How to Make Turkish Coffee

How to Make Turkish Coffee ~ the perfect cup of coffee might not be from Starbucks after all ~ this sensuous brew is full-bodied, fragrant, and utterly delicious.

How to Make Turkish Coffee ~ the perfect cup of coffee might not be from Starbucks after all ~ this sensuous Middle Eastern cardamom laced coffee is full-bodied, fragrant, and utterly delicious.

Brewing Turkish Coffee

My youngest daughter is spending her summer in the Middle East on a fellowship from college. I haven’t mentioned it before because, to be honest, it’s had me on edge having her so far away and in such an unstable part of the world. She is young, inexperienced, and alone, as her fellowship allowed her to experience the culture outside the confines of a formal program, like a University. So she has rented an apartment, is eating street food, mingling with the locals, and having a generally life-altering experience.

I, on the other hand, am having a wee bit of trouble sleeping at night knowing that, with the 10 hour time difference, she is just starting her day on the other side of the globe as my head hits the pillow. It’s no wonder my nightly wine and my morning coffee are so important to me these days. She’s due back a week from Wednesday.

Brewing Turkish Coffee on the stove

One of the many wonderful things she’s discovered this summer is Turkish coffee. Did you know that coffee is an Arabic invention? It dates all the way back to the 13th century when the beans were discovered in Ethiopia. Turkish coffee is a method, not a type of bean. It is basically very very finely ground coffee, stirred right into the water, boiled briefly, and then served in very small cups, only 2-3 oz at a time. Sometimes it’s spiced with cardamom, which is the way I like it. In the Middle East it’s considered impolite to decline an offer of coffee, so my non-coffee drinking daughter quickly took to it.

A Turkish coffee pot for brewing Turkish Coffee

You don’t have to have any special equipment, you can use a small saucepan, but I found this inexpensive Turkish Ibrik, or long handled copper pot, at Cost Plus World Market. You can buy them lots of places Online, too. Any strong coffee bean will work, but it has to be very finely ground. The coffee grinder at Cost Plus actually had a Turkish Coffee setting, which is even finer than Espresso, or, as the card that came with my Ibrik says, ‘fine as dust’. This is important because the very fine grind allows the coffee to partially dissolve in the water, making a very potent taste. So grind your beans on the finest setting possible.

Starbucks has grinders equipped with a Turkish setting, so they can grind it for you. If you get excited by this kind of coffee you can buy beautiful brass Turkish coffee grinders, which cost about $50-$100.

Turkish Coffee in vintage coffee cups
I’m sharing a very basic version of the coffee, there are many variations and subtleties, but this is a good way to get introduced to the unique experience of this drink. The technique goes like this—for 2 (3 ounce) cups of coffee take 6 ounces of water and put it in the pot. Bring the water up to a boil, then take it off the heat and stir in the coffee, sugar, and cardamom. Put the pot back on the heat and let it boil again. When foam rises up in the pan, take it off the heat and let the foam settle. Let the coffee settle in the pan for about a minute, then pour the rich coffee into two small cups.

Reading the grounds left in a cup of Turkish Coffee
Arabic coffee is a very luxurious experience, it’s fragrant and rich. It is distinguished by a fine sludge left in the cup after drinking. The popular custom, which goes back to ancient times, is to have your fortune told by the patterns left behind in your cup. It’s called Tasseographyand it’s done with tea leaves, too.

I’m pretty sure mines says that my daughter will get home safe and sound next week, a profoundly changed and broader person. I think it also says that I’ll soon be sleeping a whole lot better

Vintage cups with Turkish Coffee

I actually found my Grandmother’s Sterling silver Lenox Turkish Coffee set  ~ I never knew what it was for until now, what fun! I guess there’s more to serious coffee than Starbucks 🙂

For more Turkish coffee inspired recipes, try my buttery Turkish Coffee Shortbread Cookies, and my Turkish Coffee Popsicles.

3.59 from 12 votes

How to Make Turkish Coffee

How to Make Turkish Coffee ~ the perfect cup of coffee might not be from Starbucks after all ~ this sensuous Middle Eastern cardamom laced coffee is full-bodied, fragrant, and utterly delicious.
Course beverage
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 6 ounces filtered water
  • 4 tsp very finely ground coffee
  • pinch freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp sugar optional


  • Pour the water into a small pot. Bring the water to a boil, then take off the heat and stir in the coffee, cardamom, and sugar, if using. Bring the coffee up to a boil again, take off the heat, and let settle.
  • Pour into two small cups. Let the grounds settle, and then enjoy.

