Making Arabic or Turkish Coffee

Patrick headshotIt is fairly common knowledge that coffee comes from Africa and Arabia. No one really knows how long it has been being consumed, but today it is the second most popular beverage in the world, behind water.

In Arabic nations, there is a method of making coffee that involves cooking it on the stove in a pot. If you have not had coffee this way, you really need to try it. It is an extraordinary experience that will change how you see coffee.

In the United States and much of the world, coffee is made by pushing water through it and drinking what you get. In Arabic coffee, you heat the water, add the coffee and spices, and drink the entire beverage unfiltered.

Recipes for this type of coffee vary by country, region, and even by family. If your family has a recipe, please add it in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

This is a Beginner’s Recipe for Arabic Coffee:

3 cups of water
Filtered, purified or spring water, please. (Your coffee is always over 95% water, so always make it good water.)

2 tablespoons of Arabica coffee
We can recommend a great source for gourmet coffee. J

3 tablespoons of ground cardamom
The fresher the spice the better the coffee. If all you can find is ground, use that.

Bring three cups of water to boil in a pot.

Add the coffee and then boil on low. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let the coffee grounds settle.

Now pour the coffee into a kettle or another pot. Add in the cardamom. Bring to a boil once again. Serve immediately in small cups.

As we said there are thousands of variations, including adding cinnamon (tastes a bit like chai) or saffron (delicious!).

If you would like a bit of sweetness, add some sugar at the second boil. You won’t want to add it as the table because, since the coffee is unfiltered, you will want the spices and remaining coffee to settle.

Traditionally, the coffee is boiled in a long handle pot. Then it is transferred to a kettle, called a dallah, for service. It is poured into small, handle-less coffee cups for drinking.

You don’t need all of that traditional equipment to make great Arabic coffee. All you need is great coffee to start and a desire to try something new. Enjoy, and please, comment below to tell us how your family makes Arabic coffee.

The Difference in Coffee Roasts

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The Difference in Coffee Roasts

French, dark, light, green, medium-dark, medium, and about a hundred other names are given to the different roasts of coffee. Each of them is a measure of how hot and how long a coffee bean has been roasted or subjected to heat.

All coffee beans start inside a small berry. In the middle of the berry is a seed or bean. This is the coffee bean that we are all familiar with. First, the fruit portion is dried and taken off of the bean.

The bean at that point is green. In fact, from a distance, the look like a half of a pea. They will range in color from a bright green to a greenish-brown. While you can make coffee from them, it will not be what you are used to. It will have a relatively weak flavor, but it will be filled with anti-oxidants and caffeine.

This is the bean that is put into the roaster. While there are many different styles of roasters, the basic idea is the same. A coffee roaster heats up the beans while the beans are stirred, either by hand or mechanically. Of course, you can roast coffee beans over a fire, in a skillet and stir it with a spatula.

Modern coffee roasters are more like giant dryers that take the green beans, heat them and roll them in a drum. At large coffee roasters, this happens in a roaster the size of a small house and is all run by computer. At small, custom roasters, like Blackwelder Coffee, the coffee is watched over by master roaster and is guided with experience and keen eye. How long and how hot the beans are roasted will created the different flavors.

Light Roast
These are beans that have not been roasted long and not too hot. “Not too hot” is relative, since the internal temperature of the beans will reach between 356° and 401° Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the beans will pop and expand in size. This is call the “first crack.” (Bet you can guess: There is a second crack ahead.) Light roasts have no oil on the outside and tend to have a lighter, less acidic flavor. They are also higher in caffeine content.

Medium Roast
Medium brown in color, these roasts will tend to lose the “grassy” taste the light roasts have. Here the temperature is 410° to 428° F. (You can see from these numbers that the process is precise. It is also all about timing.) These are often labeled Regular Roast, Breakfast Roast, or American Roast.

Medium-Dark Roast
Here there is a bit of oil beginning to show. These coffees tend to taste more robust, with a decent hint of acid. At 437° to 446° F, the bean will begin the second crack. These beans will be roasted to the beginning or middle of the second crack.

Dark Roast
These beans will have a sheen of oil and will be dark brown to black in color. They are roasted to 464° F. Beyond that, the coffee will take on a charcoal or tar flavor. These roasts are known as Espresso Roast, Italian Roast, Spanish Roast, or French Roast. These beans have the lowest caffeine content, but since they are often brewed to be very thick, people tend to feel it more.

While this is general guide to roasts, every roaster will have their own methods and origin coffee. These will affect the flavors and create as unique a beverage as if were created by a master vintner.