Cezve is a name for a small coffee pot with a long handle which is used for preparing Arabic and Turkish coffees. English language has not adopted a name for this device, and this seems to lead to confusions... I tried to collect the related words from other languages, with some partial information on the meaning and etymology.
This document is maintained
The latest version lives at
Comments and corrections are appreciated.
Cezve is a name for a small coffee pot with a long handle which is used for preparing Arabic and Turkish coffees. Here are a few pictures (which I had to rip off, since the originals tend to move; the images are linked to the original sites):
You may get an adequate metal vessel with a plastic handle for around $4 in ZABAR'S store in New York. For the sake of conspiracy, this device is available under the name milk steamer. Get the smallest one (for one serving), which has the narrowest opening. I suspect that bigger fancier copper beasts are somewhat worse... Anyways, what you do not want is an opening which is too wide (froth would not form properly) and the volume which is too big (the water may start boiling at the bottom of the pot before the coffee is ready).
Here is some information about different names for cezve, collected from the thread in alt.coffee newsgroup. You can either download this thread and read it with e.g. mutt, or browse the HTML version of the thread. I am grateful to everybody who contributed to it.
Cezve is Turkish, judging from the Ottoman spelling in Arabic script as ce*dh*ve (read cezve) it is based on Arabic ja*dh*wa(t) - a burning log or coal (presumably because the pot was heated on them)
This word is also used in Russian [d(zh)Ezva], along with [tUrka].
This is a Greek word for cezve; it also denotes a ship. Could be a descendant of the Turkish ibrik (ewer) (which is a different thing: it is a pot with a long spout; see below).
Rakwa is Arabic.
In Syrian: small coffee pot of copper, having a long handle (originally a leather bag for water, later a coffee pot).
In Arabic, the words Rawiya/Rawi refer to a storyteller who recites the tales in a coffee house or at a family gathering. (Source: www.ineas.org/zannobiya.htm)
Comes from Persian. turk < `ar. < pers. pinga:n
From email@example.com (Nikos Sarantakos):
It may be that the Persian word has a Greek ultimate origin, from Greek ``pinaka'' (acc. of pinaks).
From P&D Schultz <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
It's also in Turkish, Greek ("flitzani"), and, I think, Serbo-Croatian. Egyptians call it a "fingal." It is listed as an English word in the old OED, spelled fingan and finjan, meaning "a small porcelain cup used in the Levant." It has a lot of letters to be originally Arabic. I bet the Arabs got it from the Turks or Persians.
From Isadora S Cohen <email@example.com>:
Arabic, to the best of my knowledge -- of the Palestinian variety, most likely, as this is the word used here in Israel.
This is an Arabic word for pot with a long curved spout and handle used for brewing coffee (among Syrian nomads and in some parts of Saudi Arabia).
Ibrik is Turkish from Arabic `ibriq in turn a rendition of Persian a:bri:z - a:b water, ri:z (older re^z) a cup. See Stenigass Persian-English dictionary under ibri:q.
Turkish people say that ibrik is a pot with a long spout (similar to Arabic dalla) which is used not for brewing coffee but for liquids, like oil and wine. This word (with the same meaning) is said to be quite common in Romanian.
For some reason this word is sometimes used for cezve in coffee houses in the States.
There are loads of "true recipes" of
the Turkish and Arabic coffees; it is all over the web...
Here are a few emails and usenet posts.
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 1996 13:42:27 +0200 To: Andrew Comech From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Antreas P. Hatzipolakis) Subject: Re: Status: RO [snipped] >How do you call this tiny pot for making REAL COFFEE? >I guess I should not write "Turkish" -- well, GREEK COFFEE? Well... We call it GREEK COFFEE, but it is TURKISH COFFEE in reality. Informatively, one Greek folklorist (Ilias Petropoulos) wrote a book titled: O TOYRKIKOS KAFES EN ELLADI = The Turkish coffee in Greece. >So far I learned that Americans have no proper word for it (neither have >they good coffee), but probably "ibrik" and (?) "cezve" are Turkish >names, and "briki" is a Greek one; do you have anything to say about it? We call it MPRIKI (we pronounce the English B as MP : Greek letters Mu Pi) It is etymologized from the Turkish "ibrik", as you write.
Subject: Re: Coffee lovers: Origin/meaning of words cezve/ibrik/rakwa/dalla/??? Date: 1999/07/15 Author: mb <email@example.com> Some more trivia: It started being called "Greek coffee" after the 1955 pogrom against Greeks in Constantinople. So people over 50 still call it "tourkikos". Turkish (and Greek?) coffee is definitely different from the one brewed south of Urfa. It's roasted less, ground finer, boiled less (pull out as soon as it starts to boil) and never includes other flavors like cardamom etc. So let's not confuse it with Arabic coffee. Also, popular (non-TV, non-school) Greek currently uses the word "dzezves" or "dzozves"(Northern Islands) -shunned by officialdom (who perhaps believes that mpriki is of Greek origin?). Other important implements: Stakhtokouti. Bronze container, approx. 3' x 2' x 2', with a lower level for charcoal under abundant ashes, upon which you can place up to 3 brikia, and an upper compartment for heating water. Still in use in the "real" Greek coffee-house. Tepsi (T) /tapsi - diskos (G): circular tray hanging from 3 or 4 arches. The good waiter swings it without spilling.
Subject: Re: Coffee lovers: Origin/meaning of words cezve/ibrik/rakwa/dalla/??? Date: 1999/07/16 Author: Leila A. <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (Andrew Comech) wrote: >PS. Here is some email which I received some time ago: > >: >How do you [Greeks] call this tiny pot for making REAL COFFEE? >: >I guess I should not write "Turkish" -- well, GREEK COFFEE? > >: Well... We call it GREEK COFFEE, but it is TURKISH COFFEE in reality. >: Informatively, one Greek folklorist (Ilias Petropoulos) wrote a book titled: >: O TOYRKIKOS KAFES EN ELLADI = The Turkish coffee in Greece. Here's a word from an Arab on this one. The Arabs found the coffee tree growing wherever it was growing (I did my research on this about 12 years ago) - East Africa I am pretty sure - and invented coffee. The word for coffee in Arabic is "qahwah". Remember that the Turks of the Ottoman Empire ruled the Arab world from the 14th or 13th century of the common era until the end of World War I. Turks cannot pronounce that 'q', and they tend to pronounce a "w" as a "v". Qahwah thus became kahveh. This became café or caffé in various European languages, eventually becoming Coffee in English. The Turks got "Turkish" coffee from the Arabs. When I make this coffee, I usually call it Arabic coffee (and then say "Turkish" so Westerners know what I mean.) Since my grandfather fought the Turks on the barricades outside of Sidon, Lebanon, at the fall of the Ottoman empire (1918), I feel it's my post-colonialist duty to call this coffee by the name of its inventors, not its conquerors! Regards, Leila A.