You have to try the Armenian coffee experience if you call yourself a coffee connoisseur. Armenian coffee is known for its rich, dark flavor with a foamy crema on top. It is drunk like Espresso in a small cup. After drinking authentic Armenian coffee, you should have a thick, black sludge left in the cup.
Armenian coffee (Soorj) is made with exceptionally finely ground beans. The powder, water, and sugar are brewed in a long-handled Jezve pot on the stovetop. It is taken from the heat repeatedly when the crema or creamy top rises. The resultant strong, black coffee is served in small, demitasse cups.
Armenian coffee is comparable to Turkish and Middle-Eastern ways of serving coffee, but the methodology varies. You can easily make Armenian coffee at home. It is not about the specific type of coffee beans used but the method. To make Armenian coffee takes patience and focus, but it’s worth trying for sure.
Equipment You Need To Make Armenian Coffee
To make Armenian coffee at home does not take specialized equipment. Most kitchens will have variants of the following items available:
- Armenian coffee pots are called Jazzve. They have a rounded shape, a bottom that is wider than the top, a long handle, and a pouring spout. Jazzve pots are considered family heirlooms. They are often engraved with images of Lamassu, the Assyrian god with a human head and bull’s body.
- You can use any small saucepan as an alternative to the Armenian coffee pot.
- Armenian coffee cups are demitasse, espresso type cups. These cups are roughly half the size of a regular coffee cup and hold 2-3 fluid ounces of coffee.
- A long-handled spoon to stir the pot with.
- A Coffee grinder is optional as you can buy finely ground coffee. Note that it has to be ground more finely than regular Espresso coffee. It should look like powder, not grits.
How To Make Armenian Coffee
To make one 2-ounce cup of Armenian coffee will take 2 minutes preparation time and 10 minutes cooking time. Twelve minutes in all to have a unique coffee experience.
Ingredients to make Armenian coffee
Have the following ingredients ready beforehand.
- 1 teaspoon good quality coffee, ground to a fine powder
- 2 ounces water
- Sugar to taste, this is optional
- 1 cardamom pod, optional flavorant
Instructions for brewing Armenian coffee
Follow the steps below, with your pot, spoon, coffee cups, and ingredients at standby.
Firstly, measuring and stirring the ingredients is crucial before turning the heat on.
- Place a single Cardamom pod in the coffee cup.
- Measure out one cup of cold water and pour it into the pot.
- Add a full teaspoon of coffee to the water and stir well.
- Add sugar to taste and stir it thoroughly.
- Now turn the stove plate or flame on high.
- Be really attentive as the pot should not be allowed to boil.
- As soon as the coffee foam rises, remove the pot from the heat.
- Give the pot a stir and return to the stove.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 once or twice more. Never let it boil.
- Let the foam rise up a third time. The coffee is now ready.
- Pour the coffee slowly into the cup so that the foam stays on top.
Coffee Beans To Use For Making Armenian Coffee
Armenian coffee does not refer to coffee grown in Armenia. It refers to the fineness of the ground and how the coffee is made. Any good-quality coffee beans of a medium or dark roast are perfect for brewing Armenian coffee. Coffee beans ground and marketed as Armenian coffee can be bought online.
Historically, the first coffee that reached Armenia was probably Ethiopian beans that traveled via the Middle-east. Today Columbian, Ethiopian, or any quality mix of beans is used. For organically and sustainably grown Armenian coffee, look out for the Kavat (ԳAVAT) brand. They use Ethiopian beans from Shimket.
The Taste And Appearance Of Armenian Coffee
In Middle-Eastern coffee culture, the norm is small, intense, black coffees. Armenian coffee is tasty and strong, much like a cup of Espresso. The caffeine content is moderate, roughly 50 mg for a 2 fluid ounce cup. Compare this to a regular Espresso with 100mg to a 2 oz cup. Caffeine content is affected by many factors apart from brewing.
Armenian coffee is slightly thick in consistency. The Armenian name (surj, surtsch, or soorj) sounds like the happy slurping of a thick, black, flavorful brew. The mud-like residue at the bottom of the cup is not drunk. Armenian coffee has an intense and robust taste. Adding a Cardamom pod to the cup gives the coffee a fresh, floral flavor.
Tips When Making And Serving Armenian Coffee
In Armenia, coffee is served all day long. The 1000-year-old traditional way of brewing coffee is still the way it is done daily. Consider the following tips when brewing your own coffee, the Armenian way.
- Do not use Espresso coffee. The coarser ground beans will not provide the authentic Armenian coffee taste.
- Do not serve with hot or cold milk. You could replace the water in the recipe with milk and follow the exact cooking instructions.
- The crema layer (called ser in Armenia) on top is critical in getting the perfect results. Slowly pouring the coffee into the cup will help keep the creamy foam on top. Over-boiling the coffee will destroy the crema.
- When the sludge at the bottom of the cup appears, stop drinking. The Armenian custom is to turn the cup upside down to allow the sludge to run down the sides. Lift it up after a few minutes and see what signs and symbols might become visible. Coffee grounds are read much like tea leaves for fortune-telling. This is called Tasseology.
- Sip your Armenian coffee slowly while inhaling the full aroma. Coffee is served only at the end of a special event in Armenia.
- In Armenia, coffee is served with sweet pastries like nazook, chorek, or gata, flaky dough pastry with a custard filling.
The old Armenian way of drinking coffee brings a whole new experience to the life of a coffee lover. It is fun to make, drink, and read your fortune when the cup is turned over.