Turkish coffee is known and loved by millions of people all over the world. It’s also one of the simplest of all coffee brewing methods, requiring very little by way of specialist equipment and no real skill to master.
Nevertheless, as of 2023, the vast majority of those who enjoy and appreciate Turkish coffee don’t actually know a great deal about it. They know it tastes great and is widely available, but aren’t familiar with its origins or importance.
So, here are 7 things you didn’t know about Turkish coffee:
1) Turkish coffee actually originated from Ethiopia
Records suggest that Turkish coffee was first brewed in Southern Ethiopia, eventually being taken back to Istanbul in the early to mid 16th century. Though at its origins, Turkish coffee was brewed using the raw fruits of the coffee tree - the use of roasted and ground coffee came significantly later.
2) The Turkish introduced coffee to Europe
Istanbul’s coffee shop culture spread like wildfire and eventually caught the attention of people in other countries. When coffee was first introduced to Europe by the Turkish, Europeans brewed and enjoyed coffee in exactly the same way as their eastern neighbors. Again, the more ‘conventional’ brewing methods we rely on today were invented much later.
3) Turkish coffee is consumed at specific times of day
In accordance with tradition, Turkish coffee is not consumed at random intervals throughout the day. Instead, it is usually enjoyed in the morning and between noon meals. It’s not to say you can’t enjoy Turkish coffee at any time of day - it’s just that these are the times it was traditionally brewed and consumed.
4) Turkish coffee stays warmer for longer
A properly brewed cup of Turkish coffee is able to hold onto its temperature quite longer than a regular cup of coffee. The main reason being that it is insulated with a thick layer of luxurious foam to the top, though the traditional shape of the Turkish coffee cup also helps.
5) It is the only brewing method that does not involve straining
One of the few things almost every specialty coffee brewing method has in common is the way in which the grounds are strained from the liquid, either during or after the brewing process. The grounds used to make Turkish coffee are, by contrast, left in the mixture.
6) Turkish coffee is always served with water
There’s a curious theory which states that if a guest drinks the water served with Turkish coffee first, they are hungry. Drinking the water after the coffee indicating that the guest is full. In reality, water is simply served with Turkish coffee to cleanse the palate before you drink it, in order to ensure you get the most enjoyment from its uniquely robust taste.
7) If your Turkish coffee is served with lokum, always eat it!
Finally, serving lokum (a delicious Turkish delight) alongside Turkish coffee is a longstanding tradition. It’s also a way of gauging the satisfaction of your guests - those who eat the lokum are expressing satisfaction with your hospitality, those who leave it are said to be dissatisfied with the way you have hosted them!
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