What is French coffee.
November 21, 2013 9:36 AM   Subscribe

I am currently in Kuwait drinking something they call 'French coffee'. I like it a lot but I cannot figure out what it is and the internet isn't helping (nor is the waitress). Its texture is mealy (unfintered), it's strong, there's a lot of sediment, no milk (none offered either), there seems to be a hint of sugar in it (was offered the option of extra when ordering) and it's served in a cup that is somewhat bigger than an espresso one but much smaller than an American coffee cup. It's definitely not Turkish coffee. What is this stuff and how do I make it at home?
posted by Skyanth to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's definitely not Turkish coffee.

Your description makes it sound a lot like Turkish coffee. Can you expand on what makes it different?
posted by contraption at 9:42 AM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: There's this recipe:
Turkish & French Coffee
is made by pulverizing freshly medium-roasted beans in a mortar and pestle, or grinding them very fine in a cylindrical brass coffee mill.

Preparing Turkish & French Coffee:

A) For serving 5 people use 7 small cups of water.
B) Use 7 tea spoons of Alnibari coffee.
C)Cardamom and Sugar as desired.

Direction to Prepare:-
1) Keep the water to boil then remove it to aside.
2) Put the coffee inside the boiled water (Sugar & Cardamom as desired).
3) Stir and put it back on the heat for few minutes until it boils again, you will see the coffee foam will rise.
4) Repeat this procedure once or twice only.
5) In order to serve the coffee, please pour little in each cup then fill the cups in order to have the foam equally in each cup.
A) This is one of our popular way of preparing the coffee, sugar as desired.
B) For French Coffee do the same principle as the above.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:45 AM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I was in England I'd buy a blend of coffee called "French blend" that was flavored with chickory. Maybe that's the flavor that's distinguishing it from Turkish coffee like you've had before?
posted by mibo at 9:51 AM on November 21, 2013

And here's a video (in Arabic) that seems to show the same method as above.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:52 AM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: What makes it different from Turkish: the menu offers both 'French coffee' and 'Turkish coffee'. I assume it would not if they were the same.

This is the second time I had it. The other place also had French and Turkish coffee as different options on the menu.

I must admit I have not yet tasted the Turkish coffee.

EDIT: cardamom! I did taste cardamom, I just didn't believe my own tastebuds.
posted by Skyanth at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2013

Best answer: (Some people who would order French coffee would not order Turkish coffee.)
posted by incessant at 9:56 AM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Another recipe - it seems like the ground "French coffee" they use is really pale, and I saw a comment somewhere that French coffee is a mixture of Turkish coffee and powdered milk which might make it look like that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:57 AM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: incessant: wow, really? I'm drinking racist coffee? Oh dear.
posted by Skyanth at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Recently a date made me dinner at his place and made us what he called French coffee. It was exactly like Turkish coffee except that instead of being done in a pot it was done in a little fiddly metal over-glass drip contraption with a metal sieve to separate out (most, but not all) of the grounds. The contraption had a screw-on bit that made it a little like a French press, except that there was no press, just gravity.

I have very little working coffee knowledge, I base this solely on the fact that he called it French coffee. It was good.
posted by phunniemee at 10:00 AM on November 21, 2013

This. This was the metal thing. Apparently it's a French-Vietnamese coffee press.
posted by phunniemee at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2013

For what it is worth, in Seattle, a lot of Vietnamese groceries sell Cafe Du Monde ground coffee with chickory (made in New Orleans) for making "Vietnamese" coffee.
posted by Good Brain at 10:06 AM on November 21, 2013

Best answer: Do the experiment! Order a cup of each and compare!
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:12 AM on November 21, 2013 [8 favorites]

phunniemee, that sounds a lot like the gadget that is used to make Vietnamese coffee.

In Detroit, you can't get Turkish coffee, but Arabic coffee (the exact same thing) is everywhere. And this sounds just like Arabic coffee to me.
posted by QIbHom at 10:18 AM on November 21, 2013

And don't call it Turkish in Greece, where this brew is known as Greek coffee.

Apparently it's a French-Vietnamese coffee press.

A French press is one thing, Vietnamese coffee quite another. Vietnamese coffee employs gravity to get the coffee into the cup (which is traditionally pre-loaded with some condensed milk), but the French Press has a plunger which is manipulated by the user.
posted by Rash at 11:05 AM on November 21, 2013

At the vaguely Eastern European/Central Asian market near me I bought some Turkish coffee in a bag that said "Turkish Coffee". The friendly store owner said to me in a very purposeful way "so you like the European style coffee?". I said yes and didn’t pursue it, but it seemed obvious that there are people who have an issue with the name.

I don’t know what the French coffee is. Sometimes "Arabic" coffee is unfiltered with a lot of cardamom.
posted by bongo_x at 11:55 AM on November 21, 2013

And don't call it Turkish in Greece, where this brew is known as Greek coffee.

Excellent advice. I once saw a guy almost get thrown out of a Greek restaurant in my town for ordering "Turkish" coffee. The restaurant owner really got hot about it. Old wars and resentments last forever.

As for the distinctions between Turkish and French coffee for the Middle East, from several videos I saw on the web it seems like the coffee itself is much the same in either case but the French version has some additions, such as sugar, cocoa, or frothed milk (it differed by video).
posted by aught at 2:06 PM on November 21, 2013

It's called Armenian coffee in Armenia, if you ever find yourself there.
posted by town of cats at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: After ordering the Turkish coffee this morning, I can report that it is indeed exactly the same as the 'French coffee' down to color, cardamom content and even way of serving. Thanks for clearing this up!
posted by Skyanth at 12:14 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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