional coffee in Istanbul with some trepidation –having heard quite aplenty about strong, unfiltered coffee– But I was mildly surprised with how good and addictive the coffee was (with a dash of sugar). Not at all uncommon to find little, medium or more sugar in the coffee of Istanbul denizens. The coffee is generally served with water (in a little 2 oz glass) and the quintessential confection, a Turkish delight.

The coffee sets with the tiny coffee cups and matching trays, in engraved copper, looked very enticing in Grand Bazaar. I instantly succumbed. I also bought a matching coffee pot (cezve) with intricate carvings in the body and the characteristic long handle. It looked so small to me that I mistook it for a single-cup pot and complained to the shopkeeper; he promptly pointed me to an even tinier (single-cup) pot.

There are even electric coffee makers that one of my Turkish hostesses used, claiming she even carried them with her when she traveled. But I had been seduced by the copper stove-top ones. The coffee is surprisingly easy to make. Here goes.

Coffee grounds: The Turkish coffee ground is very, very fine. Like flour. If you grind your own, use your finest setting. If you use a scale, then approx 7 gms per cup. By volume, 1/2 tbsp (or 1 1/2 tsp) grounds per cup. Each Turkish cup is about 2 oz (a demitasse).

Extraction: For 1 cup (approx 2 oz) of coffee, place 1/2 tbsp ground coffee in a dry cezve. Note, the 2 serving cezve is about 6 oz. Using the serving cup as a measure, pour 1 cup of water into the pot. Mix well. Then place on very low heat. Do NOT stir. In a few minutes, the mixture froths and begins to rise from the sides. Quickly pour about half the contents into the cup with the crema on top. Then put the pot back on the heat and let the remaining half froth up again for the final time. Then pour the second half into the cup. The crema on top is a sign of a good extraction (just like an Italian espresso, although the latter is filtered).

My way: I experimented with half milk and half water OR all milk, instead of all water. And, no sugar. It has been consistently turning out great. With rich crema. Enjoy the way or my way!!

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