November 9, 2010

Turkish Coffee Grinder

Many years ago, Aya bought a brass coffee grinder in Istanbul. She only used it once and we have had it on the shelf for ages. After reading more about how important it is to have a proper grind for a good cup of coffee, we decided to give the thing a try.

In a nutshell, a consistent grind means the hot water acts on each grain more or less equally, drawing out ("extracting") just enough of the good stuff.
A consistent grind helps achieve a consistent extraction.

Our whirling-blade grinder gives a very inconsistent grind. Sometimes there are large bits, even whole beans, remaining while some grounds are too fine. We have also read that the blades can overheat the grounds, giving a burnt flavour.

The Turkish grinder is a beautiful thing; good heft and a lovely, warm colour.

Beans in the top.

Cap and handle on; first grind.

The first test was far too fine, since the grinder is naturally meant for Turkish coffee. These grounds may look big, but are actually clumps of extremely fine coffee powder. This would jam up our little stove-top pot.

There is a big nut at the bottom, so we gave this a turn and tried again.

Second grind.

After a few tests, turning the nut back and forth, we got a nice fineness.
The grind is very, very consistent.

The grounds are packed in and gently tamped down. If tamped down too hard, the grounds will expand as they get wet, jamming the flow of hot water and activating the pressure valve.

Screw on the top.

Onto the fire.

Mmm, coffeecoffeccoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee.

Foam from a jar of hot milk which has been shaken energetically.
More on this in another post some day.

A thing of beauty.

We have tasted this coffee a few times already, but this time it was very different. The flavour was deeper, richer and had a cocoa-like finish that carried on for a startlingly long time. There was no bitterness at the end of a sip. We wouldn't have guessed it was made from the same beans.

Pursuing the variables that go into making a good cup of coffee can be taken way too far. See, for example, some of the contributors to this very informative site. Having a proper grinder, however, now seems a necessity.

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