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Turkish coffee: a Unesco Heritage drink

Turkish coffee: a Unesco Heritage drink

An ancient ritual, with a mysterious and magical taste: this is Turkish Coffee, also called Türk Kahvesi from the name of a preparation technique which is widespread especially in the Middle East.

This method is very different to the one which is well-known and typically used in Italy.

In this article, once we have talked about Touba Coffee from Senegal (link) and Cuban Coffee (link), we will explain how to prepare the exotic Turkish Coffee, with its full-bodied consistency and intense taste.

We will also be revealing some little-known facts about the magic surrounding this drink.  

What is Turkish Coffee?

With the name Turkish Coffee, we are referring to a preparation from ancient times, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire.

It was far back in the 16th century that the first coffee shops of Istanbul were established, places used for socializing and entertainment, also frequented by cultured and intellectual people.

Centuries have passed since that time, but coffee continues to hold an extremely important role in Turkish society, embodying the values of the traditional culture, above all its renowned hospitality.

It will come as no surprise that in 2013, the Türk Kahvesi was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Heritage.  

Turkish Coffee: preparation

To prepare a good Turkish Coffee, you need love and patience. In fact this drink, should be prepared and savored slowly, forgetting for one moment the intense frenetic pace of daily life, to dedicate a little bit of time to yourself  and your guests.  

The procedure is almost similar to a magic ritual and is very different to what we are used to seeing with the moka and espresso.

This type of coffee is prepared as an infusion, requiring very finely ground coffee powder and is made using a very unusual instrument called cezve or ibrik, a jug made of brass or copper with a long handle.

In Turkey it is often served with sweets made from sugar and starch:  lokum. 


  • A teaspoon  of light or medium-roasted very finely ground coffee powder (around 100-200 microns)
  • 2.29 oz of water per person
  • Sugar to taste, according to how sweet you want your drink.


  • Fill the cezve with the water.
  • Add the sugar (the sugar is always added at this point, not at the end).
  • Put on the heat and bring to the boil.
  • Remove the cezve from the heat and add the coffee.
  • Put the cezve back on the heat and bring back to the boil two more times. It is important to remove the jug from the heat after each time the coffee reaches boiling point. 

At this point, the Turkish Coffee will have reached the typical dense consistency which is characteristic.

Since it is not filtered, before drinking it, it is necessary to leave it to rest for a few minutes to allow the sediment to settle on the bottom of the cups.

Remember that the drink can be enriched using spices such as cardamom or cinnamon, to give it that unusual touch.   

The coffee grounds should not be drunk, though, also because they can be used for the curious and magical art of coffee reading, which we will now talk about briefly.

The ancient art of coffee reading 

Even if the coffee grounds are not drunk, they should not be thrown away immediately either.

They are actually used in the art of coffee reading, an ancient custom and practice of fortune-telling which is very common in Turkey and which involves reading coffee grounds. But how does it work?

To look at your future, after having drunk your coffee, you should cover your cup with a saucer and turn it over, so it is then upside down on the saucer, then you wait for them to cool down and read and interpret the shapes that have formed.  

Now that you know a little more about Turkish Coffee and its preparation, now you can try to make it for yourself and amaze your friends and family with this unusual recipe.  

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