Cook's notes

  •  Turkish coffee is not a type of coffee, you can use any variety you like.  The key is to grind it extra finely.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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  • Reply
    March 27, 2018 at 6:19 am

    What drew me to your page was the cups on Google images. They look fantastic and have been looking for them everywhere on the net. Any suggestions where I might find them as my husband fell in love with them when he saw them.

    • Reply
      March 27, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Hi Jan! I’m so glad you found your way here. Those cups were my grandmothers, so sorry I can’t help you there. I would try Ebay for something similar.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2014 at 8:15 am

    As a coffee addict, and mother of three daughters, one of whom I sent away from home for collage, I get “help to sleep, help to wake” routine. I’ve seen this lot at World Market many times and wondered what it was for. I will definitely be trying this. Thanks!

    • Reply
      January 4, 2014 at 8:20 am

      One of my college bound daughters took my pot with her to campus— I have to find another one, good to know they have them at Cost Plus. I really like the flavor combination of coffee and cardamom and I’ve used it many times in things like blondies, tuuffles, etc. Thanks for visiting Kara!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Where I am from in Iowa there was a large Croatian population. My niece’s grandmother is Croatian and this is how she makes her coffee. It really is one of the best ways to make a get-ya-going cup o’ joe.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    as obsessed as i am with coffee, i’m surprised i’m unfamiliar with all this! HOW COOL to read your fortune from the dregs in the cup!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Us Arabs make coffee in a very similar way. Maybe I’m biased but i think this method makes coffee that is so, so, so much more tastier than you get in a French press or dripper.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    My husband (being Turkish Cypriot) must have his coffee after dinner every evening, as he has a sweet tooth his turkish coffee is always the sweetest version i.e. two teaspoons of sugar. Love your coffee pot.

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    July 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Hi there! found your blog when looking for something ? and can’t wait to make the southern tomato pie. I remember having coffee similar to this when I was spending time with a Persian family, and yes, they always read the sludge left in the cup. I understand what it is like to have a child so far away…plus in an unstable part of the world. Wishing her safe travels and a good nights sleep for you.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    July 24, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Scott and I spent a few weeks in Turkey several years ago on a mission trip and you are totally correct, the coffee is fantastic, thanks for this wonderful reminder and inspiration to be able to re-produce it here! I’m sure just a sip of this delicious coffee makes you feel just a bit closer to your daughter. Having had our daughter spend a year in Germany at 17 ears old helps me to understand your state of mind. It will definitely make her a better person and it will be a huge influence for her future. thanks, Sue, so enjoyed reading this post!

  • Reply
    A Trifle Rushed
    July 24, 2012 at 5:39 am

    What a great post, I have a friend who makes Turkish coffee, but am now thinking I must have a go. It’s 7.30am here and I’m sipping my first Breton coffee of the day.
    I’m sure your daughter is having a wonderful life enhancing experience, but I do understand your anxiety, my elder son is back for a further three months to Afghanistan today, and I know that the last two weeks of peaceful sleep will evaporate.
    My nephew’s wife went to Trinity and Dublin is a beautiful and exciting city, so your younger daughter should have a great time, if you do go to visit you should tag a few days in England on. If you get to London do get in touch.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    July 24, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I’ve never tried this but would in a heartbeat! What a wonderful adventure your daughter is having. That must be hard for you – I know it would be for me! Hang in there and add one extra glass of wine before bed – blogger orders!

  • Reply
    Ellen B Cookery
    July 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Greeks and Macedonians also drink this coffee and it’s so good! Great post!

  • Reply
    Sulpicia (III)
    July 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I had it made this way once at a Turkish restaurant but I didn’t like it because it seemed to have some kind of sweetener in it (I really dislike sweetened coffee). Maybe they thought Americans wouldn’t like it without the sweetener, I don’t know. I’d love to try some plain.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      I think it’s common with or without sugar. Also with or without milk or cream. I agree, black and no sugar is the way to go.

  • Reply
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
    July 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I used to have a Turkish pot like you’ve shown and a grinder, but it got lost somewhere along the way. I do remember it made fabulous coffee. I’m with you – coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      You know I think I used to have the grinder, too, and little Turkish cups, I think they were popular during my college and post college years, and I must have lost them somewhere along the way, too.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I love Turkish coffee, when I was in Israel and Egypt, I drank so much of it, it is just delicious.

    • Reply
      July 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Oh and over there, it’s full of lovely sugar too!

