Turkish coffee

August 14, 2010  •  Category: ,


I have a 17-year old daughter who was born and raised in the US;  she does not like to cook, and can hardly be found in the kitchen, except to heat up some frozen boxes of food.

All of this changed when she and Tony, a Lebanese young man she met in childhood, became an item: now she is offering to make me Turkish coffee, telling me (when I expressed astonishment) that Tonytaught her how to make it.

Such is the importance of Turkish coffee for Lebanese folks. Sure, we love espresso and instant coffee, but Turkish coffee is a tradition that is here to stay.

Making Turkish coffee is more involved than pressing a button and waiting 6 seconds to drink a dark brew. That is why, in my mind, it is ten times more enjoyable. It is stronger, true, but the aroma is more potent: the whiff of coffee  fills up your nostrils making you feel content: here, a few minutes  of guaranteed happiness and relaxation.


  • 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee per cup
  • sugar to taste or none
  • one cup of water per cup


There is a ritual associated with Turkish coffee: First of all, if you are offered a cup, the next question that needs to be addressed is: “How do you want it? sweet, semi-sweet or bitter?”

If you like your coffee sweet, then you can include a small teaspoon of sugar while heating the water; if there are several people getting coffee, then it is easier to prepare it bitter and serve sugar on the side.

  1. Measure one or more cups of water by filling up a Turkish coffee cup or a demi-tasse (espresso) cup with water almost to the rim. Pour into the Turkish coffee pot rakweh.
  2. If adding some sugar, now is the time to do so, stirring a bit to dissolve the sugar for a few seconds; now add a heaping teaspoon of coffee per cup to the pot and let it slowly dissolve and boil.
  3. As soon as the coffee boils and fills up the pot to the rim, remove from the heat, stir and place back on the stovetop. Heat some more and let it boil again. Remove from the heat and place it back on the stovetop. The third time that it boils, remove from the heat and set it on a flat surface for a few seconds to settle.
  4. Pour into the cups and serve.


Some people like to remove some of the froth at the first boil and place  a half teaspoon of it in each cup; I do it sometimes, but it is not necessary.

A rakweh or Turkish coffee pot and the cups for it (usually similar to espresso cups) can be found in all middle-eastern grocers, along with the small teaspoons used to stir the coffee. The coffee itself is found in bags, usually in two main flavors: plain or with cardamom. In Lebanon, there are just three or four  Turkish coffee purveyors, and  households usually remain  fiercely loyal to one over another; you can make your own, grinding the beans to a powdery texture on the Turkish coffee grind setting and using the coffee of your choice; arabica beans are best and my personal favorite.


35 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    One of my favorite kinds of coffee! I only drink Turkish coffee now (my brands come from Lebanon, Turkey and the Balkans).



  2. GK says:

    What is so Turkish about the coffe that you describe?

  3. Alice Accad says:

    Aw, common’ Mommy… I like to cook– it’s just hard to live up to your cooking!

  4. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this. I think I might even try making it like this tomorrow.

  5. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    I love Turkish coffee but have never made it. Thank you for the instructions. I will have to definitely buy a coffee grinder so I can make it from fresh beans.

  6. Gloria says:

    I love turkish coffe! Is the best!! Today we eat falafel! I remember yours! xgloria

  7. Devaki says:

    THANK YOU! Dear Joumana – I will definitely make this exactly the way you’ve shown. Everything to make well, has a technique so I am grateful you’ve shown us how to make a good cuppa of turkish coffee

    BTW, that pot on the stove is divine!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Stella says:

    Hey Joumana, I love this kind of coffee too. It’s so wonderful and addictive! Sweet that your daughter makes this for you now. I’m sure she’ll be cooking and making all kinds of wonderful things very soon (smile)…

  9. Food Jihadist says:

    Ha! Well, I would love to have someone to make me Turkish coffee. Just reading about it brings the smell to my nostrils. As always, I admire and look-up to your writing, wit, and recipes.

