November 24 2020
Growing up in a Persian household, my parents and their Persian and Armenian friends often hosted gluttonous dinner parties with multiple entrees, sides, and desserts. The desserts--usually home made cream puffs or roulette cake--were always accompanied by Turkish coffee, and my mom's friend Tina would look in our cups and read our fortunes afterwards and she was SO GOOD at it.
As a child, I often wondered if my mom would fill her in on my life and she would then just relay what she knew about me during the readings, but when I came home during a college break, she knew things I never told my mom and really stunned me with her reading!
Obviously, not everyone is as good as Tina (I certainly am not!) but it's still fun to look in the cup for symbols and engage in a little novelty reading to spark conversation and analysis. There are books you can buy to help you decode the images but for the most part, they're pretty straightforward; for example, if you see a horse or a car or a plane, it means you're going to travel. It's just fun to look in the cup and let your imagination run wild as you decode what you see! But before you can do that, you'll need to make the coffee.
Turkish coffee is the same thing as Greek Coffee or Arabic Coffee and can be purchased at most Middle Eastern markets or in Greek Town if you live in Chicago. While you're getting your coffee, you'll need to get a briki (the coffee pot) too. You'll also need demitasse cups. The coffee is traditionally prepared with sugar but if you're not into sweet coffee, you can definitely make it without or adjust for less sugar. Also, it's unfiltered--the grounds will settle to the bottom of your cup so do not stir or swirl your coffee as you drink it. And definitely do not drink the grounds. You'll know you're done when you find grounds in your mouth. That's when it's time for fortunes! Here's how to make it:
INGREDIENTS / TOOLS
1 teaspoon finely ground Turkish coffee
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Briki / Ibrik / Cezve (the Turkish coffee pot)
Demitasse cup and saucer for serving
1. Fill your demitasse cup with water and pour into briki. One serving = 1 demitasse cup of water. If you're making coffee for 2 people, then pour 2 demitasse cups of water into the briki.
2. Add coffee and sugar (optional) to the water and heat on high. Hover over the pot and watch it--you're waiting for the foam to appear. Once you see the foam forming, remove the pot from the heat for a moment, then return it to the heat for a second time to generate more foam but don't let it come to a rolling boil.
3. Pour into a demitasse cup and serve!
4. Once you've drank all the coffee (you'll know because you'll feel some grounds in your mouth and the grounds will be clearly visible and comfortably settled at the bottle of your cup), place the saucer on *top* of your cup flip them over so that your cup is now upside down on your saucer, letting the grounds coat the inside of your cup.
5. Give them a few minutes to settle and look inside. See all those crazy cool patterns? Look for images in them, the way you look at clouds and see images. Telling fortunes is a fun way to end the night!