Turkish Coffee

Qahwa (kah-wa)


Preparation info

  • 4

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh And Healthy Mediterranean Favorites

Classic Lebanese Cuisine

By Kamal Al-Faqih

Published 2009

  • About

Years ago, my cousin taught me the fine art of preparing the perfect cup of Turkish coffee. “One crucial note,” she said: “Never take your eye off the pot; it can foam over in a flash!” Once the coffee has been poured into the individual cups, the grounds settle to the bottom, and you only drink the thinner liquid on top. Turkish coffee is delicious after meals and traditionally offered to all visiting guests. You will find many ways to enjoy this deeply rich and aromatic beverage.


Specialty Ingredients

  • Fine-powder (finely ground) Turkish coffee, found at specialty markets or online.


    To Prepare the Coffee

    Make certain the ibrik is large enough to allow the coffee to foam up. Combine the water and sugar in the ibrik and mix well. Add the coffee (it will be floating on the top), and do not stir it at this point.

    Place the coffee pot over medium-high heat. The coffee will appear to “melt” into the water. After a few minutes, small bubbles will form around the edges. Keep a close eye; the coffee will suddenly begin to foam up. Let the coffee foam up to the top, but not over the edge of the ibrik.

    Remove the pot from the heat and gently swirl it around several times. Use a demitasse spoon to scoop a bit of the light brown surface foam off the top, and drop a bit into each cup. Return the ibrik to the heat to foam up again (beware: it will foam up faster each time). Remove it from the heat, then return it to the heat for a third and final foaming. Take from the heat and let the coffee pot stand for about half a minute to allow the grinds to settle before pouring.

    Line the coffee cups in a row. Fill the cups by pouring a small amount into each cup, then go back and add a bit more, and then pour again until each cup is full. The very bottom of the wide base of the ibrik will contain the coffee-ground sediment. You can discard this.

    My recommendation is not to prepare more than 6 cups at a time. Each time you prepare Turkish coffee, you will perfect the coffee–sugar–water ratio to suit your individual taste.

    Reading Your Cup

    When your cup is empty and all that remains is a bit of coffee and the grounds at the bottom, cover the cup with the saucer and rotate the entire cup. Then, while still holding the saucer to the cup, quickly flip the cup upside down onto the saucer. After a couple of minutes, remove the cup, and the sediment will have formed letters and symbols on the inner walls of the cup. Try interpreting the letters and symbols. For a true and accurate prediction, it must be the cup you drank from. My aunt used to read our fortunes from the remaining coffee grounds, and it was always lots of fun.