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The Ultimate Turkish Coffee Ibrik/Cezve Buying Guide
Written by: Garrett Oden
Turkish coffee has an air of romance around it. The hands-on process feels ancient—and it is. The device itself, called an ibrik or cezve, even has a particularly exotic energy. I highly suggest you experience this time-tested brewing method yourself, and I’d love to help you get started.
Turkish coffee makers come in several sizes, materials, and designs, so we’ll walk through those together. We’ll also cover some of the less-considered aspects of the process, like the handle material and the grinder (hint: many grinders aren’t really suitable for this style of brewing).
Let’s put together a Turkish coffee set that’s right for your style and coffee habits.
How To Pick The Perfect Ibrik/Cezve
There are really three things you need to decide before buying your own ibrik/cezve: the body material, the handle material, and the brewer capacity. Let’s explore these decisions together.
Choosing A Body Material
Turkish coffee makers come primarily in three materials: brass, copper, and stainless steel. Each material has advantages as well as disadvantages, though they are all capable of producing incredible Turkish coffee.
- Brass — This traditional gold-toned metal can look a bit antiquated, but when in the midst of a kitchen chasing an older style, it can appear quite elegant. Brass as a metal doesn’t rust and is generally less corrosive than copper, so you can count on a long product lifespan.
- Copper — This metal also cannot rust, but it can corrode over the course of decades. For this reason, most copper pots are lined with tin on the inside to increase the product lifespan. Copper’s a stylish metal in modern kitchens, and many of these ibriks come with elegant designs hammered into the sides.
- Stainless Steel — You know stainless steel. It’s modern, it’s sleek, and it’s super easy to clean. While it doesn’t really capture as much of that romance, it’s definitely the longest-lasting material for ibriks and is dishwasher-safe.
All three of these materials are safe for making coffee and brew a good strong cup. If you’re a frequent Turkish coffee lover, go ahead and get an old-school copper or brass ibrik as well as a sleek stainless steel one. Then you have the option of super easy cleaning or traditional appeal.
Choosing A Handle Material
Most newcomers to Turkish coffee simply forget to consider the handle material. After all, isn’t it the body material that matters most? Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean the handle isn’t important.
Stainless steel pots usually come with a stainless steel or plastic handle. Since you’re placing the pot directly onto the stove, I highly suggest avoid plastic handles—even if they are food-grade and non-burning. They just don’t feel fitting for such an esteemed and ancient brewing method. Plus, I usually just avoid plastic if I can help it.
Copper and brass ibriks typically have either a wooden or brass handle. Both of these materials are safe to handle and long-lasting, though I have to say I am partial to the brass handles.
If you end up going with a smaller brewer size, I suggest avoiding a metal handle because it’s likely to become very hot so close over the stove. In this case, I would go with a wooden handle.
How Big Should Your Ibrik/Cezve Be?
Turkish coffee pots come in several sizes ranging from 1-serving to 6-servings. It’s important to remember that Turkish coffee is consumed as a small, 2-3-ounce shot, not as a big black cup of coffee.
It’s generally not advised to get a large 6-serving ibrik if you think you really only need to make two servings at a time. The technique doesn’t really allow that to work well, so it’s best to get a pot that’s designed for your anticipated serving size.
1-serving pots tend to be pretty small. So small, in fact, that they’re the ones that are going to be easier to burn your hand because you have to hold it so close to the stove. For this reason, I believe getting a 2-serving size is more practical overall. You can make coffee for 1-2 people but the slightly larger size keeps your hands safe.
If you think you may be making Turkish coffee for many guests, go ahead and get a larger 5 or 6-serving pot as well. No reason not to have both a large and a small if you’re a big Turkish fan.
Do You Need A Special Turkish Coffee Grinder?
If you’ve ever felt Turkish ground coffee, you know that it’s insanely fine. Like, a super fine powder that doesn’t even resemble coffee (even finer than espresso!). Sure, some people use “regular” ground coffee, but that’s not how it’s meant to be done.
To achieve such a fine grind, you need a pretty powerful grinder. Most electric grinders under $250 are not capable of producing Turkish grounds. Thankfully, because of how manual grinders are designed, many of them can.
How To Grind For Turkish Coffee With A Manual Grinder
If you’re using a JavaPresse Burr Grinder or something similar, you’re going to want turn the grind adjustment knob all the way closed so that the burrs are touching. Now turn the knob just one or two clicks open to allow a tiny amount of space between the burrs.
Now you’re ready to grind for Turkish coffee. It’s going to take a while longer than it would for, say, pour over coffee (because the grind is so fine), but you’re good to go!
What About Turkish Coffee Grinders?
While many manual grinders can make Turkish grounds, they’re not really created for that purpose. There are such things, however, as “Turkish coffee grinders”. These antique-looking devices are designed specifically for grinding coffee super finely.
Most of these grinders also have adjustable burrs, but the adjustments are very small. So instead of turning the knob five clicks and moving from a Turkish grind to pour over coffee grind, those five clicks still leave you in the Turkish coffee realm.
This gives you a bit more flexibility over the grind size, since there are literally more usable settings for Turkish coffee. However, I don’t really know of anyone that “dials in” their turkish coffee and I’m not sure it would make a big difference anyway since the final brew is so intense.
I suggest sticking with a normal manual coffee grinder you can also use for other brewing methods unless you love the traditional appeal of a dedicated Turkish grinder.
Making Turkish coffee doesn’t require a ton of specific gear—just a reliable ibrik and a capable grinder. This makes it a fairly accessible brew method if you’re curious about the process and coffee.
Of course, Turkish coffee does tend to be pretty intense and bitter, but that’s because the grounds are usually really stale and low-grade. Start with specialty-grade, freshly roasted beans, however, and Turkish coffee can actually be bursting with flavor and freshness.
Trust me—I’ve had everything from stale pre-ground coffee to an award-winning geisha coffee in this method, and YES, the coffee quality really does make a dramatic difference.
Join our Coffee Club and we’ll send you beans from some of the best small-batch coffee farms in the world. Once these specialty-grade beans arrive at our facility, we roast and ship them to you on the same day—so you know you’re getting the freshest coffee possible.
Check out the Club for yourself!