Turkish Coffee Cups – Comprehensive Information
Turkish Coffee Cups (“Fincan”) – The Best Way to Serve Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee cups (called “fincan”) are a necessity for serving Turkish coffee. Their purpose is to let people enjoying a strong coffee in small quantity.
The Turkish coffee serving cup (a lot of times referred as demitasse cup) must have all the properties that are needed to keep the beverage hot for a long period of time. That’s why the espresso cups are not always the right choice.
Turkish coffee has a higher temperature than espresso due to its making method (almost boiling level). On the other hand espresso is usually drunk as a shot in coffee bars. Turkish coffee is meant to last for long time since is served after a meal.
Turkish coffee cups have the correct thickness of porcelain in order to perform the best serving task. They can hold steady high temperature for the time needed for the grounds to settle down. Then they keep the beverage hot for certain time.
As it stated in our Turkish coffee recipe, preheating cups is not in the practices of this method. The drinking beverage will exceed the normal temperature which is suitable for sipping and enjoying coffee. Turkish coffee cups look like espresso cups but their unique characteristics categorize them in a different tableware group.
Turkish coffee cups are an integral and important part of the Turkish coffee ritual. Alongside with a Turkish pot and a Turkish mill will constitute a complete set of utensils needed for making and presenting Turkish coffee. Not to mention that without them you will never be able to see your fortune in the grounds that are left at the bottom…
Turkish Coffee Cups Historical Path
These new cups were the half size of a typical tea cup of that time. It could hold 2-3 fl. oz. / 60-90 ml of liquid. They have a height of 2-2.5 in. / 5-6 cm. They were accompanied by saucers (“coffee stands”) which had a diameter of 4-4.5 in. / 10-12 cm.
In its early stages Turkish coffee was served in different shapes and materials. Metal cylinder cans with a handle and clay cups were the most favorable. Another Ottoman style cup was the one that a glass or ceramic cup was placed into a metal frame.
In 1850 porcelain and bone china replaced the old materials. A new era of Turkish coffee cups production began. A variety of forms with handmade artistic designs flourished in Turkey.
Turkish Coffee Cup Size
The size of a Turkish coffee cup has changed through its long history. It appeared as a tiny cup and in a few occasions it became very huge (“kallavi”).
Nowadays, the most standard size is the Turkish coffee cup that can hold 2-2.5 fl. oz. / 60-75 ml. of liquid. Some manufacturers tend to show varieties of 2.5-3 fl. oz / 80-100 ml. as espresso / Turkish coffee cups but are not suitable for the correct serving of Turkish coffee. The saying “more is merrier” doesn’t apply here.
Common Types of Turkish Coffee Cups
The demitasse cup with handle is the most common and popular Turkish coffee cup type. A few more varieties though are used mostly by tradition lovers.
Two of them are well known worldwide:
(1) The “no handle” Turkish coffee cups (also known as “Gawa” or “Mirra” in Arabic).
They used to be the traditional Turkish coffee cups of the past. The cup was hold carefully by someone’s fingertips while sipping the coffee.
These cups are also called as “Ottoman cups”. This metal basket is known as “zarf”. Its purpose is to protect the drinker’s fingers from burning.
They are made of nickel-plated copper, tinned copper, silver or gold with exclusive motifs, gems and other precious ornaments. Some of them are considered as art pieces. Very popular during Ottoman times they are nowadays used for serving “special persons”.
Turkish Porcelain Regions and Manufacturers
During the 15th and 16th century Iznik was the main producer of high quality ceramics in Turkey. For economic reasons the production declined and slowly-slowly closed down. Kütahya took over the production in the mid of the 20th century.
Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an interesting article explaining in details the usage of clay in traditional arts.
The most known manufacturers of the region are:
- Kütahya Porselen
- Güral Porselen
Established in 1973. It is considered as one of the biggest companies worldwide in ceramic production. It focuses on high quality handcrafted ceramic production. It operates domestically (more than 40 shops in mainland) and abroad by exporting a lot of its production.
Established in 1989. It’s a major producer of porcelain tableware and exports to many countries. It combines craftsmanship and high technology. The firm is globally recognized for creativity in designs as well as marketing policies.
Both names guarantee excellent Turkish coffee cups. They are indeed the representatives of Turkish tradition in an applied artwork of great quality and workmanship.
Watch the following video to learn the importance of Iznik Cini (tiles) in the Turkish culture and how they influenced the designs on Turkish coffee cups.
Turkish Coffee Cups Buying Criteria
Turkish coffee cups are unique coffee utensils for making Turkish coffee. They play a significant part in the presentation of the coffee. Four initial criteria should be:
- Purpose (Daily use or special occasions)
- Needed quantity (Singles or Sets)
- Price (Low-Mediocre-High)
- Design (Shape of the cups as well motifs on them)
If you would move a step forward then you might also take into account parameters like country of origin, manufacturer, porcelain quality and culture-tradition (especially for the antique look Ottoman style cups with lid which are pretty expensive).
For daily usage try something simple and not too expensive. If you buy a set check if the item is also sold in singles in case you want a replacement.
For special occasions you should choose a set that represents your personality and at the same time how much you respect your guests. Look for Turkish coffee cup sets with workmanship and culture expression.
Turkish Coffee Cups Cleaning Tips
Cleaning the Turkish coffee cups is the final step of the trip to mastering this coffee making method. The target now is to protect their polishing and design.
Tip #1. Wash them by hand, using neutral-aroma detergents (best without any scent) and warm (not HOT) water. Then rinse them with a lot of cold water.
Tip #2. Dry them either by letting them upside down on a towel or by rubbing them with a paper towel or very soft cotton cloth.
Tip #3. DO NOT place Turkish coffee cups in a dishwasher. There is a possibility to ruin the existing designs or for the plain ones to diminish their sparkling appearance.