Both Turkish coffee and Espresso are delicious types of coffee with long histories spanning over more than five centuries and millions of lovers worldwide.
As they are both tasty ways of getting your daily dose of caffeine, it’s normal to want to compare them to each other and ask “Is Turkish coffee stronger than Espresso?”
Taking the total dissolved solids, caffeine content and potency of flavour into account, it can be said that Espresso is a stronger coffee than Turkish coffee. So, no Turkish coffee is not stronger than Espresso.
If you’re not satisfied with the short and to-the-point answer, let’s dive in and take a more detailed look into what coffee strength means and how Espresso and Turkish coffee compare on that front.
What does coffee strength even mean?
Strength of a cup of coffee might sound like a subjective opinion, but just like anything, there is a method to the madness.
It all boils down to total dissolved solids, caffeine content of the coffee and potency of flavour. It’s simply how much of a kick a cup of coffee has. (1) (2)
Total dissolved solids is the amount of all the coffee grounds that has broken down into the water during the brewing process.
Caffeine content is how much caffeine a serving has. It’s affected by many variables such as the roasting level, type of beans and brewing method used. For example if the beans are roasted for longer, this burns off some of the caffeine and leaves you with beans with less caffeine in them. Caffeine content of a cup of coffee is measured using UV spectroscopy. You can find a list of beverages and their caffeine value here.
Potency of flavour is the subjective part of the strength of coffee. It’s simply how potent the taste of coffee is. A balance of different flavours is ideal in high quality coffee. Quality of beans used to brew your coffee influences the taste and potency greatly.
How is total dissolved solids (TDS) calculated?
Total dissolved solids in coffee is measured with a device called a refractometer. A refractometer measures how thick a liqud is by calculating how much the light’s angle changes while going through it.
First the refractometer’s value is resetted with distilled water.
Then coffee is mixed well and a sample is taken. This way refractometer shows how thick the liquid is.
And the measurement is repeated 3 times to get the same reading.
Espresso and Its Features
A traditional serving of Espresso is 30ml (1-ounce) and contains 65mg of caffeine.
Coffee beans to make Espresso are finely ground and one serving usually has around 7 grams of ground coffee. Espresso and Turkish coffee are quite similar in their potency of flavour.
Although you can prepare an Espresso from any type of roast, medium or medium-dark is usually the way to go and contrary to popular belief, bean choice is irrelevant. What matters with a nice cup of Espresso is the method that’s used to prepare it.
The technique for making Espresso involves an Espresso machine that takes in hot water around 200°F (93°C), pressurizes it and then forces this pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans to “pull out” an Espresso shot. Espresso usually has 7.5% to 9.5% total dissolved solids. (3)
Turkish Coffee and Its Features
One serving of Turkish coffee is 65ml (around 2-ounces) and contains 60mg of caffeine. (4)
Coffee beans to make Turkish coffee are even more finely ground than Espresso, to the point of becoming powder-like and one serving has around 6 grams of ground coffee. Although traditionally coffee beans such as Yemen mocha or Ethiopian blends were used, modern Turkish coffee is made from Rio manas and tastes best with a dark roast.
A cup of Turkish coffee is made by simply boiling the finely ground coffee. But it requires a bit of experience since a cup of properly made Turkish coffee is judged by its foam.
One factor that’s unique to Turkish coffee is that because it’s prepared by boiling the grounds and not filtering the residue, it’s extraction yield is 100% (considered over-extraction by Western standards), which means that all of the coffee grounds you put in ends up in your cup.
When it comes to measuring the total dissolved solids of the Turkish coffee, the sediment needs to be taken into account as well.
If we consider that the “suspended” solids at the bottom of Turkish coffee make up around half of the whole solids, this leaves us with an estimated total dissolved solids ratio of %4.5
Whether you like Turkish coffee or Espresso, they are both well-respected in the coffee world and both are incredible options for quenching your need for a fine cup of liquid heaven.
Especially Turkish coffee is a spectacular choice that you can easily make with a couple of tools and ingredients you can find here.
With a higher total dissolved solids ratio and slightly more caffeine content per serving, Espresso can be considered stronger than Turkish coffee.
And you’ve got to bear in mind that Turkish coffee, unlike many Western counterparts, is not something you drink to get energized but it’s more of a social lubricant and something you drink to relax and unwind.
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