How to make Turkish Coffee: A Step by Step Guide

Us Egyptians take our Turkish coffee very seriously... It has to be prepared perfectly: the sugar has to be just right, it can't be too thick or too watery, and it has to have a "wesh" or "face" to it, meaning that when prepared correctly it should have a thin, lighter colored foamy layer on top.  If someone presents you coffee without this wesh then it means something went wrong in the process - it will probably taste just fine but like I said, we don't joke around when it comes to this Egyptian (or Turkish) beverage of choice.

Egyptians don't usually drink this coffee as an early morning caffeine boost (although let me tell you this coffee is strong and can serve this purpose if you wish) but we drink it later in the day to unwind.  This is not a starbucks-style "to go" kind of drink,  rather it is served in tiny cups and ever sip is to be savored and enjoyed.

Not only does this taste fantastic but you will love the way it makes your entire house smell - this coffee has a distinct and beautiful aroma.

My father taught me how to make the perfect Turkish coffee, and I am going to share the method with you.

To make one cup of Turkish coffee you will need a kanaka, or a turkish coffee pot and a small Turkish coffee cup like these (its hard to tell in the picture, but this cup is quite tiny and is actually usually smaller than this):

You will likely find that the pot is too small to sit properly on your stovetop, so you will need a stand like this one to balance it.

Fill one Turkish coffee cup with cold water and pour into the kanaka. 

Add one teaspoon of sugar and one heaping teaspoon of Turkish coffee to the water. Do not stir this mixture (and do not drop the coffee on the stovetop like I did)

Turn the stove on to a very low flame and let the coffee cook... This will take a while due to the low heat but keep an eye on it because as soon as the coffee begins to bubble and rise (it will literally creep up the pot) you have to turn the heat off.

Immediately after the coffee bubbles and rises (don't let it boil for too long) carefully pour the coffee into the cup.  You have to be careful as if you are sloppy about this you will disturb the coffee's wesh.

Now you may think that this is an awful amount of work for just one tiny cup of coffee, but once you try this I trust that you will agree that it's worth all the trouble.

Serves One - to make more than one cup of coffee just measure the amount of water needed in the same way (i.e. for two servings, measure two cups of water and double the amount of coffee and sugar)

November 4, 2009 - posted a small update to this post - check it out

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  1. Thank you for this step by step guide!!! Lovely pictures!!


  2. I'm not usually much of a coffee drinker, but I've been craving it lately. Wish I could have a cup of Turkish coffee right now.

  3. I'm a coffeeholic! I'd surely try this! Nice step by step pictures! It's attractive and making me crave for that cup right now!

  4. wonderful step-by-step guide! i can't wait to try a cup!

  5. oh I love turkish coffee your blog is wonderful Rebecca

  6. I love coffee & I just thought it's such an interesting way to make coffee. I bet the aroma is so good. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Good on you, Nirvana, the step by step approach works well as it is authentic. Not sure about calling it Turkish coffee. Just got back from Istanbul and tried it out there but it wasn't as good as that served in Egypt. What's wrong with calling it Egyptian coffee? Off course it is neither of these as it mostly originates from Kenya and the Yemen. Amr Afifi

  8. Turkish, Arabic, Egyptian, African -- whatever you call it, it tastes AMAZING! The pictures look lovelier than ever, by the way, Nirvana.

  9. Hi Nirvana,
    Great step-by-step guide. Loving it!


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