Why do we Grind Turkish Coffee so Fine?

We have likely all come across Turkish coffee at one time or another. There are some who think it is the original, badass way of drinking coffee, while others scorn the brewing style and claim that it results in over-extracted coffee.

Any home barista or coffee nerd is also probably aware that grind size for Turkish coffee is extremely fine – even finer than espresso. But why is this? Is it just tradition or are there specific reasons for using fine coffee grounds when making Turkish coffee? That is what we are going to find out in today’s post!

What is Turkish Coffee?

First of all, let’s quickly go over what Turkish coffee actually is. This way of brewing consists of simply boiling very finely ground coffee in a coffee pot known as a cezve. There is no filter used whatsoever when brewing Turkish coffee. Some of the grounds actually end up dissolving into the water. This means that brewing in the Turkish style is the only instance when we consume some of the ground coffee beans. This is as opposed to other brewing methods, where we are drinking the water that has been in contact with coffee beans, but not the beans themselves.

Turkish coffee with a cezve
Turkish coffee is made with a cezve

Is Turkish Coffee Soluble Coffee?

Soluble coffee is another word for instant coffee. Instant coffee is coffee which has been brewed, then freeze dried and broken up into tiny little pieces. Turkish coffee, therefore, would not be considered soluble coffee, even though the ground coffee is technically soluble, at least in part.

Why is Turkish Coffee Grind so Fine?

So let’s get down to it. Why is Turkish coffee ground fine? Well, there are a few reasons for this?

Finer Grind means Better Extraction

Firstly, finely ground coffee extracts much more efficiently than coarsely ground coffee. This is useful for Turkish coffee, which has no other factors to help with brewing, such as pressure or gravity.

This method of brewing is one of the oldest coffee brewing methods – it is literally just ground coffee in boiled water. It is difficult to extract coffee in this way. Grinding coffee fine and brewing at a high temperature aids in this extraction and allows us to brew Turkish coffee in mere minutes.

That Famous Flavor

This higher level of extraction results in more coffee properties making their way into the brew. This is what leads to the flavorful and robust profile that this type of coffee is famous for.

Finer Grounds Means Less Sediment

Finally, the very fine grounds result in less sediment and big coffee particles in the drink. This is essential as this method of brewing uses no filter.

However, this fact means that it is very important you don’t stir Turkish coffee. After it is brewed, it needs to sit for a few seconds so that the sediment can sink to the bottom. The short, intense coffee  is then consumed without stirring.

Turkish coffee is finely ground
Turkish coffee needs to be finely ground

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Drinking Turkish Coffee

So, now we know why this type of coffee is ground so fine. But should we pursue this way of brewing?

Advantages

  • No filter and finely ground, soluble coffee means more coffee properties in your brew. I’m talking about oils, flavor,  antioxidants, and all that good stuff.
  • Turkish coffee is extremely easy to brew and requires little to no technique.

Disadvantages

There is one main disadvantage to this coffee brewing method, which is actually also the advantage. When we brew in this way, we potentially let in the bad compounds with the good. Unfiltered coffee, such as Turkish coffee, can raise your cholesterol when consumed in excess. For this reason, it is wise to drink Turkish coffee in relative moderation.
As a side note, there is a lot of scientific data that kahweol and cafestol, the two famous diterpenes that are responsible for raising cholesterol might be not be beneficial for us. But that’s a discussion for our next article.

Is this brewing method for you? Can you get past the fact that the grounds are still in the cup when you drink it? I don’t mind it, but I know a lot of folks that hate it.

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Josh Spink

Joshua is an Irish opera singer and writer. His specialist topics are coffee, food, wellness and culture. His love for coffee comes from growing up in his parent’s coffee shop and working as a barista for several years in the specialty coffee scene in Dublin. As an opera singer, Joshua is a frequent traveller and is passionate about discovering new coffee shops in every new place he visits. Joshua is fascinated by the health benefits of coffee drinking and is an advocate of moderate coffee consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle. Apart from drinking and writing about coffee, Joshua enjoys cooking, all forms of exercise, reading and languages.