Turkish Sand Coffee – History, How It Works, & More

First things first, Turkish sand coffee isn’t a type of coffee or a roast level; it’s just another traditional brewing method you could use to make Turkish coffee.  

You probably don’t know much about it because it’s not as popular and common as the method where you use an electric pot or place a Turkish coffee pot directly over a stovetop or fire. 

Copper coffee pot in sand brewing  Turkish coffee

But it works its magic when you do it right. In fact, it may just be what you needed to experience a different side of traditional Turkish coffee that many people don’t know about. 

How does it work? Is it fast? Is it more efficient and convenient? Can I try it at home? 

I answer all these questions and reveal so much more about this method. 

Shall we start? Great! 

The History of Turkish Sand Coffee 

Coffee got into Europe via Yemen in the early 15th century. Soon after, Yemen’s governor introduced it to the sultan of the empire who was domiciled in Istanbul. 

That’s basically how coffee found its way into Turkish culture. 

Some rulers and hardline Muslim clerics would later try to ban it because they believed it was more of a drug than a drink. Unfortunately for them, coffee was already too popular to control, so they eventually let it go. 

While Turks may have been the first people to create what’s popularly known as Turkish coffee, it’s still not clear which culture in the ottoman empire introduced the idea of brewing Turkish coffee in the sand. Nonetheless, the concept is almost as old as the brew itself. 

Pot brewing Turkish coffee in sand

Here’s how it works. A pan filled with sand is placed over an open flame, stove, or other heat source and heated to a very high temperature.

Fast forward to today, this method is still common in some Asian and European cultures, especially among Turkish coffee enthusiasts and purists. Coffee shops use it too. Even better, we now have a Turkish sand coffee machine, which is basically an electric version. 

How Does Turkish Sand Coffee Work?  (Steps For Brewing)

Let’s take a look at the step by step process of how a Turkish sand coffee machine works.

What You Need 

  • Finely ground coffee
  • Cezve or ibrik
  • Cold water
  • Grinder (if you are using whole beans)
  • Measuring container or coffee mug 

Optional ingredients include sweeteners and spices 

The Process

Step 1: Fill a tray or a cooking vessel of equivalent size with sand and then heat it over an open flame or stove to a very high temperature.  Alternatively, you can use a Turkish coffee sand machine which works just as fine and is more convenient. 

Step 2: Measure a desirable amount of water and add it to your cezve or ibrik. You could use a coffee mug or a small container calibrated in ounces or other volume measurements 

Step 3: Using a Turkish coffee grinder, grind your whole beans to a super fine texture.  If you are using pre-ground coffee, make sure they are finely ground. 

Step 4: Measure two and a half teaspoonfuls of coffee per mug or 0.3 ounces(10 grams) per 100 milliliters of water and add it to your coffee pot

Step 5: Thoroughly mix the two (this is the point where you can also add sugar if you wish to) until well combined 

Step 6: Insert your pot several inches deep into the heated sand. Make sure it’s well covered with sand along the sides to allow for even heat distribution. 

Step 7: As the water becomes hot, stir the mixture to distribute the grounds and prevent lumps from forming. Wait until the brew starts to foam towards the neck of your pot but don’t let it boil. Remove the pot and repeat the process until the brew is frothy enough to your liking  

Step 8: Scoop up the foam on top of your brew and either dispose of it or set it down in your Turkish coffee cups. Carefully pour the coffee into the cups thereafter and allow the grounds to settle before taking your first sip.  To flavor it, dust your desired spices on the surface of the brew. 

Bonus tip: You can keep the cups warm by allowing them to stay on the heated sand surface for a few minutes. A prewarmed cup amplifies the delightful aroma and retains the cream for longer.  

Is Turkish Sand Coffee Different From Regular Turkish Coffee? 

Well, the most obvious difference between these two is the brewing style. One is brewed over heated sand while the other is directly heated over a stovetop, fire, or made in an electric coffee pot

You could say one is baked while the other is boiled. And that’s where the two take different paths when it comes to taste.

Brewing Turkish coffee on hot sand may be the slowest of the three methods but it yields a more flavorful and smoother beverage with a consistent taste. It’s a subtle difference you will quickly notice if you are keener on how your brew tastes. 

