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Coffee on the sand

The Alchemy and Delicacy of the Turkish Sand Coffee of Jordan


If Turkish coffee is an elixir from the moment of its preparation, this anonymous man shows us how coffee was made in the tradition of the desert.

Coffee is such a strange substance that a world has emanated from its blackness. Thousands, millions of people throughout history have sought good coffee and spent days in its faithful company. It is also strange because it is an elaborate drug with salutary effects: it aids concentration and our ability to focus; it fights off drowsiness and accelerates the updating of new ideas. And it has the quality of being able to return us to the world, sip by sip, from the land of dreams. But the ritual of preparing a coffee, which for many, such as Lynch, has served as the path to creative moods, can also be in itself an act of real beauty.

The small demonstration of culinary alchemy that we see in the video takes place in Aqaba, Jordan. It is a special way of preparing coffee that involves sand and coffee. The video has gone viral on the Internet because, as well as emitting an aroma for all imaginations delicious, it also appears to be an act of magic, which nobody had seen before. For what we can see, the man who prepares it could be invoking the liquid into the copper vessel.

Turkish coffee is already a kind of ambassador of the world’s best coffee, or at least it is for a large number of connoisseurs. Normally, to make a good Turkish coffee it is only necessary to heat it until it begins to boil, wait for the foam to rise to the neck of the vessel (cevze) and lower the heat so that the foam dies out. This is done three or four times before the mixture is poured into a little cup and the result is an extremely tasty and strong coffee, with suspended grains that quickly sink to the bottom. It is an act of alchemy if ever there was one. But what about the sand?

The man in the video modifies several of those steps to make a coffee with traditional utensils. In a beautifully theatrical act, he is transporting the old customs of the desert to a modern and now virtually global moment. The men of the desert, those elegant sentinels that crossed from one place to another in caravan, used the freezing and burning temperatures of sand to prepare their food.

In the case of Turkish sand coffee, the latter provides a more consistent and stable heat than the flames of a fire. Metaphorically, sand also gives the coffee an earthy spirit, even more earthy than coffee itself, the effect of which is precisely that of getting our skin closer to the earth with every sip. The world of coffee can be a beautiful one.


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