Turkish Coffee Vs Espresso – Which One Wins?

You will not believe the intensity of debates between Turkish coffee vs espresso. Both these ancient coffee brewing methods are too similar to be distinguished by most casual coffee-drinkers.

Whether you prefer Turkish coffee or espresso depends on what you expect from coffee. Both methods have their strengths and drawbacks. In this post, let us dive deeper into the debate and figure out which coffee is universally better.

Turkish Coffee vs Espresso: What are They?

Both Turkish coffee and espresso are the oldest methods of preparing coffee.

They both result in strong unsaturated coffee and are made of fine coffee grinds, and are served in demitasse cups.

Both coffee preparation methods originated in Europe. They’re both renowned in their prominent regions and are quite similar. However, both methods are quite different in preparation.

While Turkish coffee is made by boiling fine grinds in water, espresso is made by applying high-pressure. Let us look closer into the brewing processes.

Also Read: Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee!

Turkish Coffee: How is it Made?

how is turkish coffee made

Turkish Coffee preparation is as ancient art as to be acknowledged by UNESCO as an integral part of the Turkish culture. Resultantly, Turkish coffee is prepared by the traditional method of boiling coffee in a cezve, a small traditional stove pot.

The preparation involves adding coffee to water in the cezve and placing it on a stove to come to a boil. The mixture begins to froth once it is thoroughly boiled and prepared. You can now take the cezve off the stove and pour the coffee into demitasse cups.

Since Turkish coffee is exceptionally bold, you can add sugar into the boiling mix or can accompany the drink with dates.

An ancient Turkish proverb defines Turkish coffee as “black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love.”

Depending on the sugar you add, you get several types of Turkish coffees.

  • Cok sekerli: Has the highest sugar content.
  • Ortha sekerli: Has slightly less sugar.
  • Az sekerli: Only has a little bit of sugar.
  • Sade: sugar-less coffee.

Espresso: How is it Made?

how is espresso made

Espresso is another ancient process of coffee making.

Even though the result is similar to Turkish coffee, the method is drastically different. Espresso is made by forcefully passing pressurized steam through the coffee grounds.

Espresso is generally made through a specialized tool such as an espresso machine, an AeroPress, or a Moka pot. The best result can be achieved only from an espresso machine.

However, you can experiment with the different flavors you achieve with other tools.

The espresso shot you achieve is extremely bold. You could either consume it standalone or add water or foamed milk to achieve various drinks.

The most popular forms of espresso coffee are:

  • Americano: Espresso shot with water.
  • Latte: Espresso topped with steamed milk and milk froth.
  • Cappuccino: Espresso topped with steamed milk.

Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso: The Differences

Now that you know how both the coffees are made, you must be wondering if there are other differences in the resulting drinks. After all, both are unfiltered and bold coffee, and how much variation can there be.

You will be surprised to know how different both the drinks are.

The difference in preparation is not the only primary difference between the two. The difference also lies in the coffee bean used, how they’re roasted, and the brewing time required.

All these constitute to form drinks different flavored and fragrant drinks. They also make an impact on the caffeine content of the drinks.

In this section, let us explore the differences between Turkish coffee and espresso.

Bean Type

The difference in coffee beans used in both processes depends on your interest and budget. Even if you use the same beans for both methods, the other factors will significantly vary the brewing process and change the drinks’ taste and properties.

Even though you can use the same beans, both processes demand different beans for proper implementation. Turkish coffee is prepared at its best with Arabica beans. However, Turkish coffee is traditionally more versatile in bean acceptance to espresso.

Even espresso is made best with Robusta or Arabica beans, but you can also use specialized espresso beans for great results.

Brewing Time

Turkish coffee typically takes much longer to brew than espresso.

You get 2-3 cups of Turkish coffee from a single brew and only a single shot of espresso in one brew. But even if we equate the number of cups we get, Turkish coffee still takes longer.

You can prepare 2-3 cups of Turkish coffee in 2-3 minutes. However, a single shot of espresso does not take more than 30 seconds to be prepared. Espresso brewing time varies according to the number and strength of the desired shots.


The roast kind used for both coffees is not bound by preparation tradition, but by drinker’s preferences.

