Turkish Coffee Grinder
(A Turkish Proverb)
Turkish coffee is an unusual concoction in the world of coffees. Rather than being pressed through a filter, the grounds are sprinkled on top of a pot (traditionally an ibrik) of cold water and sugar before heating. Done properly, the grounds should coat the surface of the water and create a layer of foam during the brewing process.
Why is the grinder important
In order to effectively coat the surface of the water and create this foam, though, the coffee must first be ground to a fine powder. Blade grinders are not adequate to this task. Some of the better burr grinders, such as the Rancilio Rocky, will grind finely enough for Turkish coffee at their finest setting. If you wish to enjoy Turkish coffee frequently, however, a Turkish coffee grinder, or degirmen, may be your best bet.
What is a Turkish coffee grinder
These coffee grinders are smaller than most other types of coffee grinders. They are similar in appearance to pepper mills - in fact, in some restaurants they are used as pepper mills, both because their fine, consistent grind suits pepper well and also because traditional Turkish coffee grinders have an attractive scrolled metal exterior. These grinders are small for a good reason - traditionally all Turkish coffee instruments were designed to be easily carried in saddlebags by nomads.
There are two main compartments inside a Turkish coffee grinder. The lower compartment holds the ground coffee, while the upper compartment contains the grinding burrs. A small screw on the outside of the top compartment controls the fineness of the grind, which is the consistency of cornmeal at the coarsest setting, and similar to cake flour at the finest.
Selecting a good grinder
Although one might assume that the best Turkish coffee grinders come from Turkey, this is no longer the case. Like a wide range of precision mechanical devices, the most reliable and long-lasting Turkish coffee grinders today are manufactured in Germany. The Zassenhaus brand is a particularly well constructed and reliable grinder. Most Zassenhaus grinders come with a ten year warranty and feature a solid brass crank, knob and body.
How to make Turkish coffeeYou will need:
- 3 ounces of cold water
- A level teaspoon of sugar (adjust this to taste)
- One heaping teaspoon of Turkish coffee grounds, preferably a light roast
- Blend the sugar and water in an ibrik and sprinkle the grounds on top so that they completely cover the surface of the water.
- Slowly bring it just to the boiling point over low-med heat (or, if you want to be incredibly authentic, by partially burying the pot in hot sand!).
- Keep a close eye on it - as soon as the coffee begins to foam, take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute.
- Return it to the heat and repeat the process 2 - 3 times.
- Slowly pour the brewed coffee into a small cup and enjoy.