The History of Coffee Preparation

When we make a cup of coffee, we often either use a pot, a machine or a kettle. From using a coffee maker to going with the pot, you have many options. How, though, was coffee cultivated in the distance past? How did our ancestors brew up a cup of that coffee goodness?

Ancient Coffee Production Methods

Part of the argument around coffee production often is built around the concept of simplicity. For example, back in the day the old-school kind of coffee was made without any of the fancy tricks that we use in the modern world to make our coffees. For that reason, understanding how coffee is made is very important.

The ancient forms of coffee, though, are hard to research. For example, we know very little of the way that coffee was made prior to around 1100AD in African culture. Since coffee beans were never roasted or used in the manner we know of their use until the late European Renaissance, there is a clear confusion over how coffee was once made.

In fact, coffee was barely even a drink when it was first discovered. It was actually more likely to have been ‘drunk’ in a much thicker, almost soup-like consistency prior to leaving the origin of its cultivation in Africa. Other parts of Africa would make these fatty drinks up, that would also have that thick, soupy like nature.

Another way of making a coffee back in the day was to grind up the coffee beans as best they can, whip it harshly into hot water and then enjoy something that is like a fine mixture of a food and a drink at the same time. In fact, other people would make a porridge-like substance from their coffee, using both the bean and the cherry-like fruit that covers the bean to make a thick soup-like product.

Others would simply chew the beans like a nut or seed in a bid to get that positivity from the caffeine. With so many other options, though, the ancient production methods wildly differ from modern solutions.

A Step in Time

For years, the production and usage of coffee lingered in a very basic and hard to fathom ideal. It never really came on any further than the ideas noted above, with small adjustments to the formula rather than a radical form of change. However, around five hundred years ago, during the 16th Century, we witnessed a total change in how coffee would be created and then consumed in the first place.

Indeed, it was the beginning of the process that would see us move away from drinking thick, gruel-style bowls of soup-like coffee into something much more harmonious. During that period of time, we began to conceptualize the idea of a ‘brew’ and really made coffee into more than the product we had used it for until then.

This methodology was the supreme method for a long time to come, and was only really superseded by the modern methods that we use which can create such wonderful coffee blends. For example, it was noted that the 1600s Turkish method of coffee creation was night and day from what was used until that point.

For example, the old process used to involve a five-hour long steeping process that took a long time to prepare for. it would require the coffee to be ground up and very specifically adjusted and edited to fit with the particular methodology needed. Not only would this often leave the recipient with a more specific kind of coffee drink, but it was a wholesale change from the old coffee drinks that you might have been reading about above.

So, how did we go from making our coffee into this thick substance discussed above to a steeped brew that provided a much thinner texture and a more enjoyable aroma and taste sensation overall?

The Transformation of Coffee Preparation

For one, you will find that coffee being produced in this method makes a huge amount of sense. While the method is very time-consuming, it did provide the recipient of the brew with a wonderfully tasty and aromatic drink. It did also provide an easy way to make sure that the coffee would be managed in a heated cup of water without any of the same levels of sediment found in other methods.

A heat source and the famous ibrik pot was all that was needed to carry out this long-term method. While it took less time as coffee grinding became a more refined, especially as coffee began to be ground up in stone mills, the need for the old-school traditional pot became less prevalent. This changed how quite a lot of people both drank and viewed coffee, playing a critical role in its transformation.

That being said, coffee did begin to change quite a lot because of the way it was prepared. While it was once very standard, improved brewing methods made it much easier to unlock and obtain some of those rich and decadent scents and tastes from the past. This helped to utterly transform the entire industry, and made it a whole lot easier to develop further.

Coffee development did not stand still, however, and over time it began to change. One of the main problems was reducing sediment in the drink; if you drink a classic ibrik-made cup of coffee, it tends to be so finely powdered that significant sediment exists. With an espresso or a modern coffee, it’s more or less free of any sediment whatsoever.

This coffee is supposed to be managed at around 97 degrees – anything over this, and it becomes overly bitter and undergoes negative chemical reactions.

Making Classic Turkish Coffee

Part of the experience that immediately becomes quite enjoyable is the fact that Turkish coffee is quite easy to make. All that you need to do is get your ibrik pot (you can easily buy classic ibrik pots online), the coffee, sugar and spices alongside hot water and a safe source of heating. Then, make pour the water into the cups and then make sure that they are not overflowing or too deep.

Add in the ingredients into the pot, mixing together the spices and the sugar with a specific coffee grind that fits your own personal preference. Pour the water from the cups back into the ibrik, alongside the ingredients, and then start to stir it. Once it’s stirred, put it onto the heating source and do all that you can to make sure that the coffee does not boil; boiled coffee is spoiled coffee.

When your bubbles start to tighten up, you are at the stage whereby you can take the pot off and let it cool slightly. When this happens, pour around one third of the coffee into each cup. Let the ibrik to cool a touch more, before placing it back on the heating element and repeating this twice over.

Given the rich importance of this classic form of brewing, you can enjoy a coffee experience that truly is unlike any other. The richness and the quality of the taste that you get from this will be very different from just about any coffee that you buy from a store. Not only should it leave you with a very enjoyable and satisfying taste, but you should be able to fully get behind the richness of this kind of coffee.

It’s very different, but it will make sure that you can enjoy a much more decadent coffee style compared to what you are used to drinking. For a total change in your coffee conditions, start here. 

Paul Mason

coffee blogger

Interested to know more about Hot Coffee? Got a question about our content or perhaps want to make a suggestion? The feel free to contact us today.

We’ll be more than happy to take a look at any comments, requests or queries that you may have. Thanks for your time, and we hope that your next cup of coffee that you enjoy is the best one that you’ve had, every time! 

My Personal Favourites
Books We Recommend


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *