Turkish Coffee: A drink for any season

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By Nedim Filipovic

Belgrade, Smokvica’s patio was alive despite the autumn chill. People, seemingly unaware of the change in season, were chatting their afternoons away. The clattering of pans, chopping of vegetables and searing of meat could be heard from the kitchen as wait staff deftly navigated a maze of chairs and tables. Smokvica, a popular café in Belgrade, is one of the many places one can find Turkish coffee.

Traditionally served on a saucer with sugar cubes and Turkish delight, the deeply black liquid strikes a stark contrast to the white porcelain mug. The earthy aroma alludes to what lies within, a mixture of smooth coffee and gritty, thick grounds. The inclusion of the grounds adds a rustic sense according to Anna Squires, a study abroad student from Colorado College. “It is like elevated cowboy coffee,” Squires said. In contrast to the grounds, the coffee itself is smooth. Void of the bitterness that is usually attributed to coffee, Turkish coffee is more alike to melted chocolate than an espresso. It is almost sweet, and so rich it feels thick as it flows over one’s tongue.

The brew method, not the actual coffee used, defines Turkish coffee. While variations exist, the general method consists of steeping coffee grounds directly in boiling water. Therefore, one should sip Turkish coffee; treating it like an espresso shot will result in a mouthful of coffee grounds.

The simple, yet decadent drink is part of everyday life for many Serbians. While the Serbian variation omits the spices used in Turkey, the essence remains intact. With a smile on her face, Dusanka Radonjic, a local coffee lover, said, “the aroma and smell of Turkish coffee fills an entire room.”