If you’ve never been to Bosnia and Herzegovina, you may not have sampled the Balkan country’s distinctive coffee. But that’s a shame because Bosnian coffee is strong, dark, and slightly sweet — the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or morning delight!
Luckily, you can try this unique form of coffee in the comfort of your own home. We’ll show you how this type of coffee came about and how to recreate it in your kitchen!
What is Bosnian coffee?
Bosnian coffee is a lot like Turkish or Arabic coffee. The reason for that is historical. From the 1400s to the 1800s, the Ottoman Empire extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Islamic customs forbid alcohol, so coffee was the social drink of choice. This Turkish style of coffee is still popular in the country, despite a century of Austro-Hungarian rule and the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Bosnian coffee is traditionally made in an ibrik or ǆezva, a small copper pot with a high neck and a long handle. The basic steps include boiling water and finely ground coffee over an open fire or on the stove. Bosnian coffee differs from Turkish coffee in sugar: Turkish coffee is made by adding sugar to the water and coffee in the pot, whereas the Bosnian version adds sugar to the brewed coffee.
The Bosnian custom allows you to choose your preferred amount of sugar rather than let whoever is making the coffee decide for you. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’d be served the coffee in the ibrik, a mug, and a pile of sugar cubes. You add a sugar cube or two to your mug, pour a little coffee on top, and wait for the sugar to dissolve. Then you add the rest of the coffee. And you might enjoy a Turkish delight, a small jelly candy, on the side!
Authentic Bosnian Coffee
- Ibrik or small saucepan
- Coffee mug
- 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
- ¼ cup water
- 1-2 sugar cubes to taste
- Pour the water into your pot and place it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil. Keep a close eye on it, as this will happen quickly!
- Add the coffee grounds and return the water to a boil.
- When the mixture starts to foam, raise it off the burner until the foam subsides. Then place the pot back on the burner. Repeat this process at least twice.
- Take the pot off the burner and let it sit for 30 seconds. This allows the grounds to settle.
- Place a sugar cube or two in the bottom of your mug. Then pour a little bit of coffee on top, waiting for the sugar to dissolve. Pour the rest of the coffee in, avoiding the grounds at the bottom of the pot, and enjoy!
Homemade Bosnian Coffee: Tips & Tricks
Do you need the special Turkish copper pot?
You can make Bosnian coffee in a regular saucepan, but for the best results, you do want to invest in a ǆezva. The ǆezva is made of copper, which conducts heat well, speeding up the process considerably. This unique pot also has a high neck, which helps with the foaming process, and a long handle, which keeps your hands away from the flames.
If you don’t have a ǆezva, we recommend using the smallest possible pot. Boiling may take a little longer, and your foam may not turn out quite as well. But the flavors will all be there!
Is Bosnian coffee strong?
Bosnian coffee is very strong, with a bold, dark flavor tempered only by sugar. It’s made by boiling ground coffee and water — somewhat like cowboy coffee — and there’s no filtration, so you may find a few grounds in your cup. If you can handle the intense flavor, you’ll love this efficient form of coffee!
Time to start brewing a great cup of Bosnian coffee! Once you try this distinctive, strong coffee, you’re going to have a hard time with regular old drip. We hope this guide helps you understand the difference between Turkish and Bosnian coffee — and how to make it at home.
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Featured image: Veronika Kovalenko, Shutterstock