Brewing Specialty Coffee on the Cezve, Ibrik, Turkish Coffee Pot or Greek Style
It goes by many names.
And it’s a beautiful way to brew.
After nearly 20 years of coffee making I’ve gone back to my roots. My father is from the Balkans and in that region coffee is prepared in a pot called the Ibrika. This style of coffee was served to adult guests and I remember well this cultural practice in my home many years ago.
Recently I was inspired by the writings of Turgay Yildizli and his approach to bringing this ancient and highly nuanced brewing technique to today’s specialty coffee culture. This is my interpretation of his technique. I hope it inspires a new generation of Turkish brewers to get back to enjoying coffee with no filter as it literally is an unfiltered coffee brewing process.
Keys about the Brew
- Use a 1:10 ratio
- Turgay recommends 7g coffee to 70g water
- I’m liking 6g coffee to 60g water
- Pre heat water to 60-65 degrees Celsius
- Stir coffee and water before placing on heat for 10-15 times
- Brew on high heat
- Brew time should be 2 minutes
- I recommend brewing with our Organic Blend
Watch me brew it at home
Don’t grind it, pulverize it
It’s seldom spoken about these days as the relevance of Cezve brewing is definitely on the fringe, but when we grind coffee beans as fine as we need to for this method, we are actually pulverizing the coffee. This means we are actually smashing the cell structure of the coffee right down to a powder.
What this means for extraction is the more facets a grind has, the more chances water has to permeate it and draw out flavour. You can’t get more facets than powder! But there can also be a downside. That is, with more facets we can also experience more oxidation. The finer the grind, the faster the oxidation. Nonetheless, for best results grind as fine as possible and grind it fresh. If one thing that differentiates this modern take on the oldest brewing style in the world, is fresh ground vs pre ground coffee. Grinding as you need it will offer way more flavour, vibrance and nuance. Never use supermarket ground coffee for this method.
Its all about the ratio
I’m seeing great results brewing at 1:10, whether it being 7:70 or 5:50, adjust to your taste.
We’re seeing this theme pop up in many brewing styles, from stovetop to siphon and now cezve. Preheating the water a little means that it is in contact with coffee at a much better temperature. As a general rule coffee does not like cool water. Cool water makes coffee taste sour and flat and does not extract flavour as effectively as hot water and it does a poor job of translating nuance.
I’m currently reading a lot about how water temperature breaks down acids at different temperatures. It may shed some light on why it’s important to brew with correct water temperature, why cold brew has a particular flavour, and why it’s important not to over heat coffee, even if that myth is correct.
Starting at 65 degrees and stirring the coffee ensures it is saturated and ready for extraction. As we brew on high the ramp in temperature will be steady and fast. Stirring is important and you need to ensure there are no dry spots in the pot. But don’t over stir. Fifteen times is plenty.
Stirring will also increase coffee extraction by allowing greater contact time of the water and coffee. By forcing the water to essentially rub over the cell walls it draws a higher rate of coffee out than just allowing the coffee to sit in the water.
Heat and Time
Full heat on your stove is good, but not all stoves generate the same power. My stove for instance seems to stall the brew at a lower heat and my average brew times are 2:00 to 2:30. The recommendation from Turgay is to lower the heat to medium at 1 minute, but I have not found this to work on my stove. If you find the coffee is starting to boil near 1:30, then I advise lowering the heat to medium or medium high at 1 minute. My final piece of advice is always time your extraction, it will give you so much information, which can be translated into coffee wisdom.
During my experiment I brewed into regular sized cups. I would not advise this, as what I found was super interesting. The coffee had grinds all through the cup. When I brewed the second time using demitasse cups, the grinds filtered to the bottom of the cup and the coffee was able to be enjoyed without the fine grinds. Amazing.
On this note many years ago it was advised to me that the design of the Turkish coffee pot was such that if you let the coffee settle then poured it at an angle, most of the grinds would settle in the pot and not find their way into the cup. I have found this to be a trap even though true. If you wait before pouring the coffee after brewed, not only will the grinds settle but the crema too, and the crema adds so much to the experience of drinking the coffee.
Now about sugar
It’s a known fact that the old school recipe for the drink was one demitasse cup of water, one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of coffee. If you’re going to brew supermarket turkish or greek style, go ahead and make the drink this way. But if you’re going to brew with specialty coffee then it is not necessary to add sugar, ever.
Boil 3 times over
Many cultures bring the coffee to the boil, allow the coffee to settle by removing from the heat then boil again, then again. This is a very bad idea as your coffee from the method is already around 92-95 degrees just from the first boil. So it has already been extracted, never boil more than once unless you like your coffee strong and really bitter.
A call to arms
Just like learning to make plum brandy, learning to make ibrik coffee is something special to me, my father’s culture and the history of our craft. I hope this ancient and most amazing style finds a home in your heart as it did mine.
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