Coffee Methods: The Turkish Ibrik

The Turkish ibrik is less commonly used for making coffee than the previously discussed drip, Chemex, and French press methods. And that's a shame, because Turkish coffee is a rich and intense pleasure for coffee-drinkers. It all starts with a beautiful copper pot...

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The one pictured at the top of the page is very traditional. The brass ibrik immediately above and to the right is also very traditional; the narrow neck at the top is key to making good Turkish coffee. You will also see more modern pots like the copper versions pictured directly above. They're sometimes marketed as milk warmers, and we love their shape for all sorts of kitchen uses.

Their original use, however, is one of the oldest methods of making coffee. These little pots were used in the hot desert sands in Arab and Turkish cultures where they have been making coffee for hundreds of years, long before it became popular in the West.

The process is relatively simple. Water (and sometimes sugar too) are boiled in the small pot. Very finely ground coffee is added. As the water slowly simmers the coffee foams up on top, inside the ibrik's narrow neck. The foam is stirred in and reheated until it comes up again. This is repeated several times. Then the pot is removed from the heat and the coffee grounds settle. It usually takes at least seven minutes to brew; this is a slow, deliberate method of making coffee.

The resulting coffee is thick and intense, with even more sediment and "chewiness" than a cup of French press coffee. It is usually drunk in small amounts - demitasse or espresso cups are the favored way to serve it.

Turkish coffee is often sweetened and spiced, too - sugar and ground cardamom or cinnamon are added to the pot with the coffee.

You can see very complete pictorial instructions for making Turkish coffee with an ibrik at Coffee Geek.

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