That’s not to say the other methods make less authentic Turkish coffee. It all comes down to how well you execute the brewing process, right from your choice of beans and water-coffee mixing ratios to the amount of heat used for brewing. 

Turkish Coffee Brewing in Sand

Back to the sand method. I wasn’t done with it yet. It also gives you full control over the heat. All you have to do is adjust the depth of your cezve or ibrik in the sand until you find the sweet spot. Be careful while at it to avoid overheating your coffee. 

Best Turkish Coffee Sand Machines

If you’re looking to get into Turkish coffee sand brewing, you will definitely need to get yourself a good Turkish sand coffee machine. Below, I have listed three sizes of sand machines that will fit any purpose. So, whether you’d like to personally brew from the comfort of your own home, or buy a machine for your commercial establishment – we’ve got you covered!

The Small Turkish Sand Coffee Machine by Sudamlasibazaar

Sudamlasibazaar – Small Turkish Coffee Sand Machine
Best Price
Small Sudamlasibazaar Sand Coffee Brewer
  • Made from Stainless Steel
  • Comes with a free copper Turkish coffee pot
  • Sand is included with brewer
  • Comes with a power adapter
  • Has a knob to control heating
  • Takes around 25 minutes to heat up
  • Pricey

To learn more about this compact brewer, check out our Sudamlasibazaar – Small Turkish Coffee Sand Machine Review

The Medium Turkish Sand Coffee Machine by Sudamlasibazaar

Sudamlasibazaar - Medium Turkish Coffee Sand Machine
Best Value
Medium Sudamlasibazaar Sand Coffee Brewer
  • Beautiful copper design
  • Includes free sand and a copper Turkish coffee pot
  • Can brew coffee for large parties
  • Includes a power adapter
  • Knob control setting
  • Takes 25 minutes to heat up
  • Pricey

Want to know more about this machine? Please check out our Sudamlasibazaar – Medium Turkish Coffee Sand Machine Review

The Large Turkish Sand Coffee Machine by Sudamlasibazaar

Sudamlasibazaar - Large Turkish Coffee Sand Machine
Editor’s Choice
Large Sudamlasibazaar Sand Coffee Brewer
  • Can serve large parties
  • Complimentary sand and a copper Turkish coffee pot
  • Great commercial brewer
  • Comes with a power adapter
  • Knob for heating control
  • Beautiful copper exterior
  • Takes about 25 minutes to heat up
  • Very pricey

For more information on this stunning sand machine, please check out our Sudamlasibazaar – Large Turkish Coffee Sand Machine Review

Our Conclusion

Turkish sand coffee may be a less common way of brewing, but it’s just as great as the more common methods, if not better. Do it right and you will have nothing less than a sweet great-tasting cup of traditional Turkish coffee. 

But to make the most of this brewing method, first, you have to do the following:

  • Choose the right coffee beans,  
  • Grind the beans to the correct grind size texture or use finely pre-ground coffee
  • Mix coffee with water in the right ratio
  • Set the pot in the sand at a depth that allows for slow even brewing 

There’s still so much to learn about this treasured Turkish brew. Like the best traditional pots to use or how it differs from Greek coffee. If you could spare a few minutes for that, you will leave this place more knowledgeable and better than you came in. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why do Turkish people make coffee in sand? 

Lots of Turks view this special brew as an essential part of their culture and heritage. It’s for this reason they prepare it as their ancestors did, incorporating every ritual and tradition to complete the Turkish coffee experience,

The use of heated sand for brewing is part of their culture and so, a good number of Turks prefer it solely for this reason. However, there are some who feel that coffee made using this method has more flavor and better taste. 

What kind of sand is used to make Turkish Coffee? 

Silica sand remains the best sand for brewing coffee. It goes by many names, common ones being quartz sand, industrial sand, and white sand. It’s clean and with zero impurities, which is pretty much the major quality baking sand should have. 

Don’t make your way into the nearest river, lake, or beach, and scoop the sand into a bucket, hoping it will do the job. Such sand is more likely filled with impurities that prevent proper heat distribution, not to mention an awful smell when heated 

What does Turkish coffee sand taste like?

Because of the way it’s brewed, this beverage has a strong intense bittersweet taste with bold flavors. However, you can add sweeteners and spices to customize the taste and flavor to your liking.

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