Turkish coffee is known by several names, and uses slight variants in how the vessel is designed. But don't say that to a connoisseur who might hotly debate the varieties. Also up for debate is how many times the coffee should foam, or "boil" as it's sometimes called.
You need a special pot to make the coffee: kanaka, cezve, dzezva, xhezve, briki, or ibrik. You also need some way to grind very fine. You don't need special coffee. Any will do. Really!
Use 7-8.5 grams of coffee per 2-3 oz of water.
14g coffee ground to a fine powder (This will be on the weak side.)
1 cardamom pod (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
6 oz water
If you're sharp, you'll note the scale reads 21 grams of coffee and there's 8 oz of water. This is an 8oz pot, but I decided to use 6 oz of water today, so I used less of the coffee. You have to be on the spot making Turkish coffee. I needed the extra headroom to snap pictures while the foam was forming and still get back in time to prevent it overflowing.
Mise en place
You want a very fine powder like powdered sugar or talcum powder. While you can make a tasty Turkish coffee with heavier grinds, you'll end up swallowing them. A fine powder will form a sludge that sticks together at the bottom of the cup instead of getting stirred up by gravity as you tilt the cup to sip. While a burr grinder might have trouble making fine enough powder for Turkish coffee, a whirly bird mill can actually do a proper job if you let it grind away long enough. Of course, a hand mill capable of grinding for Turkish is the best option, since it won't heat the beans while grinding.
The left side is the finest my Baratza Virtuoso can produce (Without the espresso adjustment). I formed that one clump myself by pressing the coffee between my fingers. You don't want this.
The right side is after 150 turns on my modern Zassenhaus hand mill from the Havannah Collection. Note how the coffee clumps all by itself.
Turkish coffee is often flavored with cardamom.
We only want to use the seeds. Remove the skin from the pod by prodding and squeezing
Grind the cardamom seeds fine with a mortar and pestle, a rolling pin or can, or crush them with a flat heavy pan.
Add the cold water, cardamom, and sugar to the pot and heat it slowly while stirring. Don't stir once the water gets hot. Stop before the coffee starts to foam, and don't even think of stirring it again, either in the pot or in the cup because you'll deflate that precious foam. Make sure to heat the brew slowly. The slower, the better. You need to use the right amount of water--fill it to the neck so that the foam forms above thinnest part of the pot.
Note that I purposely set it lower than it could be in order to have time to take pictures. It's fine as is, since the level is above the thinnest part of the pot, but you really want to keep it closer to the top and pour off small amounts of thick foam without tipping the pot over too much. You should be pouring it off fairly quickly, so the pot never really boils.
After heating the brew for a while, a foam will form on top. As a foam forms, pour off an equal portion of foam into each of the cups.
Mmm... Delicious foam. The equivalent of espresso's crema. You want to try to foam the coffee several times and fill most of the cup from the foam.
After two foams (and pouring too much off each time) the pot was pretty much spent. I usually get three. This depends on your timing, how fast you heat, the care you take in pouring, your caffeine karma, and some things known only to a group of monks hiding away on the far side of Mt Ararat.
There's a tiny bit forming, but too little to pour off from way down in the pot.
The real trick is knowing when to stop. At some point, it just won't foam anymore without heating it close to burning. I let the foam form too high and too long, and only ended up with two foams.
This was not my best attempt. The coffee's rich and thick, but there's no cream, and there should be.
You do want to let the coffee rest for a while to let the grounds settle to the bottom. You also want to drink it immediately and sip the cream. That's a balancing act. Part of the skill in making Turkish coffee is being able to make it so it's drinkable while it's still hot. It'll never be a clean cup of coffee, but there's no reason to ever swallow a mouthful of grounds.
Here you can see how the grounds form a neat sludge at the bottom of the cup and stay there.
From the side.
Turkish coffee is the richest thing this side of espresso, and even has its own version of crema. It isn't hard to make, but it does require you to be alert and move at just the right time. Snapping pictures while the foam races towards the top doesn't exactly make the best cup of coffee. Next time, I'll make Turkish coffee for two.