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How to make the best cup of coffee in 3 simple steps

I preached about how Turkish coffee was the Alpha and Omega of coffee in my last post.

If it’s really as simple as I said it was, then explaining how to make it should be just as simple, right?

Let’s have a crack at how to make the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have in three simple steps: Mix, cook, drink.

Step 1 –  Preparation. You will need:

1. A cezve, or Turkish coffee pot.

A cezve. They can be found at any middle eastern grocery store.

2. Coffee: Turkish or any coffee you like that is ground to a powder. Some Turkish coffee will have spices added, namely cardamom. Some grinders will have a Turkish setting or ask your coffee vendor for Turkish grind. It needs to be like icing sugar.

Coffee for Turkish preparation needs to be a finely ground powder. This is actually south Indian coffee from Coorg made by Devan’s coffee which I bought in New Delhi near Khan Market. Ask them for their “Special Blend” and tell them you’re flying overseas. They’ll seal it in a branded bag. Otherwise it comes in a plain clear packet and customs gets sweaty palms and weak knees when they see that.

3. Water. The ratio of water to coffee is roughly one heaping teaspoon of coffee for every 60ml of water. I use two shot glasses of water and actually mix about 4 teaspoons for 180ml of water in my cezve.

Step 2 – Make the coffee.

1. Mix all the ingredients until they dissolve. Just stir it.

Looks lumpy and frothy when mixed. Don’t worry, it gets better from here on! You can choose to keep stirring or stop once it’s mixed well.

2. Cook on medium heat, but never let it boil. Much like tea, moment the water boils, you have ruined it.

Once the coffee and sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes more homogeneous, the bubbles become really fine. A thick layer of foam begins to form as it cooks. Bigger bubbles appear around the edges and it’s ready! This picture was taken a split second before boiling point so I quickly removed from heat and served.

Remember: Once you boil it, you’ve ruined it. The flavour becomes astringent and that’s when you get the more negative effects from coffee which I rant about at great length in my previous post. Also sip gently. If you down it like a bro-dog doing a shotski, you’ll get a mouth full of powder and instead of realizing it’s your fault, you’ll blame something else like a millennial would.

Step 3 – Serve.

This Bodum glass holds about 90ml so that’s about 1.5 servings. A nice layer of foam on top for texture. let the cup sit so the coffee powder precipitates, and sip gently. It’s not hot because you didn’t boil it. The flavour and aroma should be roasted, sweet and sour but not acidic, dark chocolate and slightly woody.

There a tricks to pouring or serving it and that is up to you. Mehmet Efendi coffee recommends removing the foam as it rises and serving into cups before pouring the liquid out. I just pour carefully.

That’s it. No machines whining, steam hissing. No fashion statement (t-shirt, black tights and UGGs), no nasty physiological effetcs. Just plain and simple things in life that are sublime.

Try enjoying it with dried mulberries if you can’t find good Turkish delights!

(Header photo: This is where you buy Mehmet Efendi coffee in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. Shot on a Zeiss Ikon 6×6.)

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