Turkish Coffee Vs. Espresso (Explained)

If you are on the search for a strong cup of coffee, you will have most likely stumbled across suggestions such as Espresso or maybe even Turkish coffee. This may have you wondering the difference between these two types of coffee; surely they can not be that different?

Although Espresso and Turkish coffee are both strongly brewed cups of coffee, they are made very differently. Espresso is brewed using a high-pressure espresso machine. Turkish coffee is cooked on the stove using a pot, or traditionally, a cezve.

Other than the fact that these coffees will both give you a strong cup of coffee, there is very little that is the same about Turkish coffee and espresso coffee. Let us take a closer look at these two different types of coffee.

Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso Coffee: The Coffee Beans

One of the main differences between Espresso and Turkish coffee is the beans that are used and the way those beans are ground.

Turkish Coffee Beans

turkish coffee fine grind

To yield the greatest results out of your Turkish coffee, you should use an arabica coffee beans

The reason for this is because, with an Arabica bean, you can roast it to a very dark roast without the bean burning, and Turkish coffee needs a dark roast bean in order to yield its best results.

Once you have the perfect beans for your Turkish coffee, you will need to grind them to the perfect ground, which is where the biggest difference between Turkish coffee and other coffee comes in.

Turkish coffee requires the beans to be ground to an ultra-fine coarseness; the consistency should resemble cocoa powder or flour.

So, to make a good cup of Turkish coffee, the beans need to be: ultra-fine dark roast arabica beans.

Espresso Coffee Beans

Espresso beans can be almost any bean, as long as the beans are roasted longer than the average coffee bean.

This means that using an arabica bean for Espresso would also be a great option. However, unlike Turkish coffee, espresso coffee beans can also be Robusta, and the coffee will still come out perfectly fine.

Espresso beans need to be ground finer than regular coffee but not nearly as fine as Turkish coffee grinds.

If you touch the ground espresso beans, they should have a soft texture. If you pinch the grounds, they should clump in the middle where the most pressure was applied between your fingers; if it does not clump, the grinds are too coarse still.

Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso Coffee: How They Are Made

These two different coffees are prepared in completely different ways, so let us look at how to prepare a cup of Turkish coffee and a cup of Espresso.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is actually cooked more than brewed; here is how you do it:

  • In your pot or cezve, add about 1.7oz of water per cup of coffee you want to make
  • Add the desired amount of sugar per cup into the water, and stir well. Try to dissolve as much of the sugar into the water as possible.
  • Move your pot or cezve to the stove and bring the water to a boil. Stir the water while it is heating up to dissolve any sugar that has not yet been dissolved.
  • Once this water has reached a boil, you can remove it from the heat and add one teaspoon of coffee for every cup of coffee you are making; 1 cup of coffee = 1 teaspoon of coffee grinds.
  • Mix the grinds in well and return the pot or cezve to the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Remove your pot or cezve from the heat as soon as it begins to boil, and remove all foam from the top.
  • Mix well, and return to heat. Once it reaches a boil, once again, remove it from the heat right away and set it aside for the remaining powder to settle as the bottom of your pot or cezve.
  • You can then distribute the coffee into each mug.

Turkish coffee is usually served black, possibly with some sugar, in a small to medium mug, without being filtered. This means that the last sip in the mug will usually be filled with fine grounds.

Espresso Coffee

espresso brewing

To make a cup of espresso coffee, you will need to use a high-pressure machine such as an espresso machine or an AeroPress.

Here is how you make Espresso in an espresso machine:

  • You will need to use your finely ground coffee grounds and place them in the portafilter of your espresso machine.
  • Use your tamper and lightly push down on the grounds to create a tightly packed and leveled coffee mound in the portafilter.
  • Place your portafilter into the espresso machine. 
  • Place your espresso mug, or a very small mug, underneath the portafilter’s spouts.
  • Turn on the switch and fill your espresso mug as desired. 

Espresso is usually served black in a very small espresso mug but can also be added to milk that has been frothed to different consistencies to create drinks such as a cappuccino or latte; however, an espresso is simply the coffee on its own, possibly with some sugar.

The Final Word

As you can see, these two coffees are entirely different from ground to cup and everything in between.

While Turkish coffee is cooked on the stove and has a relatively long preparation process, Espresso is generally made using an espresso machine and is made in a matter of a few minutes.

Espresso can use most dark roast beans as long as they are ground to the right consistency, while Turkish coffee will need an arabica bean, and it will need to be ground into a fine coffee powder.

However, Turkish coffee and Espresso are generally both served either black or black with some sugar, and both will make a very strong cup of coffee.

This means that if you are a fan of strong coffee, both these coffees are worth trying as they will both yield a great strong flavored cup of coffee.