Wednesday, March 02, 2005


turkish coffee, part v

ok, i'm beginning to feel like i have this turkish coffee thing licked. i did incorporate some points from the i need coffee tutorial yesterday to benefit; however i altered them to ensure they would offend less against good coffee-making standards.

i backed my saeco 2002 grinder a hair behind its zero point, for an even more powdery grind. be careful trying this at home, depending on your grinder!

i used the same gillies yrg from yesterday, but increased the amount to 18g (about 0.6 oz.). i also increased the water to 6 fl. oz. (about 177.5 ml).

i then:

  • added the same pinch of cardamom and cinnamon to the ibrik,
  • clipped my instant-read therometer to the side of the pot,
  • poured in the water,
  • measured in 2 regular coffee scoops davinci sugar-free simple unflavored syrup (because 18g coffee is about 2 "rounded" coffee scoops, and i wanted to keep the amount of sweetener and coffee close to equal),
  • stirred, and
  • dumped the coffee on top of the liquid without re-stirring, as the i need tutorial instructed.

the tutorial claims that to have a cap of undissolved powdery coffee is important to the "physics" of the process, a statement i'd like to see some more info on. because it frankly just seems to be that such an uneven distribution of coffee in this "slurry" will just result in unequal extraction.

which is all bad by specialty coffee standards. however, i think i see what the tutorial is getting at: the particles of undissolved coffee floating at the top not only create a cap that helps prevent the stuff from foaming over, but may also contribute extra bean-fiber material and coffee oils to add body to the froth when the foam finally overwhelms it.

this is just the question for scaa chief and coffee chemist ted lingle, but it so happens he is presently in japan, probably drinking his favorite halogen vac pot coffee in some elegant, upscale kisaten.

and all i have is my bklyn kitchen! anyway. . .

i turned the gas flame to low and carefully watched the therometer dial. in a just a moment, all the coffee had sunk deep into the liquid, leaving me with no dry coffee crust.

thus i quickly grabbed a demitasse spoon, filled it less-than-halfway with some ground coffee and sprinkled it on top of the slurry: lemme guesstimate this was about 1g coffee. where it stayed dry.

at 195 degrees f the edges of the coffee began to seethe. at 200, simmer; at 205 the foam started to rise. as it reached the top i snatched the pot from the flame and let the foam subside (maybe 10 seconds).

remarkably, the dry coffee "cap" remained. on the second foam, however, the cap was subsumed. i went for the third foam. . .at no time did the thermometer pass 205.

but i understand that these little instant-reads can be slow to react. the result was a heavy layer of very dark, cocoa-colored foam, that glistened with coffee oils, rather like what you'd see in a cafetiére with ultra-fresh dark-roast coffee.

this foam persisted long enough for me to finish an entire cup! i poured out 2oz. of the brew into a demitasse, and spooned some of the froth on top.

when i returned for a second cup, there was still a bit of froth on the coffee. surprise! the coffee was the best turkish yet, really delicious if you like spices in your coffee. . .

the lower heat did extend the coffee-making time to 5 mins. start to finish, which is not too bad. the ibrik itself is easily cleaned with the same baby-bottle brush i use for my bodum vac pot.

and finally, lemme offer a big bccy round of applause to fellow sjc alum, schneider, for finding me a pic of the sand brazier used to make turkish in a commercial setting. this would alleviate temperature concerns, since you of course easily could monitor the sand temperature.

he also sent along two other pics (here and here) of ibriks on sand that caused me concern, however: notice that they show the foam as being a very light beige! the foam i saw was extremely dark. . . hmm.

could there even more to investigate here? sigh.

posted by fortune | 6:59 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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