Coffee: White or black


For those of you who dread the jolt that caffeine-laden Turkish coffee inflicts, there is  white coffee. White coffee is offered at get-togethers in Lebanon and it is simply boiled water with a few drops of orange blossom water (to taste) and sugar (optional).

In Lebanon there are a few major Turkish coffee providers (offered with or without cardamom) but I found only one with decaffeinated Turkish coffee. The option is to get your favorite decaf beans and grind them into a powder.

Incidentally, I discovered a great Turkish coffee sold online and in a coffee shop in California, made from organically grown beans in Ethiopia.  The name if this coffee is black goat and when I asked the coffee shop owner about the origin of the name, here is what she said: “Here’s the story behind our “Black Goat”..  When we first did our research about the history of coffee, we found out that it all originated with an Ethiopian goat herder who noticed that his goats were especially alert and active after grazing on a type of cherry bush. Later on, he reported his findings to the local monastery where the monks began experimenting with the beans and made a drink out of it so they can stay alert for the evening prayers. That’s when we started putting some names down for consideration and “Black Goat” was the perfect one.”

The method for making Turkish coffee is simple. You need to get a special pot (called rakweh), measure the volume of water equal to the volume of your cup or cups. Bring the water to a boil (sweeten it if you like) and drop a heaping teaspoon of coffee (per cup) into the water; stir and watch carefully; the coffee will froth and try to boil over. Remove the pot from the heat as soon as it does, scrape a bit of froth and deposit into each cup; return to heat and bring it to a boil two more times, stirring the pot each time it does. Set the pot aside a few minutes to let the coffee settle to the bottom and pour into each cup.



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  1. Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    What a lovely setting for coffee! I’ve never tasted Turkish coffee but I do love my coffee in the morning. What a great brand name and so interesting to read the background on Turkish coffee.

  2. Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I love both versions!



  3. Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Never heard of white coffee before! But I love the coffee story and frankly, the stronger the better for me. I will put a pinch of cardamom in mine tomorrow… now that sounds brilliant!

  4. Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I’ll have mine medium(metrio) with just 1/2 tsp. sugar, love the presentation!

  5. Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I love white coffee when I’ve had more than enough caffeine for the day. White coffee is one of those things you discover and love about Lebanon. I share the idea of white coffee with work colleagues but somehow it just hasn’t caught on yet. I love the fact that you can find it on menus too! Leave it to the Lebanese to turn hot water into a menu item for business!!!

  6. Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Once upon a time I had Turkish coffee. I sweat the spoon stood up in it. I am a coffee-wuss – I just don’t do too much of the black stuff – even espresso (although I did in Italy).

  7. Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I am clearly commenting too early. And I guess I need more coffee… that would be “I swear” and not “I sweat.” I try to only sweat n the gym!

  8. Lucy
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Joumana , thank you for the history lesson :-D . I have heard of Turkish coffe, and fear i will not be able to stomach it. White Coffee is the perfect solution. I experimented a bit on my own and have added a bit of coconut milk to the hot water . then adding the orange blossom water. A white latte ! HA !
    Please continue inspiring me !

  9. Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    If I could only start my morning by reaching into that photo and taking away that handsome cup of fresh brewed good stuff. My Lebanese grandfather used to say the surest way to know if you are welcome is the level to which the host fills your coffee cup.

  10. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    This is perfection ;)
    I grew up on this in Detroit, with card games and old fashioned ‘doughnuts’ of course.
    Certainly the media should focus more on this type of beauty from Lebanon, men who craft, women who have an art for tradition. Shalom

  11. Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    White coffee is completely new to me. I’ve never had any type of Turkish coffee, but it certainly sounds lovely.

  12. Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Never knew there is a white type of coffee. Love your presentation.

  13. Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely way to serve and enjoy coffee!

  14. Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    La pause café c’est un vrai plaisir chaque jour renouvelé

  15. Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t know that orange blossom water was added to coffee. Or cardamom for that matter. I will begin experimenting. I just got some geranium water. Would that be nice in coffee?

  16. Joumana
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    @Sarah: I would try it, why not? In Lebanon, geranium leaves are thrown in the preparation of puddings and jams.

    @Bananawonder: Now that would be a revolutionary move!

  17. Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Being a coffee addict, I would love to try your coffee but please, with the jam tarts of your post below ;D
    I loved the story of the black goat…

  18. Posted January 23, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    now you got me curious. does anyone mix white and black coffee? i would!

  19. Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I used to wait tables at a Greek and Turkish restaurant and learned how to make Turkish coffee there … and when I lived in New York, the super’s wife had a Turkish grandmother from whom she said she learned out to read the coffee grounds to tell your future, and she liked to practice on me. I can’t remember if she got my future right or not! I have never been one to dread a jolt of caffeine, but the white coffee (which I’ve never heard of) seems like a good evening option for when I don’t want to be up all night!

  20. Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Oooo la la! I Turkish coffee. I love to drink one or two times a day. I have after meals. W also make ” sütlü kahve” coffee with milk We serve both with a small Turkish delight for morning visitors at home .
    I haven’t heart white coffee before, interesting. I’ll try, taste.
    One thing I’d like to write down. When we make coffee, we use cold water, add a teaspoon of coffee for each one, then boil at a low heat. Afiyet olsun.
    The story about Black coat is also very nice.
    Thank you for sharing Turkish coffee and White one…

  21. Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    I would go for the black!

  22. Joumana
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    @Sare: That’s the method my mother would insist upon! She claimed that the coffee should boil slowly with the water; however I have seen so many people here boil the water first, then make the coffee; probably to save time!
    @Sare: Thanks so much for shedding light on the best way to prepare this ritualistic beverage!

  23. Posted January 24, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Dear Joumana, we believe cold water and slow boiling bring more froth and also coffee with more froth is a master work:))

  24. Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I never heard of white coffee! I love Turkish coffee in Middle-Eastern restaurants. I’m tried making it myself, but it was never quite the same.

  25. Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Quand je lis ta recette, je regrette de ne pas boire de café.
    A très bientôt

  26. Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this peak into coffee culture. The white version sounds delicious. Love that photo as well.

  27. Posted January 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    White coffee please. I have a Turkish set of pots and tiny cups in copper holders….so gorgeous and decorative. I need to get them out of the sideboard and drink some coffee!

  28. Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Had never ever heard of white coffee. Like the tale of the goats.

  29. Posted January 27, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I love the whole concept of white coffee, and my step-daughter could live on the stuff! I’ve had it with both rose and orange water and love them both.

  30. Posted October 29, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across
    this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out much.

    I hope to present one thing back and help others like you helped me.

  31. Posted December 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Very inviting setting. It is in the details that make the morning coffee all the more savory and delicious. I hope you do not mind but I pinned it to my pinerest account under the one of my boards called “Living a Poetic Life”

    Love your Hummus video…

  32. Joumana
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    @Joanny: Thanks! I went through your pin page and found myself daydreaming away!..

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