Even if there’s no restriction in the roast to be used, both coffee’s fundamental properties differ, influencing the roast available for instant mixes.

Turkish coffee is characterized by rich coffee flavor and aroma. Therefore, most drinkers prefer light roast as they are perfect at maintaining the aroma and flavor authenticity. Most espresso mixes, however, come in dark roast due to easy extraction from heavier coffee bodies.

You can use any roast for any coffee since it hardly makes any difference to the drink’s strength.


The biggest difference in Turkish coffee and espresso preparation is the grind size used for the two. While many factors can be similar, the grind size is the defining difference between Turkish coffee and espresso.

Espresso uses the finest grind size commonly known. However, the grind used for Turkish coffee is finer. Espresso grinds can be about 400 microns. However, Turkish grind is typically less than even 200 microns.

There is very little scope for adjustment when it comes to grinding size restrictions for the two coffees.

The finer grind size used for Turkish coffee allows for easy brewing and greater preservation of flavor. However, the fine yet coarser grind of the espresso beans allows for the fastest brewing ever.


Even if you use the same beans at the same roast, you will get different caffeine content in both coffees. Most of this is based on the grind size and the brewing time.

People generally believe dark roasts extract more caffeine. However, since espresso is brewed quickly, it doesn’t extract as much caffeine as Turkish coffee. The longer brewing time surely allows the hot water to extract as much caffeine as possible from the beans.

The surprising factor here is the volume you consume.

The drink’s volume dictates caffeine content. Therefore, if you drink an Americano, it will likely have more caffeine than an espresso shot. However, when all coffee types come down to the same volume, both Turkish coffee and espresso are extremely high on caffeine levels.

Taste and Flavor

The taste and flavor are the judgment criteria that differentiate the two coffees. Both have unique flavor profiles and hence are very easy to distinguish.

If you traditionally prepare Turkish coffee, you will get a drink rich and intense in bold coffee flavor. Since it is boiled and not filtered, you will begin the drink with a frothy texture leading to a smooth and grittier texture. The fine grounds make the coffee extremely aromatic and muddy. Turkish coffee is meant to be consumed slowly in small sips.

Espresso, on the other hand, is meant to be gulped in a single shot. It is generally extremely strong and flavorful. However, not as flavorful as the Turkish coffee. An espresso shot has finer consistency and texture than Turkish coffee. It is also darker in color and more roasted in the aroma.

Is Turkish Coffee Stronger Than an Espresso?

Turkish coffee is undoubtedly stronger than espresso. Not only does it have a more distinctive coffee flavor and aroma, but it also has higher caffeine content.

Espresso can have higher caffeine content when mixed with other drinks, making it larger in volume. However, you will consume slightly more caffeine in Turkish coffee than in an espresso shot when had as standalone drinks.

If you make any changes in the preparation process, you might land with a stronger espresso since caffeine is not very different. However, the taste is much stronger and ruralized in Turkish coffee.

Is Turkish Coffee Finer than Espresso?

Even though Turkish brew uses a finer grind, it is not as fine as espresso. The texture is generally muddy and gritty. Even though that is not something to complain about, espresso is finer than Turkish coffee.

Espresso is made to experience what pure coffee tastes and feels like. Turkish coffee, on the other hand, is made to enjoy the strongest coffee drinking experience.

Can I Use Espresso for Turkish Coffee?

It is not possible to make Turkish coffee with an espresso machine.

Even though both the processes result from pure, unfiltered coffee, the processes are extremely different. Not only is Turkish coffee twice as fine as espresso, but it also doesn’t involve ant steam.

If you want to have an easier way of preparing Turkish coffee, you can invest in an automatic Turkish coffee maker. It will get you authentic Turkish coffee without the hassle of using a stove pot on a flame.

Turkish Coffee vs. Espresso: What’s Your Choice?

There is no universal winner between Turkish coffee and espresso.

Both the coffees have something unique to offer in terms of experience and flavor. Therefore, the final verdict depends on the drinker.

If you prefer enjoying your coffee with multiple flavors and a rich aroma, you will like Turkish coffee. However, if you want pure coffee as it is in a much finer texture, you should go for espresso. The choice lies in your hands.

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