Coffee is loved the world over. It is the second biggest industry on the planet. Coffee can be brewed in a large variety of different ways using different equipment and methods. This article will look at strong Turkish coffee made using the traditional ibrik.
Turkish coffee is very strong and flavorful and not for the faint-hearted! Turkish coffee is prepared in apparatus known as an ibrik. The Ibrik is a traditional hand-made open topped pot with a long handle. It is usually made of brass, copper or other metal although ceramic ones are also used. The pot of the Ibrik is fairly small and only holds enough for 1 or 2 cups and the top of the pot is narrower than the bottom. The long handle is to prevent the user from burning their hands as the 'pot' end is placed directly in a heat source.
Extremely finely ground dark roast coffee is placed into the ibrik together with a similar quantity of sugar. One spoonful per person is usually enough. A small amount of water is added, typically 4 fl oz per spoonful of coffee.
Most coffee grinders are unable to grind the coffee fine enough for use in an ibrik, so often it is necessary to use a pestle and mortar to pulverize the coffee to a fine powder before use. If the coffee is not fine enough genuine Turkish coffee will not be made.
The powdered coffee will float on top of the water. This is to be expected and it is important that the mixture is not stirred initially as it will affect the taste of the brew. The floating coffee grinds act like a seal between the water and air and this is an important part of the brewing process.
The end of the ibrik containg the ingredients is put into direct contact with heat. This can be a fire, an oven or a stove. The actual source is not important so long as it is hot enough. (In fact traditionally the pot was placed in the hot sands of the Mediterranean).
The coffee should start to foam slowly and should be removed before it reaches boiling point. It is important that the liquid does not boil. It should be carefully monitored and removed from the heat just before it boils and given a good stir and the foam will settle down. The ibrik is replaced in the heat again and the process repeated another two times after which it is removed and the beverage left to settle for a few seconds to allow the coffee grinds to sink to the bottom.
The coffee is then served into small cups, usually with an accompanying glass of cold water. The last portion of beverage is not served as this contains the coffee sludge at the bottom.
Some Turkish coffee drinkers like the foam to be scooped off and put in the cups on the third and final removal from the heat source. After 30 seconds has passed to allow the coffee grinds to settle the coffee is then added to the foam.
The ibrik is a traditional and ceremonial way of serving coffee in Turkey and Greece. The arabs use a similar method but call it Cezves.
Turkish coffee is very strong and is somewhat of an 'acquired' taste.
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