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I'm wondering what makes Turkish coffee made out of original Turkish packed grounded coffee taste so differently (better) from what I can do from beans that I ground myself or in the shop, following basically the same technology?

I had a few hypothesis:

  • It's all has to do with right Cezve, i.e. pot. However, buying 'true' Turkish coffee pot didn't help. Actually I get much better results with Turkish ground coffee comparing to the one sold by weight even if the latter costs more.

  • They add cardamom to the coffee. I tried it, coffee tastes better, but it's still not the same.

  • They ground it very very finely. I asked the seller to ground my
    coffee ad fine as they can but the result is still poor. (Actually this is still an open question, because they can use better machines than the ones I have access to.)

  • They use special coffee mixes.

Then in Wikipedia I read that it is mostly about fineness of the grinding, but burr mill and mortar proposed there didn't work in my case. I also bought turkish coffee mill like this: Coffee mill

I tried to grind the coffee with this mill many times, results are always poor. Does anybody know what is the secret? Can I make my own coffee that would be the same quality (or better) than, say, Mehmet Efendi?

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    I still feel that the grinding is crucial for that. Part of what makes coffee "Turkish" is its texture, thicker than any other style. Can you please elaborate on how mortar didn't work for you? Did you pound it but it still was not similar? Also, your roast should be relatively light. – Ivan Kapitonov May 8 '15 at 1:41
  • @IvanKapitonov Yep it wasn't similar. I forgot to mention that I also have a proper turkish mill (added a photo to the post). – Timofey May 8 '15 at 13:59
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Assuming that:

  • you have found the best available beans in your market.
  • which are then finely grounded
  • and used instantly after the grounding (have in mind the finer the grounding the faster the coffee taste deteriorates as it both absorbs humidity and all smells from the environment with it and in the same time releases its aroma).

You can look for:

  • right Cezve : the pot shouldn't be a steel, as the temperature rises very fast which leads to bitter/ burnt taste. The preferred material is copper.
  • right preparation methods : make it as slower as possible and wait for it to create a thick cream (caimác) that will protect its aroma as in espresso. To achieve that you can use either direct flame (as you can directly see the flame and control the amount of heat transfered):

enter image description here enter image description here

or sand (which has large heat capacity and it takes a lot of time to get hot):

enter image description here

  • steer it frequently till it boils: to homogenize it perfectly; otherwise the coffee and sugar go down on the bottom and melt/ burn and deteriorate the taste.
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    I was experimenting with different Cezve, preparation methods etc a lot, but even is the coffee was generally good, it's still wasn't what I expect from turkish coffee in terms of taste and aroma. But after I simply bought original Turkish grounded beans, I've got the desired result instantly with simplest possible preparation method and cheap locally made Cezve. Since then also have some success with Serbian coffee and it's price suggested that the beans weren't "the best" on the market. So I think it's more about roasting and grinding, and not about using sand/cool Cezve/slow prep – Timofey Aug 24 '15 at 15:07
  • @Timofey, all the above was based on the predicate that you've found the right raw material and you're right, without a nicely roasted and grinded beans there is now way you can extract anything worthy drinking. On the other side, if you don't take all the above under consideration you won't utilize all potential of the bean, i.e. extact the maximum of its aroma and taste. – Ziezi Aug 24 '15 at 21:46
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    Sorry, I forgot to thank you, I do find some of tricks you've listed useful and I'm sure they really help to make coffee better. And of course I agree the quality of raw material influence the taste. I'll keep experimenting and hope that somebody will reach this post and provide a step-by-step instruction on how to make that turkish coffee :) – Timofey Aug 25 '15 at 14:30
  • @Timofey, glad to be of help! I'll keep an eye on the post too and let's hope that it'll be enriched gradually till we demystify another oriental secret, i.e. the Turkish coffee. :) – Ziezi Aug 25 '15 at 17:42
  • @Timofey, if you compare the "original turkish coffee" with the other coffee you've used, while it is still dry and before adding it to the water. How different is it? in terms of taste, grind, texture, humidity, etc...? – PabTorre Sep 28 '15 at 2:22
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Disclaimer: Frankly, since I was registered to this site, I was thinking on answering this very question. So, here you will see the answer in a while. Most of you very probably will not like it. Still, I will also disclose the fact how you like it at first place. That's all science of coffee.


It's widely known that, historically Turkey is one of the hubs of coffee trade and well-known for the Turkish-style brewing. However, this tradition is unfortunately not the best-known thing among the population in these days. Worse than that, the community is not self-aware of this. So, big merchants are using such ignorance as a benefit.

A few big roasters and coffee-houses known to prepare Turkish-coffee are somewhat built a monopoly on beans. The beans are mostly imported from Brazil and mostly the cheapest batches that are molding to keep the prices low. You can see two photos of some randomly chosen beans from a bag. These are six beans out of thirty, so the bad bean rate is around 20%. Imagine, when Ernesto Illy once said that one bean out of fifty in a cup spoils an espresso.

enter image description here enter image description here

Then comes the roasting. Luckily, the big roasters have nice roasters for big batches. However, if you are visiting a small local coffee shop, it is possible that they have still using a pan to roast and burning the flat side of the bean and cannot roast the curvy side.

