The ibrik or cezve
These Turkish terms refer to what is likely the oldest coffee pot in the world or, at the very least, the most popular form of coffee preparation in the Middle East, an Ottoman tradition. It’s simple: just add coffee and water to a saucepan – the ibrik or cezve – and bring it to a boil.
Ibrik coffee has been part of the Ottoman coffee culture for centuries, in this case, the 16th century, after an Ethiopian governor brought coffee beans as an offering during a visit to Constantinople. All that was left was to sow the seeds.
Because it diffuses heat better and more evenly, copper is the preferred material for ibriks. But they are also available in brass or stainless steel.
Start with mineral water (tap water does not mix well with this type of preparation), previously heated to reduce the cooking time.
To stir or not to stir, that is the question. What we know: adding the coffee after the water without stirring and letting it gently dissolve allows for a creamier foam.
When the coffee rises and comes to a boil, it’s time to serve. In one go for some, two for others who put half the coffee back on the flame to bring the foam back up a second time. It is usually served with a glass of cold water to refresh the palate before tasting, sugar and sometimes infused with spices (cinnamon, mastic, cardamom).
To be able to control the brewing time, you must have a temperature that you can control. The preparation time for Turkish coffee that almost boils does not usually exceed 2.5 minutes, because the grind is very fine, like flour. Using a micro burner or the stove top is the most common way to brew this style of coffee; the sand method is a rare sight usually only seen in cafés or in competitions. The main difference is that when using the micro burner or stove, the heat is applied directly to the bottom of the ibrik. Thus, it heats the water from below. Hot sand, on the other hand, heats the ibrik a little more evenly because most of the device is buried in it.
The Turks will say 1 teaspoon of coffee per cup… It is estimated that a good ratio is around 1:8 and 1:9. That’s about 4 grammes of coffee per cup. Or 7.5 grammes per 75 millilitres of water.
AV / © Delphine Denans
At its finest
The term was born in the 1970s in the United States, to describe a rare and superior quality coffee. If we were talking about wine, we would use the term “Grand Cru”. The specialty coffee wave reached Europe in the 1980s, and in 1982, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCA), whose role was to ensure the quality of the coffee and to organise world championships, codified the beverage as follows:
“Specialty coffees (or gourmet coffees) are defined as high-end coffee-based drinks to which the consumer (in a specific market and at a given time) assigns a unique quality, distinct and superior taste and character compared to an ordinary coffee-based drink. This drink is prepared using green coffee beans grown in specific areas, and meeting the most demanding standards in terms of production, processing, roasting, conservation and preparation.”
The origin of the coffee determines its aromatic profile, guarantees the growing conditions and the harvesting method. The more a coffee tree grows at a high altitude (1,200-1,400 metres), the more its grains are dense, and their aromatics complex. The flavour profile of the bean changes depending on its processing. As a general rule, the more pulp a bean has when drying, the more likely the coffee will have sugar and body in the cup. Roasting should not take precedence over the flavour of the coffee. We can count on an optimal aromatic complexity until about a month after its roasting. After this date, the flavours settle. All coffee is rated with a quality score out of 100 points. Professional and certified tasters, called Q-Graders, note each particularity of a coffee (aroma, taste, texture, uniformity, etc.) following a process called “cupping”. When a coffee is rated at more than 80 points, it is said to be “specialty”.