How To Prepare Turkish Coffee (And Avoid Getting Married)

Let´s start with a nasty secret, shall we? Right on:

I used to think Turkish coffee was blueh. You know, all the weird stuff floating in it and getting into your teeth…well, you get my point.

Those were the times my only experience with Turkish coffee was the one at the buffet of the Poprad train station – and believe me when I tell you you don´t want to try that brew! (Or any other train station coffee in former communist block, for that matter.)

Then I traveled to Istanbul and…I still wasn´t impressed. Yeah, it was okay, but remember I became a coffee snob when I was living in Colombia!

In November 2016 though, I came to Turkey planning to stay for a long time – that´s when me and Turkish coffee started flirting a little.

You know, when you are a guest in a Turkish family, you can bet that four times out of five, you´ll get offered coffee. Coffee is both a ritual, an energizer and a pride of Turkish people! You can never tell them you´d actually go for one of those 3 in 1 blue instant coffee bags that they sell in Şok for 25 kuruş. Hell no.

Then again, after drinking so many delicate cups, carefully prepared by swift Mediterranean hands (you should see the Turkish in the kitchen – cooking is a process!) – I must say I got to enjoy the Turkish coffee a lot more.

Here is the secret way that I learned from a friend in Datça:

How to prepare Turkish coffee?

It´s not complicated.

  1. Pour water in the cezve (read: jazzveh)
  2. Add coffee: three little spoons of coffee per cup (the cup is small, not the big Starbucks one!)
  3. Optional: Add sugar. One little spoon per cup, depending on your taste.
  4. Let the mélange boil slowly.
  5. When the water is boiling, wait until the foam grows. When the cezve is full of foam, take it off of the flame and wait for the foam to dissolve again. Repeat this three times. This way, the mix will get homogeneous.
  6. Serve in tiny porcelain cups with lilac flowers.
  7. Don´t stir – let the coffee settle at the bottom, then drink. That way you avoid getting the sediment stuck in your teeth.

Easy, huh?

Now, what about the marriage, then? Fuck off, Girl Astray, you´re pulling my nose again, I hear you thinking.

how to prepare turkish coffee
Me enjoying a very non-Turkish coffee in Bogotá, Colombia

How to avoid getting married when preparing Turkish coffee?

I am not pulling your nose – I swear I don´t lie! Well, I do lie, but not right now.

Anyway.

Coffee is an important part of the traditional proposal in Turkish culture. When a young man wishes to propose marriage to his darling girl, he and his family will go for a visit to the family of the young woman. As for all important guests, she will prepare coffee for them; some people say that depending on if the coffee is good, the potential wife material is judged – for instance, the coffee should have foam on top.

(Some evil tongues even say that the proposal won´t take place if the coffee sucks!)

What is a woman to do if she gets solemn visitors, but really doesn´t see any appeal to spend her life tied to the guy sitting on her sofa?

The solution is simple; instead of sugar, add salt.

Serving the hopeful boy salty coffee is a decent way of letting him know that life by his side would be as awful as the drink he just swallowed and change his mind before speaking.

There is even a rumor going on that one girl poisoned a young man serving him disgusting coffee, probably with rat poison. Sound like she really didn´t want to marry, don´t you think?

Do you like Turkish coffee? Know more secret tricks? Are you Turkish and want to tell me I´m wrong as hell? Share with me in the comments!

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24 Comments

  1. Absolutely loved the background of the marriage proposal! I’ve never had Turkish coffee, but I would definitely love to try it someday. Costa Rica and Colorado have made me a little bit of a coffee snob, but I’m always open to trying new things! Thanks for sharing.

    • You won´t believe it, but not yet! I´m looking for an opportunity at every corner but so far, one girl justhad a look and said it´s good :-)i hope to find out more about it in the future months though, i´m fascinated by these traditions! Btw, never tried Ethiopian coffee! I´m a die hard fan of Colombian, but also Vietnamese coffee is delicious…

  2. Hahah the marriage part of this is so fascinating. I can’t believe that coffee is so important to them that marriages are made around it! This is good information to know! I should add salt to my boyfriend’s coffee just to mess with him 😉 All this aside I LOVE Turkish coffee and am glad I have a go to guide to make it.

  3. I never really grew fond of Turkish coffee, although I’d love to say differently. As I’m a ridiculous coffee addict, I still need to necessarily have coffee though, so I ended up strolling through Istanbul for my whole stay, always looking for new places to have “regular” coffee. Successfully, that it 🙂 But no matter how often I tried, I couldn’t get myself to like the traditionally prepared coffee. But you never know, maybe I’ll try it again one day 🙂 lovely post of yours and great title, totally made me click!

  4. I really don’t like coffee (of any kind!) but I have a friend from Turkey and when she was living in NYC we would all go get Turkish coffee at a few of the Turkish restaurants. She would use that opportunity to read everyone’s fortunes from the grounds in the coffee cups and was SPOT on. I always stuck with Turkish tea (which is delicious too). She also told me about the whole proposal thing…too funny!

  5. Hahaa, I really enjoyed this post! I have heard of the Turkish Coffee story in relation to marriage! it’s a very polite way of rejecting someone. lol.

    That aside, I am not a coffee drinker however when I went to Istanbul this past winter; I was impressed. I was also impressed by the real Turkish delight rather than the off tasting one’s I have had in the U.S. (eek)

  6. Anthony Cunningham

    A friend of mine in Northern Cyprus who runs his own cafe has a way of making Turkish coffee I love ,he’s a Kurd originally from south east Turkey and bought with him a bucket of sand from his village this sits in a tray on his BBQ (that never goes out) the pot is buried into this by 3or 4inches so the heat from the hot sand envelopes it . Best coffee in the world

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