It is known that writers just LOVE coffee and pretty much everything that has coffee in it that will make them stay awake and concentrated on the writing. Losing a thought or forgetting where you were going with the plot can be a bitch sometimes; therefore, we overdose on coffee to keep our creative process running. Balkan is famous for heavy drinkers, coffee consumation, cigarettes and long hour parties. Almost every Balkan Boy or Girl knows how to make one, and they will gladly prepare a fresh pot whenever a guest arrives. When a Girl makes a good coffee, Balkan people say: “You can get married.” which means, she is able now to make hers husband happy. When a Balkan Boy makes a good coffee, people say: “You don’t need a wife.” which stands more humoristic than actual advice.
Kinds of coffee in Balkan
Because Balkan is in the middle of the West and the East, both traditions took hands and mixed into what we call Balkan Style. Now, every nation in Balkan will strongly defend their way as better than the other, but they are all good. If you by any chance come close to any of Balkan styles, do try them and let me know your thoughts. Western influence brought us Instant coffees like 3 in 1, filter coffee and more, while East brought us more traditional making process. In Balkan, most popular is Turkish way of preparing this hot black gold. Every house in Balkan will greet you with a steaming hot cup of coffee, sweets, glass of some ice cold domestic juice and a shot of home made brandy from families orchard.
Turkish coffee is one of the simplest made hot refreshment. In few easy steps, you can make it yourself. Let’s list what you need before we begin. For a real Balkan Style Turkish coffee, you need to obtain a fresh grinded “Arabica”. This brand is baked coffee beans, grinded into the powder. Many Balkan houses actually have their own manual grinders, more of a mill if I can say that. Baked beans are placed into the chamber, top is closed, handle is mounted and in rotary movement grinding of aromatic beans can commit. For a good cup of coffee you also need coffee pot. West has a lot if plastic ones and machines that do all the work, some have these cowboys’ huge carafes, but that, you would not need. We use something called “Džezva” (cezve in English). This contraption is made out of metal and it can take up to 6 cups of coffee. Next thing is water, sugar and accompaniments.
Making a coffee
There are tree types of coffee: Sweet, Medium, and Bitter. Sweet is made by adding two or more teaspoons of sugar into the water (everything over two is asking for diabetes), Medium is made by adding one and a half teaspoons of sugar or less, Bitter is made by not adding any sugar. To begin the process, add sugar in empty vessel, or not, pour measured water via drinking cup in the vessel and place it on heated spot. Wait until water starts to boil, then remove vessel from the stove. Make sure you ware cooking glove or a rug over your hand to avoid probable injuries. Take a full teaspoon of coffee and place it in steaming water, then stir until it makes a brown crown on the water surface. Return the vessel on heated spot and patiently stare at it, because if you don’t, it will get out in massive speed and ruin your stove. When it starts to rise, remove the vessel and pour the coffee in the drinking cup. Your coffee is now ready, but for true Balkan Style you need a few more things. For most traditional way of drinking this alluring drink, Balkan folks like adding some very sweet Turkish delight called “Ratluk”, usually made from roses, vanilla or some other things. If in shortage of “ratluk”, using cookies or biscuit is approved.
Me personally, I like to get up early, get fire going, watch sunrise as beams of light break cold mist, and hug my mug while sitting at the table. Radio is playing old songs from the 50’; dust is in the air as I finish cleaning my living room. A shadow falls from the blinds, right over the red carpet where I play with my two year old niece. I take a sip of cold brandy to get my blood pumping, leave bite marks over a toast and drink my coffee.