  10. melrose says:

    GK 🙂 turkish is the way of preparing.
    I love it as well, but with a ceran plates it is just not it (I have no gas). How do you call those little cups (it is FILDZAN at Serbo-Croatian/Turzismus)?

  11. skip to malou says:

    would love to have turkish coffee, it intrigues me and with regards to your daughter, making coffee is start and could spark an interest in the kitchen…


  12. Angie's Recipes says:

    I didn’t like to cook at all when I was still staying with my mom. 🙂 I had all the excuses not to cook…
    Not really a coffee drinker…or put it this way…I am the one who is so afraid of being addictive to coffee.

  13. Erica says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog………..I love Turkish coffee, there has never been a day go by without us having a cup or two. I never had a cup till I married a Turk 25 years ago. Thanks for posting your recipe. I like your blog…..Have a great day!!!!!

  14. Grapefruit says:

    Hmm . . Turkish Coffee 🙂
    And the story about your daughter brought a smile to my face. I didn’t cook much (read: anything) until I got engaged & then went on to perplex and amaze my family with the amount of cooking and baking I did for my then future-husband. Lol . . just sit back and watch your daughter blossom into an awesome cook like you!

  15. Christine @ Fresh says:

    I adore the strength and robust style of turkish coffee, but never knew how to make it. I will have to find a way to try this technique.

  16. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

    I have a Turkish coffee pot that was a gift from some Bulgarian friends – when I visited Bulgaria I flipped for the coffee. But I have never actually known how to make coffee in it! So this is fantastic – I can’t wait to try it out. Any tips on what kind of coffee to buy?

  17. Natalie says:

    I am sorry but I really can not stand Turkish coffee. Give me Nescafe any day!

    Nor am I able to drink the apple tea that they serve in shops etc. The only Turkish drink that i do like is, Ayran. A mixture of yogurt, salt and water. best thing for a poorly tummy.

  18. Jamie says:

    Ah, there’s nothing like love to get the kids cooking. Wonderful! Waiting for my son to find the girl who will get him cooking too.

  19. Soma says:

    I never give this a miss when i visit a Turkish Restaurant. I have it medium as it is very strong. In one place the lady would make it right in front of us,e very elegantly while stirring with a dainty spoon. loved watching her.:-)

  20. A Canadian Foodie says:

    Vanja’s family makes it the same way. I really do not care for it, at all. There is something aromatic about the coffee that most find appealing, but to me, it is not. But, you are right. It is definitely a tradition that is here to stay.

  21. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    I am quite addicted to making coffee this way now. Made this way, the coffee doesn’t upset my stomach either. Problem is…it’s like amphetamines and keeps me awake until the wee hours of the morning. lol

  22. Maninas says:

    In Croatia, we also make Turkish coffee at home. I love it.

  23. Zahraa says:


    Love your blog!!!
    Thanks so much for these delicious recipes love to know the stories that accompany the recipe so original and authentic!!!
    I started drinking and making Turkish coffee when I visited the middle east and wherever you go they offer you it.

    Thanks again and wish great health and happiness for the new year 2011!

  24. GigiMac says:

    Just tried Turkish coffee for first time at a local restaurant. So good! I have found a new favorite! Thanks for sharing this.

  25. Hassan says:

    As-salamu alaykum.

    I have one pack of lebanese coffee, brand is “maatouk”. Is it ok? Can I use any well grinded coffee for making turkish/lebanese coffee?

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  28. FARAH says:

    It is really good


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  31. Nami says:

    Which is the best coffee grinder machine that can grind coffee beans to make Lebanese coffee powder?

    • Joumana Accad says:

      @Nami You would have to find one that has a “turkish coffee” tab. I only know the Najjar brand from Lebanon (they only make machines that give you read-made coffee using capsules) but there may be others in Turkey, and Romania and Bulgaria and other countries where Turkish-style coffee is common

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