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.
- What Is Turkish Coffee?
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. Leaving the coffee unfiltered results in a much higher caffeine concentration compared to other preparation methods.
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.
- Potential Benefits
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.
- 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 of 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.
- 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. For example, chlorogenic acids have been shown to improve inflammation, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.
A study showed that coffee prepared using finely ground coffee beans contained higher amounts of chlorogenic acids than coffee made with larger-sized grounds.
Coffee contains other powerful compounds as well, including diterpenoids, which may reduce inflammation, fight infection and support heart health.
- 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. Other studies have shown that coffee intake may reduce the risk of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia as well.
- May Have Protective Effects Against Certain Diseases
Drinking coffee may help reduce your risk of certain diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
A review of 18 studies demonstrated that every cup of coffee consumed per day was associated with a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 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.
Habitual coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower risk of depression, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and liver cirrhosis.
- 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.
- How to Make Turkish Coffee
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.
Article by Jillian Kubala MS, RD – November 8, 2018