We first got our caffeine fix from jars of instant Nescafe, followed by acid Americanos from coffee vending machines. Irish people learnt their way around lattes and cappucinos, and we were happy with those.
The coffee culture in Ireland really picked up however, when the eternally cool Australians and New Zealanders introduced us to their “third wave” coffees—carefully brewed, single estate blends served with fancy Chemex coffeemakers and nerdy filters.
Brace yourselves, fellow Arabica adorers, because there’s a new coffee trend that’s slowly but surely making its way towards our palettes.
What are we talking about? Oh, only one of the most ancient coffees in the world: Turkish.
Turkish Coffee is a special way of preparing and serving unfiltered coffee (you don’t have to use a particular type of bean), which has been simmered in a pot over heat as it brews, and is also referred to as Arabic Coffee.
In the Middle East, other types of simmered coffee, including Syrian Coffee, Lebanese Coffee and Egyptian Coffee are all slightly different variations of Turkish Coffee in terms of flavour.
If you like to take your coffee black, then this is made for you.
With dark, intense aromas, and always served piping hot, the coffee has a silky foam (the thicker, the better) on top, with sediments of coffee grinds in the bottom of the cup. Because it’s unfiltered, the coffee never really completely dissolves.
Word of advice: There’s a bit of a trick to drinking Turkish coffee, and that is to gently swirl your cup time and time again to re-mix the grounds with the water – otherwise you’ll be left with half a cup of grit and sludge.
An interesting and fun part of Turkish coffee culture is to ‘read’ your future from the sediment after you have finished your coffee. They turn their cup upside down, wait till its bottom is cold and then ‘read’ the pattern of the sediment.
“Will you find the love of your life today? Will you win the Lotto?” Messy but oh so worth it.
The method of making the coffee is fairly lengthy, taking up to ten minutes for each brew so that the aromas have time to fully release.
It’s usually made in a traditional ‘Cezve’, a narrow pot with a long wooden handle, made in brass or copper, although more modern ones are made of steel, aluminium or ceramic.
Freshly ground coffee is added to cold water in the copper pot, and slowly brought to the boil, before pouring some of the liquid into cups. The process is repeated, usually about three times, until each cup is filled with the right proportion of grounds on the bottom and foam on the top.
It’s a big no-no to stir the coffee, as this would dissolve the all important foam, so if you think you’ll need a bit of sugar to sweeten it up, make sure to ask for it to be added during the brewing process.
Sometimes people also throw in a bit of cinnamon or cardamon to spice up the brew – dee-lish.
Okay, so now you know how AMAZING Turkish coffee is, here’s where to get your hands on some in Ireland.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to make your own beautifully intense coffees at home, you can buy Turkish-branded coffee beans online or in Cork store Mahers Pure Coffee, get a traditional copper Cezve here, or Brown Thomas have this modern one for just €13.
It’s only a matter of time before all the hip coffee-houses start adding this method to their menu, so start sipping, like, now.