Café Turco: Exploring Turkish Coffee

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Turkish coffee, known as Café Turco in Spanish and Portuguese, is a unique method of coffee preparation with deep roots in the Ottoman Empire. This post covers the essentials of Turkish coffee, from its history to its brewing process and cultural significance.

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What is Café Turco aka Turkish Coffee?

Turkish coffee, known for its rich and thick texture, is a traditional brew made by mixing finely ground coffee beans with water and, optionally, sugar, then heating the mixture in a special pot called a cezve or ibrik until it foams. This brewing technique creates a bold and unfiltered coffee, often served in small cups with sweets or pastries on the side.

Turkish Coffee Next To A Special Pot Called A Cezve Or Ibrik
Turkish coffee is rich and sweet

Key to its distinct taste and body are cold filtered water, very finely ground coffee, and optional sugar. While some may add spices like cardamom for flavor, this is up to personal taste. Turkish coffee is not just a drink but a cultural icon in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Balkans, celebrated for its unique preparation and deep-rooted traditions.

How to Make Turkish Coffee (Café Turco) at Home:

To make Turkish coffee at home, you will need the following ingredients and steps:


  • Cold filtered water
  • Turkish coffee (finely ground)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cardamom (optional)
Adding Coffee To Turkish Coffee Maker
Adding coffee to the cezve
Monitoring Turkish Coffee Termperature
Slowly boil the water


  1. Measure the Water: Add water to the cezve (ibrik).
  2. Add Ingredients: Add sugar and Turkish coffee to the cezve. The amount of sugar and coffee can be adjusted to personal preference.
  3. Heat Gently: Place the cezve on low heat and let the mixture heat up without stirring. Allow it to heat for a few minutes until it starts to foam.
  4. Pour and Serve: Once the coffee foams up, pour it into small Turkish coffee cups, ensuring that each cup gets some of the foam. Serve with a glass of water and a small sweet treat on the side.

Flavor and Pairings

Turkish coffee is often served with a small sweet morsel such as a piece of lokum (Turkish delight) and a glass of water on the side.1 Sipping the water cleanses the palate while waiting for the coffee to cool slightly and the grounds to settle to the bottom of the cup.

Since Turkish coffee is served unfiltered, it is important to allow the grounds to settle before drinking to avoid a mouthful of grit. Additionally, Turkish coffee is sometimes served with other sweet treats like chocolate or candy.

What Beans Should I Use?

When crafting the perfect cup of Turkish coffee, the choice of beans is paramount. Finely ground Arabica beans are the go-to for their sophisticated and intricate flavors, offering a coffee experience that’s rich in nuances. Some connoisseurs prefer a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans, achieving a harmonious balance in taste and aroma that truly elevates the coffee.

Spirit Animal Coffee

For those who cherish this medium roast tradition, Spirit Animal Coffee’s Bourbon Blend is an outstanding pick. This medium roast strikes an exquisite balance, highlighting the inherent sweetness and subtle acidity of the beans, all while keeping bitterness at bay. It’s this careful roasting process that brings out the best in the beans, making Spirit Animal Coffee’s Bourbon Blend an ideal choice for Turkish coffee enthusiasts seeking a brew that’s both robust and refined.


Cultural Significance

Café Turco, or Turkish coffee, holds significant cultural importance. It has been confirmed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Turkish coffee combines special preparation and brewing techniques with a rich communal traditional culture. It is celebrated in literature and songs and is an indispensable part of ceremonial occasions.

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The tradition itself is a symbol of hospitality, friendship, refinement, and entertainment that permeates all walks of life. Turkish coffee is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse, share news, and read books. It also plays an important role in social occasions such as engagement ceremonies and holidays. The grounds left in the empty cup are often used to tell a person’s fortune2.

Café Turco vs. Regular Coffee

Diving into the coffee world, we encounter the bold flavors of Turkish coffee and the diverse array of regular coffees. Here’s what sets them apart:

  1. Preparation Technique: Turkish coffee is all about the fine grind and the traditional cezve pot. This method skips the filter, giving us a potent and immersive flavor profile. The coffee grounds settle at the bottom, adding to its unique experience. Regular coffee, on the other hand, embraces variety – from drip to French press, each with its own grind coarseness and filtration process.
  2. Flavor Profile: The unfiltered approach of Turkish coffee delivers a robust and authentic taste, while the filtration in regular coffee methods offers a cleaner, more refined sip.
  3. Caffeine Punch: Turkish coffee packs about 30-32 mg of caffeine per ounce, closely trailing behind espresso’s 30-35 mg. It’s a close race, but espresso edges out slightly in the caffeine department.
  4. Brewing Time and Technique: Turkish coffee’s preparation is a slow dance, taking anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, as it marries boiling water with finely ground coffee. Espresso is the sprinter of the coffee world, using high pressure and coarser grinds to deliver a shot in under 30 seconds.

In the realm of coffee, these differences highlight the unique charm of Turkish coffee against the backdrop of regular coffee’s versatility. Whether you’re in the mood for the bold, unfiltered essence of a Turkish brew or the refined taste of a filtered coffee, understanding these nuances can enhance your coffee experience.


Turkish coffee is a cultural experience, offering a glimpse into the traditions of Turkish hospitality and the unique pleasure of its preparation and enjoyment.

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Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.

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