Many people rely on coffee to perk them up in the morning or to provide a boost of energy during the day.
For those who love a strong, rich brew, Turkish coffee may become the new go-to cup of joe.
This is because it’s prepared using a unique method that results in a robust flavor.
This article takes a detailed look at Turkish coffee and its possible health benefits.
Turkish coffee is a method of coffee preparation that originated in Middle Eastern and European countries, including Turkey, Iran and Greece.
It’s made by combining finely ground coffee beans with water (and often sugar) and bringing the liquid to a frothy foaming stage, just below boiling.
Turkish coffee is traditionally brewed in a pot called a cezve — though any small pot will do.
After it reaches the desired stage, the brew — including the coffee grinds — is distributed into cups.
The coffee grind powder sinks to the bottom of the cup and the remaining liquid is consumed.
Turkish coffee can be served unsweetened but is usually prepared with moderate amounts of sugar.
The spice cardamom is another common addition to Turkish coffee.
Summary Turkish coffee is a method of preparation that results in a highly caffeinated, unfiltered coffee beverage. It’s often sweetened with sugar, and cardamom may be added as well.
Since Turkish coffee is stronger than many other types of coffee, it may provide several health benefits.
Here are 5 reasons to try Turkish coffee.
1. May Enhance Athletic Performance
Caffeine is a well-studied, natural stimulant that can boost athletic and mental performance.
Turkish coffee provides a highly concentrated dose of caffeine that may be particularly beneficial to athletes.
A study in 20 athletes found that participants who consumed caffeinated Turkish coffee experienced significant performance benefits — including reaction time and energy levels — compared to those who drank decaffeinated Turkish coffee (2).
2. Contains Beneficial Compounds
Since it’s unfiltered, Turkish coffee may contain higher levels of the beneficial compounds found in traditionally brewed coffee.
Coffee beans contain beneficial compounds like chlorogenic acids, which are types of polyphenol antioxidants that provide health benefits.
A study showed that coffee prepared using finely ground coffee beans contained higher amounts of chlorogenic acids than coffee made with larger-sized grounds (5).
Coffee contains other powerful compounds as well, including terpenoids, which may reduce inflammation, fight infection and support heart health.
3. May Protect Against Mental Decline
Consuming caffeinated coffee may protect your brain against certain neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
For instance, a review of 11 studies in over 29,000 people found that those who consumed the most coffee had a 27% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (6).
Other studies have shown that coffee intake may reduce the risk of stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia as well (7).
4. May Have Protective Effects Against Certain Diseases
Drinking coffee may help reduce your risk of certain diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
Another study found that regular consumption of three to five cups of coffee per day is associated with a 15% reduction in heart disease risk (9).
5. Addition of Cardamom May Provide Further Benefits
Turkish coffee is often prepared using cardamom, a tasty spice that has been linked to several advantages to health.
For example, cardamom contains powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and thus lower your risk of chronic diseases.
One study in rats showed that cardamom extract effectively inhibited inflammatory compounds, such as TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor) and IL-6 (interleukin 6) (14).
Summary Drinking Turkish coffee may be effective in boosting energy levels, lowering inflammation and reducing your risk of several chronic diseases.
Although Turkish coffee may provide impressive health benefits, it has some potential drawbacks.
It’s regularly sweetened with sugar, which can have a negative impact on health.
While occasionally drinking a sweetened coffee won’t harm your health, regular consumption of any sugary beverage can increase your risk of several health issues, such as obesity, high triglyceride levels and type 2 diabetes (17, 18).
To avoid consuming too much sugar, drink Turkish coffee — or any coffee for that matter — without added sugar.
Using spices like cardamom or cinnamon and sugar alternatives like stevia in your coffee can help enhance flavor without added sugar.
Another potential downside to Turkish coffee is its high caffeine content.
What’s more, caffeine can raise blood pressure. Therefore, people with high blood pressure may want to avoid this particularly strong type of coffee (20).
Summary Turkish coffee may contain added sugar, though you can make your coffee healthier by using healthy spices or sugar alternatives instead. Its high caffeine content may also cause unpleasant side effects if you’re sensitive to the effects of this substance.
Those who like a rich brew may want to try Turkish coffee.
Follow these steps to make it at home:
- To make two cups of Turkish coffee, grind coffee beans into a fine powder using a hand-operated or electric grinder.
- Mix four heaping teaspoons of coffee grinds and sugar (if desired) into a small pot containing one cup (240 ml) of cold, filtered water.
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat.
- When the coffee sinks to the bottom of the pot, stir the ingredients a few times, being careful not to overmix it.
- Heat the mixture until a thick foam appears, right before the boiling stage.
- Pour the mixture into small cups and spoon any excess foam on top of the coffee.
- Allow the grinds to settle to the bottom of the cup before enjoying.
Although not necessary, sugar and cardamom can be added to the brew, depending on your individual taste.
Summary To make Turkish coffee, combine finely ground coffee beans with water and sugar and heat until a thick froth builds.
Rich and highly caffeinated, Turkish coffee is enjoyed in many countries around the world.
It’s unfiltered, so it has a higher concentration of caffeine and other beneficial compounds that may provide several health benefits.
However, people who are sensitive to caffeine may want to avoid this particularly strong type of coffee.
The best part for coffee lovers is that Turkish coffee is simple to make and can be brewed in the comfort of your own kitchen.