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Friday, February 18, 2011

Café à la Turque with Music

After writing my post on coffee, I finally decided to take the time to make some ... and blog about it. A key to Turkish coffee is time. Even though the demitasse cups are small, the coffee must be sipped slowly: partly to enjoy life and partly to let the grounds settle and not get in your teeth.

In order to get into the coffee making mood, I recommend some background music. Apropos are Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo A La Turk
and of course, Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca, played by Alicia de Larrocha
Then there is the coffee ... it must be very finely ground, almost powdery.

illy Caffe Scuro Fine Grind Coffee (Dark Roast, Black Band), 8.8-Ounce Tins (Pack of 2)

I have an almost antique can of Sultan coffee that I keep in the freezer.  I also keep some illy espresso coffee for more frequent use.  Both work well.

Next, which cezve (i.e., coffee pot) to use?  It depends on how much coffee I will be serving ... I have four pots holding from 4 to 10 cups, meaning demitasse cups.  When the coffee is ready, it must be served immediately ... no standing around for later or reheating.

A copper hand coffee grinder and various "cezve"
Once I've got the music playing and have selected the coffee, the pot and the demitasse, here is how I make the brew ... of course there are variations.

Method I

Water:  Fill the coffee pot by measuring cold water into the demitasse cup. Say, for 3 cups of coffee fill the pot with 3 demitasse cups of cold water. The pot should not be more than 2/3 full.

Sugar:  Add sugar to the water in the pot. How much?  It depends. I don't use it at all; but others like some sweetness. An easy approach is to use 1 sugar cube per cup, then next time adjust up or down per your preference. Even though I have seen it done, I do not like to add sugar afterward into the cup because it stirs up the grounds.

Coffee: One teaspoon per cup. Depending on the strength preferred, it can be a flat, rounded or heaping teaspoon.

Waiting for the pot to boil
Brewing:  Bring the water and sugar in the pot to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the coffee and stir. Put the pot back on the heat. As the mixture comes back to a boil, the coffee will rise to the top. Just as the coffee reaches the top of the pot, remove the pot from the heat, at which point the mixture will sink back down. Then, bring it up to a boil a second time and remove from the heat.  Bring it up to a boil and remove once more for a total of three times.  At this point the coffee is done and there is a foam covering the surface of the liquid.  Sprinkle a few drops of very cold water on the foam ... this helps the grounds to settle.  Pour carefully into the demitasse cups making sure there is a bit of foam in each one.

A quick photo before the coffee boils over
Method II

All the proportions of water, sugar and coffee are the same as in Method I.  But, this time, put the coffee and sugar into the pot first and heat them together.  Once the coffee warms it gives off a lovely aroma at which point you pour in all the water and bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat three times before serving.

Ah, nothing is as good as a cup of coffee, except another one with friends.

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