Black “mud” coffee – a coffee classic from our parents’ and grandparents’ generation. But how does it differ from traditional Turkish coffee and how to prepare it properly?
How the Turks succumbed to coffee…
The story of Turkish coffee dates back to the 16th century, when two Syrian merchants first brought coffee beans to Istanbul. Thanks to its delicious aroma and distinctive taste, coffee quickly became a fundamental part of the extensive ceremonies of the Ottoman court and later of the everyday life of ordinary people.
Kahve, which translates as “sedative drink”, became so important in Turkey that some houses had special rooms dedicated to its consumption. The popularity of coffee among people was even so great at one time that the sultan’s court began to fear that opponents would criticize the government and form an opposition over a cup of coffee. That is why for some time there was a strict ban on its consumption and on visiting coffee houses.
Did you know that…? Coffee has also played an important role in Turkish culture during engagements. Through coffee, women expressed their opinion about a future groom. If the coffee was sweet, it meant consent, but if it tasted slightly salty, it meant that the woman disapproved of the marriage proposal.
How is authentic Turkish coffee prepared?
Traditional Turkish coffee is prepared on hot coals or sand, or directly over fire in a special pot called a cezve. However, the names ibrik, briki, rakwa, finjan or kanaka are also known. This is a tin-plated copper teapot with a specific pear shape – a wide bottom and narrowed neck – as well as a long handle.
The coffee is ground quite finely before preparation – its thickness resembles smooth flour or cocoa powder – and brewed in a kettle with water, possibly also sugar or various spices such as cardamom, masticha or ambergris. It is important to cook it slowly and remove it from the flame before it is boiled.
Did you know that…? Turkish coffee is always served with crema and is never stirred after pouring into the cup, otherwise the crema will fall off. It is also common to put the coffee, once brewed, back on the fire to re-establish the crema.
As traditional Turkish coffee is not filtered, the residue of the finely ground coffee enters the cup when serving and is allowed to settle to the bottom of the cup before consumption. Properly prepared, the coffee has a distinctive, bittersweet flavour, a thick texture and a beautifully high head. Coffee prepared in this way is served in small cups and drunk clean, i.e. without milk or cream. It is not common to add sugar afterwards either – it is added to the water along with spices before the coffee is brewed.
You can prepare delicious Turkish coffee at home, too
Although traditional Turkish coffee is mainly popular in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, you can also make it at home, even if you don’t have an original cezve. A smaller mug or a casserole with a long handle will also serve for its preparation. So let’s get started:
1. Pour water into a cezve or casserole – the amount of water is determined by the volume of the beverage you want and the taste you prefer. To make coffee for 1 person, we can pour 50 to 100 millilitres of water into the cezve.
2. Grind the coffee – about 6 – 7 grams very finely and add it to the water along with sugar or your favourite spices. Stir everything together to dissolve the sugar and combine the flavours. Do not stir the coffee later.
3. Place the coffee prepared in this manner on the fire or cooking hob and brew slowly. Never leave your coffee unattended, it could boil over.
TIP! Although traditional Turkish coffee is served with coffee grounds, nothing will happen if you filter it through a paper filter or a regular strainer.
4. After a few minutes, the coffee level in the coffee pot will begin to rise and a fine crema will form along with it – this is the sign that the coffee is ready. It is very important to remove the coffee from the flame in time – it must be just before its simmering point.
5. If you want an even nicer crema, pour some of the coffee into a cup and repeat the brewing process. Slowly pour the rest of the coffee into the cup and let the crema rise to the surface.
6. Do not stir the coffee and serve it straight away, but wait a few moments before drinking so that the ground coffee particles have time to settle to the bottom of the cup. Well, cheers!
Black “mud” coffee ≠ Turkish coffee
It may sound harsh, but traditional Turkish coffee has nothing in common with our still popular black “mud” coffee. Although today we can prepare really tasty and healthy coffee at home, whether it’s through an automatic coffee machine, French press, Aeropress or V60, many coffee drinkers remain loyal to classic black “mud” coffee. And yet there are so many reasons not to drink it!
Our classic black “mud” coffee is usually made from a mixture of Arabica and Robusta, in which Arabica is only very weakly represented. In most cases, these are mixtures of below-average quality. In addition, coffee is often stored in a ground state, which is also not good for its freshness and taste.
Another, perhaps the biggest mistake is the preparation and consumption itself. Black “mud” coffee is usually prepared by pouring boiling water over the coffee, thus destroying all its flavor. The ideal is to let the water cool a little to about 96 °C before pouring it over the coffee. It is also a big mistake to leave the coffee grounds in the bottom of the mug for too long – often several hours. The coffee should be brewed for a maximum of 3-4 minutes.
Did you know that…? With our popular black “mud” coffee beware of the high caffeine content – it raises the blood pressure and can cause anxiety or insomnia in more sensitive people.
It is precisely improper preparation and long leaching behind the frequent digestive problems associated with black “mud” coffee. If coffee is left to brew in hot water for too long, it releases unwanted substances and excess caffeine, which ultimately gives many coffee drinkers digestion problems. In traditional Turkish coffee, the subtle components of the grounds do not interfere – because the coffee is served in small cups and drunk immediately after serving.
A healthy alternative to our black “mud” coffee
A habit is a shirt made of iron, but if you want to continue enjoying your favourite cup of coffee without any major changes, we recommend switching from a classic black “mud” coffee to a French press. Just grind the coffee just before preparation, pour hot (not boiling!) water over it and strain it after a few minutes by simply pressing the plunger. A tasty and simultaneously healthy coffee came entered the world.