While overseas in Israel, I figured out something extremely fast on that first jet-lagged morning: Turkish coffee is very different than the coffee we are used to in the States. With sleep still in my eyes, I walked over to the coffee corner at the breakfast buffet and grabbed myself a cup. Sure that I was spooning in instant coffee, I added an extra heaping spoonful to adjust for the hours of sleep I never received on the plane.
One taste and I knew I had made a gigantic mistake. Bitter and strong, this coffee wasn't at all like my Starbucks at home. It's not like I could read the packaging either, Hebrew is a language made up of various letters which do not resemble the English alphabet in the slightest.
I turned to some of my other tour-goers who were also discovering that the coffee was not what they expected. One dumped in spoonfuls of sugar and another poured it down the drain. Seeing this, our tour guide, Omer Ziv, owner of Let's Walk, a tour company in Israel, noticed all of the trouble us Americans were going through and in his heavily accented voice stated, "I will show you the proper way to make a cup of Turkish coffee."
How to Make a Cup of Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is deemed one of the oldest ways to prepare coffee and is simple to prepare. To start, a spoonful or two of finely ground coffee beans are mixed with water and sugar and boiled until a froth forms. The coffee is poured into small cups where the grounds settle to the bottom before consuming.
The grounds take up about 1/4 of the cup and are not meant to be consumed. This was a vital part that my tour-mates and I didn't understand at first.
In essence, the main different between a cup of instant coffee and Turkish coffee is the grounds.
Whereas instant coffee is made from dried coffee which is then rehydrated, Turkish coffee is made by using coffee beans which have been ground up. Oddly enough, instant coffee actually contains no coffee beans.
After our tour guide Omer made a proper cup and shared it with us, it was clear why people prefer the taste of Turkish coffee to drip. Bold and high in caffeine, one small cup of this coffee can keep you alert and awake all day.
And if you aren't itching to leave the country just for a cup, it's super easy to make your own Turkish coffee right at home. Copperbull, a seller on Amazon, offers costumers a full Turkish coffee pack which includes a copper coffee pot, two small coffee cups and a package of Turkish coffee.