September 28, 2009
A recent trip to a local Moroccan coffee shop made me absolutely fall in love with Turkish Coffee. Having had it before I wasn’t prepared for the amazing reinvention at the hands of a skilled artisan, it was amazing. I wanted to recreate it myself now that I’ve been enlightened so I knew my first step was to acquire the tools of the trade. The main component is the Ibrik, a very small (~4oz. or so for a single serving) copper or brass pot with a handle. It serves a specific purpose so while a reasonable result could probably be obtained without it, I had to go the authentic route. Just like each tea has its favorite teapot, Turkish Coffee has its favorite vessel as well. They’re inexpensive and small so it isn’t a monumental undertaking.
Just as with tea it can be as loose or exacting as you make it and there is certainly some skill and finesse involved which will take practice. The basic rundown is: Put in the desired amount of sugar (1-2 teaspoons), then fill the cold water to the point where the Ibrik starts to narrow, then add in about two heaping teaspoons of super finely ground coffee to the top. Do not stir it in. Then over a medium heat let it come to a slow foaming/boil. The fine coffee grounds will act as a seal at the top to keep oxygen out which is the desired effect. As it begins to come to a slow boil the coffee will begin to mix in and that’s OK. Now is where the handle comes into play… take the Ibrik off of the heat source and stir down the foam until it settles down a bit, then put it back on. Do this three or four times and then let it sit off of the heat to let the grounds settle to the bottom. Pour off into a demitasse cup and leave as much of the grounds behind as possible, any mistakenly poured in will settle in the cup so avoid that last sip. Enjoy! It is a nice sweet treat and a good break from tea when you are looking for a coffee fix.
September 22, 2009
Things have been a bit quiet here lately mainly due to a lovely sickness that latched on and left me pretty miserable for far too long. So much for all that tea = health business. With dulled taste buds and little interest in anything but getting better, tea has taken a bit of a back seat as of late. Well not tea in general, just quality teas. Subtlety and nuance don’t quite jibe with antibiotics and a constant metallic taste. However, there has been tea, so this is a roundup of what’s been in the cup.
Ginger Dragon. This tisane was prepared at a Moroccan coffee shop where I went to hear some great music a few nights ago. It was essentially just pure ginger root steeped strongly with honey. It was a fiery, peppery, yellow brew which did wonders for my sore throat but wreaked havoc on my easily nauseated stomach. Just near the end of the generous glass the strength and flavor became a bit too much and too harsh, but I did finish it and it is always my mother’s go-to cure for sore throats so I couldn’t have passed it up.
Turkish Coffee. Not tea at all, but that same coffee shop offered great Turkish coffee hand prepared properly with the little copper Ibrik. It’s a sweet little coffee treat. A real coffee treat not the watered-down variety of national chains and syrups. Super-finely ground coffee is repeatedly boiled with sugar and water in the little vessel, allowed to settle, and then poured into a small demitasse cup for sheer joy. I’m not much of a coffee drinker and it is just sublime. My own Ibrik will be coming soon and I plan on enjoying more of this in the comfort of my own home.
Red Bamboo honey and Luzianne Tea. My personal sick-day standby. The tea is merely a vehicle for transporting the amazingly deep and complex red bamboo honey. I get this tea from a local beekeeper so I don’t know about the availability outside of PA/WV area, but if you can find some, try it. As for the Luzianne, I know it is meant for iced tea and I don’t care. I think it has the most flavor and character of all American teabags and pairs really well with honey of all types.
Matcha Kit-Kats. A Japanese friend recently brought back a box of these little delights. It could just be my dead palate but there isn’t much green tea present, it’s more like a green colored white chocolate kit-kat, which there’s nothing wrong with in my book. I had been hoping for a more bitter and vegetal experience but they are good enough that I went back for more and would probably devour the whole lot if it weren’t in bad taste.
So that’s the roundup, there will be some more coverage of my recent black/red tea foray soon.