The Definitive Turkish Coffee Guide Part 3: Troubleshooting

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Rounding off our three-part guide to the wonderful world of Turkish coffee, we’ll now be taking a look at a few essential troubleshooting tips. If the Turkish coffee you’re making at home simply isn’t satisfying at first, it’s most likely to do with one of the issues discussed here.

Of course, if you’re not really into the idea of gritty coffee that packs one serious punch, Turkish coffee might not be for you. For everyone else, the key to making Turkish coffee like a pro means avoiding the following mistakes:

Your coffee grounds are not fresh enough

After grinding the coffee beans, you should aim to use the ground coffee within 30 minutes, so that it doesn’t lose its freshness, which would be a recipe for disaster with Turkish coffee.  As the resulting product is so incredibly intense, the importance of using only the freshest coffee you can lay your hands on cannot be overstated.

Your grounds are not fine enough

Likewise, the only way to successfully brew Turkish coffee is to grind the living daylights out of your preferred coffee beans. If you get it right, the powdery grounds will be so fine that you cannot actually distinguish them in the resulting coffee. They instead create a thick and somewhat sludgy mouthfeel, but without any discernible ‘bits’ of debris in the mix.

Your ratios are off

We mentioned in the previous post that you can experiment to your heart’s content with ratios, which is true. However, the traditional approach to brewing Turkish coffee calls for a 1:9 ratio of coffee to water. The amount of coffee you use will have a marked impact on the resulting brew, but aiming for this ratio is a good place to start. After which, adjustments can be made to suit your personal preferences.

You’re allowing the water to boil

Allowing the water in the pot to boil for even a few seconds will completely wreck the resulting coffee. Boiling water does nothing but scald coffee grounds, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant taste. There’s a degree of precision involving getting it right, as you want the mixture to come close to boiling point, without ever actually boiling. Hence, it’s a brewing method where you cannot afford to let your attention slip for even a second!

You’re using the wrong beans

Just because your favorite coffee beans produce impeccable results with a French press doesn’t mean you’ll find them even remotely palatable with the Turkish coffee method. This is a completely unique way of brewing coffee, which produces very different results from one type of coffee to the next. There’s technically no such thing as the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ beans – unless they’re the wrong beans for your tastes.

You’re not using filtered water

Last up, don’t lose sight of the fact that 99% of the product you’re drinking is water. In which case, the quality of the coffee will never be any better than the quality of the water you use. Brewing Turkish coffee with anything but filtered water is inadvisable – the stuff that comes straight from the tap is rarely up to the job!

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