Bosnian Coffee | Making Bosnian Coffee

[Virginia Siegel & Senida Husić]

Virginia Siegel: “That’s really cool. So, walk me through the steps of making Bosnian coffee.”

Senida Husić: “Yes. So um, and we’ve talked about this before, but making Bosnian coffee is something that you have to learn, and it’s like a, it’s an acquired skill. Like you, it’s like almost an apprenticeship that your [laughs] your mom or your parents put you through. But um, so what you’ll do essentially is you’ll have a pot or a kettle, whatever you’d like to use, and you’ll boil water in it, and the water has to be boiling, it can’t be warm, it can’t be about to boil, like it has to boil, you know? Be past the boiling point for you to be able to use it. And then you will have this, um, what we call a džezva, and this is like a, a, a specifically made pot for coffee, to make coffee in. So I wouldn’t call it a coffee cup because it’s not a coffee cup, but it’s a, you know, a, a, a container in which you make your coffee. So you will have that ready, and what my mom has always taught me is that it has to be dry, um because if it’s wet like the, the, once you put it on the hot plate uh on the stove, it’ll actually like the water that’s in there and the coffee that it’s getting wet, like you won’t get the same aroma and the same taste. Um, so your, your coffee container, your coffee pot um has to be clean, and you have to, what I do is like so you, depending on how much you’re making, you know, you’re adding in your amount of coffee, um ground coffee of course, and you put it on your stove for it to warm up. Like just to get a little warm, you don’t want to put it on there for too long because then it kind of like burns the coffee and you have a really strange like burnt taste, which I, every time I go to a gas station and there’s not a good like, if I’m traveling long distance, going to Chicago or something along those lines and I have to like make a stop at a gas station or, or exit that I’m not familiar with and I just need coffee, like I just I haven’t had coffee and I just want coffee, um, you know, to, to have the ride more enjoyable. And of course it’s a gas station, there is nothing else around, and I get coffee and like that, that coffee sometimes tastes like the [laughs] coffee that every now and then when I was learning to make it, I’ll actually leave the pot with the dry coffee in there for too long and it’ll kind of like get that burning, or burnt feel, or burnt taste I guess. So you don’t want to do that, so I usually say like, you know, depending on how big it is and how hot your plate is, I would say three seconds, four seconds max, and then you pour your uh, pour your boiling water into it. And once it all mixes, you will keep it on that stove or that hot plate um until you see like this giant bubble starting to foam from the bottom, and just like moving your, um, we call it pena, but it’s like the foam, the coffee foam, um and it’s a very thick and rich, you’ve seen it, very thick and rich coffee foam, and it’ll start to like move it up. And what it’s doing is like as the water is starting to boil, it’s moving all the coffee grains up to the top. And, you know, one of the, one of the signs or the key um necessities I guess to make, to making a good coffee, is the fact that there is so much foam and it’s like nice and rich texture. Um, so but one thing that my mom has always told me, and I don’t know maybe this is just my mom’s preference, but she’s like, you know, “you cannot let it boil over.” [slight laugh] Like if that bubble that’s coming, if it bursts and like boils over, then you’ve gone too far, then your coffee is not the, [laughing] you know, it’s not the optimum prime level. Um, so essentially and, and once, once you’ve gotten it coming all the way up, you take it off really fast before it boils over and then you’re ready to serve your coffee. And one thing that my mom is a very big stickler, and again this is like, this is what my mom says, um and I know I’ve just talking to my friends and family, that’s how they do it as well, um you don’t, you want to serve your coffee right away. At least pour it right away and then people can wait, you know, some people like it like hot, like burning your tongue off, um others like to have it cool down before they drink it, so it just really depends, but the key thing is to pour it into your coffee cup, as soon as possible, because if you wait a while that foam will start to disintegrate and then you’re going to lose the aesthetics of it, and um I’m pretty sure also the flavor as well. Because I think there’s something with the shape of the cup, or of the coffee pot, versus the, you know, ones that actually goes into the coffee cup, so.”

VS: “Hmm.”


SH: “And then, you know, I- uh- as far as like what you take with coffee and all of that, um usually it’s, like my father drinks coffee without sugar and milk. He just has coffee and then he’ll have those sugar cubes and he’ll use that. Sometimes he’ll um do rahat lokum, which uh, you know, I’ve, I’ve showed you that before. Um and rahat lokum for those who don’t know, it’s just essentially sugar [slight laugh] with like some key um flavorings in it. Sometimes it has all kind of different nuts, like pistachios, and walnuts, and uh almonds and all of that stuff, but really most uh common is walnuts. Um, so people will have them instead of the su- the, the sugar cubes, um and then of course people can have it with creamer, but back in the day there was no creamer of course, so you’ll use milk and it’ll actually have to be boiled milk, like previously boiled milk because it has a different taste and once it’s mixed with the coffee it doesn’t take away too much from the actual coffee taste, so.”

VS: “Yeah.”

SH: “That’s, you know, a little bit about how you make coffee. [laughs]”