“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love”. That’s how the Turkish describe their coffee, especially when you’re drinking regular coffee in front of them. Is Turkish coffee that different from regular coffee? If yes, in what ways? Does it have more caffeine? What are the differences between Turkish coffee caffeine vs. regular coffee?
The short answer is that Turkish coffee has more caffeine per fluid ounce than most regular coffees. This is due to the strong types of beans and brewing method that is used for Turkish coffee.
Interested in learning more about Turkish coffee caffeine vs. regular coffee? Keep reading!
Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso – What Are the Differences?
Since espresso shots are the core ingredient of other coffee types like Americanos, cappuccinos, and lattes, we’ll be looking at the differences between Turkish coffee and espresso.
A cup of Turkish coffee has about 60 mg of caffeine, while a single espresso shot contains about 40 to 50 mg. Keep in mind that a cup of Turkish coffee is about two and a half ounces, while a single shot of espresso is one ounce.
Author Note: The way that we extract caffeine from espresso by applying pressure requires less water. On the other hand, Turkish coffee beans can be boiled twice, even three times in some cases, resulting in more caffeine extracted per coffee bean.
So, technically speaking, there’s more caffeine per ounce in espresso. However, taking into consideration their brewing times and that Turkish coffee is unfiltered, they’re probably not that different in caffeine content at an average of 50-70 mg per one and a half ounces.
To start with, Turkish and espresso are not types of coffee beans; rather, they’re coffee brewing methods. However, Turkish coffee strictly uses Arabica beans, 100% pure in the best case, while espresso can use a wider variety of coffee beans, including Robusta. Since Robusta contains twice as much caffeine as Arabica, we will assume Arabica beans are used in our Turkish vs Espresso comparison.
Brewing Method – Extraction
Extraction is the key difference between Turkish coffee and espresso.
Top Tip: Turkish coffee finely ground beans are mixed with water and sweetened with sugar in the first stage of brewing. You nearly need one tablespoon of ground coffee for every three ounces of water. The sugar is added according to your preference.
Then, you place this solution in a small pot on the stove and use low heat to brew gradually. There’s a special vessel for that called a cezve.
Before it reaches its boiling point, the solution will rise up and start making a foamy froth; that’s your cue to take it off the stove and pour it slowly without filtering it. Some love to boil their mix multiple times. The aim is to get frothier foam. The more foam, the better.
When it comes to espresso, there’s less for you to do, more for the machine. You fill the portafilter with espresso grinds and lock it in into the grouphead in the warmed-up espresso machine.
Then the espresso machine does its magic, applying 9 bar of pressure to the coffee grinds to brew a shot of espresso. If the grind size is correct, the shot of espresso is done after about 30 seconds.
If we compare their brewing times, we’d say that a single shot of espresso needs 30 seconds -that’s one minute for a double shot- while a cup of Turkish coffee will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Turkish coffee uses a much finer coffee grind. Way finer than the grind used for drip coffee or a pourover, and even finer then grinds for espresso.
The dust-like grind texture of Turkish coffee is responsible for its taste, aroma, and consistency. While there are different roasts for Turkish coffee, you won’t find any grind size other than ‘fine’ for it.
The high dissolution level of this fine grind greatly contributes to the texture and the flavor of Turkish coffee. It’s how the brewing process can extract all the desired solubles much faster than typical drip or filter coffee. It’s not as fast as espresso, but still remarkably fast.
On the other hand, while espresso’s coffee grind should be fine compared to other coffee brewing techniques, it’s coarser than that of Turkish coffee. It’s slightly finer than sugar, but it doesn’t reach that dust-like form.
You can’t use a coarse grind here. Coarse coffee grounds will result in weaker coffee and less flavor. On the contrary, if you go overboard with finely ground coffee, this will lead to over-extraction, resulting in overly bitter coffee.
Again, it’s the type of ground coffee beans they use that’s different, but espresso and Turkish coffee themselves are not types of grind. In both cases, you have to get the right grind size for the best results. There’s no room for improvisation here.
Well, well, well, if this isn’t the single most important difference!
Thanks to its near boiling brewing temperatures and relatively long contact time with water, Turkish coffee has a strong taste, very intense with no acidic traces. Also, because its beans aren’t filtered, it has a pretty distinct texture that might put some people off when they first try it.
Espresso, as you know it, is also a very concentrated drink. Since caffeine extraction is proportional to the time that the coffee grinds are in contact with the water, if the same amount of coffee is used then the Turkish coffee would contain more caffeine since it takes longer to brew. Espresso can have some nice texture and mouthfeel, and depending on the bean and extraction profile, there can be hints of acidity there.