Below, you can see a photo from one of the most popular shopping malls of Istanbul. You can clearly see the uneven roast. I don't even discuss the storage conditions here! The damp, the light, the air...

enter image description here

Of course, the roast degree... Normally, cinnamon to city roast is the advised degree for proper Turkish coffee. However, bulk producers mostly goes beyond first crack, even to the second crack to hide the moldy flavors. The result is more like Vietnamese style; very dark roasted charcoal flavors. This is not what it used to be. However, the packaged roasted and ground Turkish coffee is mostly that.


So, the question remains, what makes it special? How do you feel a mouthful when you taste it at the headquarters and cannot reproduce it at home?

The answer is, freshness. That's what you feel, in my opinion. Most bulk roasters do not even care about degassing as they are selling anyway. (This may affect the taste, I assume. They start grinding right after roasting to get rid of stock expenses.) They sell to the tourists or to the ignorant Turkish population. Still, at the end, when you visit their headquarters, you smell a very fragrant coffee flavor. This adds to the aroma you taste. (You know, they say onion and apple taste the same when you don't smell them.) Then, you drink a very fresh cup of coffee. This is very probably nice as it is just roasted, even if the beans were bad.

However, you buy a bag of very fine grounded over-roasted bad coffee. The bag itself does not have a one-way-valve or it is not filled with inert gases or it is not vacuum packed. Thus, it goes stale very rapidly. Note that, fine grounded coffee goes stale more quickly. Even during your trip to your home. So maybe you have one or two days to finish the bag, if not a few hours.

TL;DR There is nothing special about Turkish coffee. It goes stale stale just so quickly as it is grounded so fine. Commercially marketed Turkish coffee bags contain crap.

  • Thanks for the comment. One question: When you're talking about 'commercially marketed turkish coffee bags' are you talking of Mehmet Efendi and the like? Bc Mehmet Efendi tasted close to be called perfect, in my opinion. I've tried a few other 'turkish' grounded coffee brands and they indeed are crap. – Timofey Oct 12 '16 at 10:07
  • Also, I buy my whole beans from the local indie coffeeshop, they buy the best coffee available on the market and roast the beans themselves. I know these people personally and I can be quite sure in the quality of their stuff. HOWEVER, while the result tastes good, turkish-style coffee prepared with their beans is not what I want. I use Sozen grinder, a copper Jezve, the whole nine yards. And yet the result is still not perfect. So I assume there must me something else that I'm missing. – Timofey Oct 12 '16 at 10:15
  • @Timofey, I prefer not to point any brand names in the post. Apparently, Mehmet Efendi (ME) is one of the commercial marketed ones (maybe these few companies may even form a cartel) and the beans you see from the photos are from "the cartel". In essence, any of the companies from the cartel, including ME are not different to me. Low bean quality is standard; however freshness is the key factor as their market share is huge. ME is known to me by the burnt taste. They over-roast so much that the beans look like obsidian marbles to me. Still, it may be better than some low-end smaller companies. – MTSan Oct 13 '16 at 18:34
  • @Timofey I (very personally) do not advise copper cezves. Here is my advice for cevze. You need to transfer the heat quickly to the coffee in Turkish style. Copper is good for that. Bu also evenly. Copper sucks for that on a regular oven. Also you can find my own recipe and links to some institute's here. I hope these can help for a better Turkish brewing experience. – MTSan Oct 13 '16 at 18:40
  • @Timofey Ah, about the grind... Sözen is a really nice hand-made hand-grinder you can find in Turkey -genuine Turkish. However, Mr. Sözen generally set the grinders to something close to french-press/espresso setting by default. Please set it to the finest. (Empty the grinder. Turn the knob so tight that you can't even move the handle while empty. Release a minimum bit so you will be able to turn the handle easily without any cranking sounds. This is the "finest" setting which is suitable for Turkish.) – MTSan Oct 13 '16 at 18:46
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I can confirm that the supermarket-variety Turkish/Greek/Serbian etc coffee is usually prepared from the worst beans they can find, but there is something in the flavor of ready-ground coffee that is hard to replicate with your own beans (supposedly the secret ingredient is cinnamon but i cannot confirm if adding a stick of cinnamon to the grind will do the trick). Also, you definitely you need a very fine grind. Beating it in a mortar will not do very much (i have tried), and dont try passing it through the grinder twice (it will jam). The solution is the manual grinder from e.g. Zassenhaus, it is expensive, but does the job! Be sure to set it to the finest setting by undertanding thoroughly the fine german engineering and tighening it correctly.

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    Would you edit your answer to justify your claims, like being made from "the worst beans", and why not to pass through the grinder twice? Why would a manual grinder be better? See How to Answer for more general suggestions. Welcome to Coffee. – hoc_age Mar 9 '17 at 6:47

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