      What an experience your daughter will be having, I was 21 when i went over on my own, it was pretty nervewracking at times but luckily I made new chums quickly.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      It’s the on her own thing that’s the most difficult to bear, glad to know you did it and came through unscathed!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I love that first photo Sue. I’m sure your daughter is having an amazing time. She’s so fortunate to have an experience like that, although I’m sure you are quite sleep deprived. I’m guessing this is where the coffee comes in 😉 I had this coffee in Turkey…strong, rich, and something I’m glad I tried. Love that pattern.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I was so thrilled that the random design left by the coffee was so pretty, I love the swirls, it almost looks like a henna tattoo pattern!

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    July 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I loved this post! What a great experience for your daughter. No doubt it will be life changing! I wish I had lived abroad while I was in college. I’m sure she will always carry that experience with her.

    I can totally related to your coffee/wine addiction. My day, too, must be book-ended both those two liquids. I’m rather inflexible about it!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      And think about it, they still haven’t been able to pin any healthy problems on coffee or (moderate) wine drinking, yahoo!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, Sue. I’ll join you in praying for your daughter’s safe return very soon. I’m certain that she is enjoying an absolutely wonderful and potentially life changing experience.

    I very recently started drinking cafe con leche, basically a Spanish version of espresso with plenty of frothed milk (and in my case sugar too!) My brother in law introduced me to it after their trip to Spain and I fell in love with this drink! The very same day I returned home, I ordered a stove-top espresso pot and a frother for the milk. I LOVE IT. I look forward to my morning cup every day now.

    P.S. All of this from a girl who has hated coffee every day of her life until now and who even gave up caffeine and sodas for the past few years as well. Scary, right? Thank God for decaf, because I am so hooked now, I even make a decaf cup at night occasionally.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks for your good thoughts, it does feel scary to be so physically separated from a daughter, even though she’s 20, I’m not quite ready to cut the cord. What kind of frother do you use, I’ve been considering switching to a latte or cappuccino in the morning to get some calcium, since I don’t drink much milk these days. The Spanish version sounds lovely, any special coffee beans needed?

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      I buy Lavazza espresso (you can buy it ground or in whole beans). Being the person I am, I read a ton of reviews and based my purchase on that. I am very happy with the flavor. It is rich without being bitter. (Not that I’m any kind of coffee expert! ha)

      I use an Aerolatte Milk Frother (because I’m super lazy and it works fantastically), my brother in law uses a stovetop pot with a frothing insert that works if you are him and not if you are me!

      The spanish version really is fantastic, Sue. I add the sugar first, just a splash of espresso, stir well to combine, add the rest of the espresso and then the milk and foam. I think mine is about half milk to espresso. Oh great, now I’ve rambled enough that I need to make myself an afternoon cup! Have a great afternoon!

  • Reply
    Thyme (Sarah)
    July 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Oh, I enjoyed everything about this. If you had mentioned where you daughter is sooner, I would have urgently suggested that the 2 of us fly over there to ‘protect’ her. This summer, I have given up drinking coffee with sugar in it. I pour in a dollop of cream but no sugar…I can’t believe I’ve adjusted so well to it. I love trying different coffees and have recently fallen in love with Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Lots!! of sugar in there)

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Oh that Vietnamese iced stuff is soooo good. I did the same thing giving up cream in my coffee, I just kept putting in less and less and over time I didn’t want it anymore. Now the thought of cream in my coffee sounds terrible.
      Thanks for the offer of Mom solidarity, I may yet take you up on it!

  • Reply
    Katherine @ eggton
    July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I love this post. I lived abroad for three years after college, and I know my mother felt this way sometimes. But oh my goodness–it’s amazing the beauty I was exposed to, and the self-confidence I built, in a foreign place. I am so excited for your daughter. And the fact that you write so kindly and thoughtfully about her experience and yours while she’s away is very endearing indeed.

    Coffee is just the perfect thing to write about in connection with this, too. So much thinking and watching and daydreaming gets done over coffee in this world!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks Katherine, I never did go abroad when I was in college, and I guess I missed a great opportunity. But three years! I bet that was difficult for your mom. Next year my daughter wants to take her junior spring at Trinity College in Dublin, so I’ll have to go through this all over again, but I’m hoping that instead of moping from here my husband and I will go visit her.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Although I am not a believer in tea leaves or coffee grounds reading… sure looks like a tree of LIFE! 😉
    If your daughter gets back and wants to forego the coffee but not the flavor have her check out
    This ice cream is Delicious! Like your site it is a great blog as well.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      July 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      A tree of life—hat’s just what it looks like! I’ll check out the link to the ice cream, I think I may have seen that, and of course I’m already planning to make something else with the coffee/cardamom flavors, they’re so great together.

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson Ditch
    July 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I adore coffee, but I’ve never had it made this way. I’ll have to give it a try. And now I’m sending good thoughts for your daughter’s safe return.

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