Author Note: There’s no competition here. They taste different, and the choice is according to preference.
Tips and Tricks to Make the Best Turkish Coffee
You’re probably new to the world of Turkish coffee. Being part of UNESCO’s intangible heritage list for Turkey, I encourage you to take the time to brew with care and respect. There are a few different methods that claim to be the most traditional; we aren’t here to argue which is the correct way. But here are some suggestions from the way we like to brew Turkish coffee.
- Use cold filtered water for the best dissolution results.
- Use low to medium heat to let the brewing take its time.
- Never let your coffee reach its boiling point. Never!
- Use freshly ground coffee when possible – otherwise, use the freshest ground coffee you can find. Make sure to store coffee in airtight containers to slow down the staling and oxidation process.
- Pour the coffee as slowly as you can into the cups so as not to lose the foam.
- If you’re serving multiple cups from the same pot, pour a little bit of foam into each of them first, then pour out the rest of the coffee.
- Turkish coffee is best served with something sweet like Turkish delight along with a cup of water for cleansing your palate before drinking the coffee.
Turkish Coffee FAQs
The exotic Turkish beverage stirs some questions that are answered below.
Can I use Turkish coffee for espresso?
No, the extremely fine coffee grind of Turkish coffee will clog the portafilter on the espresso machine. Besides, the coffee beans themselves are made to deliver different tastes.
We don’t think that pressuring finely ground Arabica beans will end up well.
Neither will boiling espresso grind to try to make Turkish coffee.
Can I add milk to Turkish Coffee?
Traditionally, Turkish coffee is not served with milk.
However, you can try it if you like. There are no rules!
What is a cezve?
Traditionally, it’s a small copper pot with a wooden handle that’s made specifically for Turkish coffee. It’s usually hand hammered and can come with some ornate patterns. Sometimes it’s called an Ibrik, but we find that the cezve is the term used by the Turkish themselves.
The special design of the cezve is said to help coffee blend and brew better. Supposedly, the shape also helps keep the frothy foam in form while pouring into a cup.
We’ve told you before – the foam is super important here!
My Turkish coffee tastes gritty or muddy. Is that normal?
Yes. Having the coffee grounds in your drink will make it textured. It does take some time to get used to the feeling, especially if you are used to filtered coffee. It’s usually recommended to let the coffee settle for several minutes, allowing the fine grounds to settle to the bottom of the cup and making the grittiness less pronounced.
Does Turkish coffee have health benefits?
The benefits of Turkish coffee are no different than other coffee types. As mentioned before, the difference is merely in the preparation and brewing methods, not the coffee beans themselves.
Like regular coffee, Turkish coffee contains antioxidants called chlorogenic acids, which help improve blood circulation and balance blood sugar levels.
Can I grind Turkish coffee at home?
Yes, absolutely! But you will need to have a special Turkish coffee grinder. Some nicer home espresso grinders can handle a grind fine enough for brewing Turkish coffee, but check with the manufacturer first!
What is the best companion of Turkish coffee?
Desserts are usually Turkish coffee’s best friends. While traditionally served with Turkish delight, you can substitute with other sweets that are more readily available in your pantry. I’ve tried Turkish coffee with baklava, brownies or cookies, and it’s delicious together! Try pairing with other sweets and allow your palate and taste to guide you.
Turkish Coffee – A Fortune Teller
Beyond its role as a heritage hallmark, some Turkish people use their Turkish coffee cups as fortune-tellers. They’ll flip their cup over the plate after drinking it, making a wish. Then, they’ll flip it back to ‘read’ the traces of coffee, interpreting the signs. Not all people can do that; there are special coffee reading people!
While they mostly do it for fun, some people take it pretty seriously as good or bad omens.
Turkish coffee is a rich, interesting experience that coffee lovers should try at least once. The taste, the texture, and the aroma are so distinctly different from filter coffee and even espresso based coffee drinks.
Compared to a single shot of espresso, a 2.5oz cup of Turkish coffee will have more caffeine content – 60mg vs 45mg. Both drinks are very concentrated and very strong, but the larger serving results in more caffeine along with the fact that you’re actually ingesting some of the coffee grinds themselves!
We hope you enjoyed this article on the differences between Turkish coffee caffeine vs. regular coffee. If you’re up for it, go get yourself a Turkish cezve and a package of Arabica Turkish coffee, heat slowly on low or medium, and enjoy your coffee!
Stay caffeinated, friends!