May 12, 2009

Turkish coffee & spice grinders

turkish-grinders-500x1101By Amy Scattergood, May 11, 2009

These utterly gorgeous contraptions are brass grinders, made for pepper or other spices, or for the grinding of Turkish coffee. They’re both from Turkey: the smaller of the two I bought at the spice bazaar in Istanbul a few years ago; the larger is from 
Turkish Coffee World, a fantastic online site that sells Turkish coffee paraphernalia. 

Turkish Coffee World is run by Istanbul native Mustafa Arat, who operates a one-man company out of his home in the sun-drenched suburban world of swimming pools and occasional palm trees in Corona, California. Arat imports his coffee grinders and pots (cezve) and cups from Turkey, as well as coffee itself from Mehmet Efendian Istanbul coffee company which was founded in 1871. 

The grinders are stunningly pretty; they’re also seemingly indestructable, unlike all the other coffee grinders that have passed through my kitchen to date. You can adjust the grind by turning the screws on the side. The tall grinder grinds very finely, which is how Turkish coffee is ground, like powder. I’ve set the smaller of the two to grind more coarsely, which is how I like my black pepper. I’ve also used it for allspice, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns.

If you don’t have one of these, by the way, and are still interested in making Turkish coffee at home (very easy: see Arat’s site for how to do this), you can use any medium roast coffee and simply grind it at the grocery store. It turns out that most of the public coffee grinders at grocery stores have settings for Turkish coffee grind, which I didn’t realize until Arat told me to check. It’s worth getting one of these though, so you don’t have to grind your Tellicherry peppercorns at Trader Joe’s, which I don’t imagine they’d appreciate.