The Art of Coffee

My coffee drinking habits have changed over many decades. I had phases where I was into the drip coffeemaker, the French coffee press, an espresso machine, the Tassimo, the Senseo, and finally the Keurig K-Cup. I went back to my roots though for real fresh coffee and I haven’t looked back.

It’s commonly referred to as “turkish coffee”. It goes by many names and is prepared differently in many regions of the world where this type of coffee is traditionally popular.

In the Arab world, it is called “arabic coffee” and also “egyptian coffee”, “syrian coffee”, “lebanese coffee” and “iraqi coffee”. All with it’s own unique distinction in technique and presentation. In Europe, it’s called “bosnian coffee”, “croatian coffee”,“slovenian coffee”, “serbian coffee”, “montenegrin coffee”, or quite simply “balkan coffee”. Czechs and Slovaks refer to it as “turek”. Greeks call it “greek coffee”. Iranians call is “qahve”.

The coffee used is finely ground powder. There are many imported brands. I’ve tried many however my favorite is DonCafe (serbian) with Franck Jubilarna (croatian) being a close second.

Growing up, there is a saying in my family that if you make really good coffee, you’ll get married.

There are so many ways to make this. Some prefer it to taste dark and have the consistency of mud. Usually that requires two heaping tablespoons. I don’t make it that strong myself, and traditionally making it that strong is usually to go with the accompaniment of a cigarette and then afterwards some fortune-telling via the leftover coffee grinds in the cup.

Balkan Styles

Montenegrins prefer to roast the grinds, add boiling water then let it rise before turning off the heat. Bosnians remove one cup of water from the pot then add coffee and return the cup of water before letting it rise one last time. Serbians boil the water, remove the pot from the heat, add coffee and return to heat then lowering the heat three times to let it rise three times as an Orthodox prayer for God’s help. Croatians use one cup of water for each person and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Boil water and remove from heat. Add one teaspoon of coffee for each person. Return and let rise. Do it one more time and let it settle.

Most of the time sugar is reserved in separate container to be added according to taste.


How do I drink it?

I make it light and add cream(er) and sugar to taste. And yes I stir it. Traditionally you don’t want to stir because it disturbs the “kajmak” aka creamy foamy stuff on top. The more creamy foam you have the better your cup o’ joe is going to be. Sometimes I turn it into a Viennese-style coffee by adding whip cream on top.


I drink it right away. By letting it sit around in the cup or on the stove, the freshness diminishes, and this is not the kind of coffee you can reheat either. To get even fresher coffee, you can buy whole beans and grind them up to use right away, something I remember my dad doing from my childhood.

Well there you have it! I am an avid tea lover as well. Ah, fodder for the next post. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!

Did You Know?
The first coffeehouse opened up in Istanbul in the 1640s?



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