“How do you brew klava?”
“You don’t know?”
She smiled. “I can serve it with the best, but I’ve never needed to learn how to brew it.”
“You press coffee through a filter made of eggshells and wood chips with vanilla bean, then reheat it so it almost boils, then you pass it through a cloth to remove any oils brought out by the reheating.”
-Issola, by Steven Brust
Not being an every day coffee drinker, I tend to think Turkish coffee is already superior to the average cup of morning joe. But put through this process, it transcends the bounds of ordinary beverages, and becomes something near ethereal. Each of the different flavors is discernible, from the earthiness of the woodchips to the sweet subtlety of the vanilla bean. The cream thickens the already dense coffee into a silky, decadent drink.
Fun Fact? The eggshells help decrease the bitterness of the coffee. See? Right there, you and I both learned something culinary and fascinating from fictional food. That’s why it’s so cool!
Don’t be intimidated by the list of below ingredients and equipment. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite straightforward. I’ve also included a version that is french-press friendly, because more people have those than have cezves.
**Disclaimer: I’m not really a coffee drinker, but I thoroughly enjoyed Klava. However, if you are crazy for coffee, you may want to increase the strength of your own brew!**
Recipe for Klava
Prep time: about 10 minutes
Makes 1 (strong) mug-worth, or about 4 Turkish coffee cups-worth
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbs. Turkish coffee grounds
- pinch of cinnamon and/or ground cardamom (optional)
- 1 Tbs. honey
- cream, to taste
- 1/4 cup clean eggshells
- 1/4 cup woodchips (hickory, cherrywood, or other would suit)
- 1 vanilla bean, chopped roughly and crushed
- mesh straining bag/clean scrap of fabric
- a cezve (pot for making Turkish coffee)
- mason jar
Alright. So. In a small pot, or cezve, combine the water and coffee grounds. If also adding spices, do so at this point. Place over medium-high heat and watch carefully. Heat until it froths up, then remove from heat.
In a mesh bag, combine the eggshells, woodchips, and chopped vanilla bean. Suspend this bag in the mason jar, and pour the coffee over it. Allow to steep for five minutes. Remove the mesh bag, and pour the Klava through a funnel lined with cloth.
Klava is best served in a mug, as opposed to a glass, so it doesn’t get cold. Turkish coffee cups are also ideal serving vessels, albeit on the small side.
French Press Recipe for Klava
Makes about 2 mugs, takes about 5 minutes.
Couldn’t be easier.
I doubled the above quantities for the coffee grounds and the water, then let all the ingredients steep together in the pot before pressing down the filter. It’s a great recipe cheat for those who don’t have the cezve for making proper Turkish coffee, but are looking for a quirkier style of caffeine.