Turkish coffee is a famous delicacy. It’s thicker than coffee brewed in America—it might even be thicker than coffee brewed anywhere else—and also much stronger. One reason is that Turkish coffee grounds are very fine, and remain in the cup instead of being filtered out, so you end up drinking a rich, frothy beverage in which only the heaviest grinds sink to the bottom.
It’s an acquired taste, certainly, but one that Turks and visitors to Turkey have enjoyed for centuries. The entire process uses special equipment and forms a traditional ritual unto itself. And to these Turkish tourists, it looks almost like magic.
This video posits that there’s something supernatural happening in this coffee pot—as if it is magically filling with coffee. But what’s really going on?
It turns out, this is a traditional method of brewing Turkish coffee. Sometimes called “Turkish Sand Coffee,” the drink is brewed in a special, wide-bottomed metal pot called a cezve. The cezve has a long handle, and the brewer sets the pot in a large basin filled with sand over an open flame. The sand in the basin is heated and the brewer can manipulate the pot in the sand to create the perfect conditions for the coffee. Due to the metal and the sand that can completely surround it, the water and coffee placed in the cezve foams up nearly instantaneously.
The brewer then pours this beverage into the demitasse cup the coffee is served in, traditionally repeating the “foaming” action two or three times per cup.