Bosnian Coffee. Smooth, dark, strong. Unforgettable!
If by chance someone from the Balkans offers you coffee, don't expect to leave soon. Coffee is the culture. It's a verb. It's what you do to keep yourself sane. It's also a way to show someone they mean something to you. It's a time investment one is making, and if they've invited you this means they think a lot of you.
If you've never had it before, it's deep and rich, and just a tiny bit weaker than traditional Turkish coffee. It's prepared in the coffee pot called "džezva," and you can easily find it on Amazon, C&B or Sur La Table (look for a Turkish coffee pot). It's served in small espresso cups.
Trust me, you only want a cup or two, and you sip it slowly.
Bosnian Coffee (Bosanska Kafa, Kava, Kahva)
- 1 Turkish coffee pot cezve or džezva the volume of the same will determine how much coffee you'll need
- Demitasse coffee cups or fildžan coffee cup
- 2 and ½ cups water
- 1 and ½ teaspoon finely ground medium roast Arabica coffee other types of coffee will work too, as long as they're ground to a fine powder
- (Optional) Sugar cubes, milk, sweets (like rahat lokum) or dessert
- Fill a deep pot with water about one and a half times the volume of your coffee pot. Bring to a rolling boil on high and let it boil for a minute. Remove off heat. While the water is heating up, put your coffee grounds into a coffee pot (džezva).
- (Optional) Before adding boiling water to the coffee pot, place the coffee pot with coffee grounds on the hot range, and heat it up for 30 seconds or so, shaking or stirring the coffee pot lightly.
- Bring the temperature down to low. Pour boiling water into the coffee pot with coffee grounds about ¾ of the way, leaving a little bit of empty space in the pot. Stir the coffee quickly and well so that the mounds of coffee break apart, then remove the spoon. Cook for a few minutes, and don't step away. The coffee will form a light brown foam on top and start to rise.
- Once the coffee rises and is almost about to spill from the pot, remove the pot from the hot stove ring, and let the coffee and foam settle down for a few seconds.
- Slowly pour some of the remaining boiling water into the coffee pot to top it off, and return the coffee pot to the range. Cook coffee a short while more, until the foam starts to rise again. Remove the coffee pot from the heat just as the foam reaches the top again.
- (Optional) You're welcome to repeat the last step without adding any more water.
Serving Bosnian Coffee
- Leave the coffee to rest for 3-4 minutes. When you're ready to serve it, start by grabbing a teaspoon of the foam and adding it to each cup first. Then pour the coffee in, slowly. This will allow the foam layer to rise to the top of each cup. Serve with rahat lokum, sugar, or milk, and a glass of water.
- The alternative cooking method for Bosnian coffee
- Heat up the water in the coffee pot. When it boils, pour some of that water into a coffee cup.
- Add coffee grounds, stir quickly, and return to the heat. Bring to a boil to form the foam ensuring the coffee doesn't run out of the coffee pot.
- Finally, remove from heat and let the foam subside, then add the water you took out back in. Return it to the heat again for the foam to rise one more time.
Aida, this coffee pot is GORGEOUS! Do you have a recommendation on where I could try Bosnian coffee in the area? I'm in MD just outside of DC. Coffee is my best friend 😉
You can use regular roast bean coffee from any grocery store. The trick is to grind it very well.
Or you can come over for a cup, I'm in Arlington! 🙂
Yes! I was taught when in Sarajevo, but forgot and can't find my notes. Now I can make it proper with the set I brought back. 🙂
Hi Heather! Glad you visited Sarajevo. Yup, super easy, tasty coffee, to go with your matching coffee set. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello. We visited Sarajevo in July and stupidly didn't but a Bosnian coffee set. We would really like to buy, or maybe 2, sets. Any idea how we can do this? I can't find any websites that sell them online. Thank you
I'm not familiar with US vendors selling the original coffee sets, and most shops in Sarajevo as far as I know don't do online orders. However, even in Bosnia most people don't drink out of the old school coffee sets you probably saw on Baščaršija. It's not about that set really, it's about a good pot and the way you make the coffee, so my recommendation is as follows. Search for a "turkish coffee pot" on Amazon and get one that looks similar to what you saw in Sarajevo. Also search for "espresso coffee cup set" and get a set. Then go to your neighborhood grocery store's coffee aisle. Get a medium roast of decent coffee, and grind it down until its consistency is similar to that of flour. Then follow the recipe above.
Best of luck!
Thank you for that. I should have said in my previous reply that we would like the set for a souvenir from our time in Bosnia.
Matthew Gabbard says
Haha, your grandmother must have been a sweet lady. The "girls who drink coffee grow a tail," myth is really cute. I'm going to try making coffee this way. It sounds really good. Cheers ????
Thanks Matthew... Oh yea, she was a trip... sweet with some bitchy moments. 🙂
Hope you make and enjoy the coffee, and thanks for stopping by!
Ryan Smith (Sibernethy) says
There are a lot of Bosnians in Idaho, particularly in Boise. I'll remember the customs regarding Bosnian coffee if I make some friends. 🙂
This is known throughout the world as Turkish Coffee even though it is enjoyed throughout the Balkans.
It's not the same. Turkish coffee is much stronger and cooked differently.
Sarah Amena says
This is fantastic recipe and sadly I never realized that when I was invited for coffee- it was a way of honoring - Bosnians ladies make the best coffee. Period. My Moroccan grandma drinks Turkish coffee - probably the strongest stuff you ever tasted - but she told me that In the 🇺🇸 it’s called “Hobo Coffee” But I guess that entire region would have been exposed to Turkish coffee during the ottoman reign- and then each people would add their own unique flavor.
Your grandmother sounds like a great lady! And glad you like Bosnian coffee.
Sarah Amena says
Aida - I believe whole heartedly - that a real Bosnian can only make the best Bosnian coffee - I must have shared your this sentiment often because my husband just saw me trying to make coffee and he said “I could have made you Bosnian coffee because now it’s not Bosnian ☕️“
I’m going to have my mother in love and sister in love teach my girls when they are young 😂 tap into that Bosnian from a young age!
I read that you are in VA- my aunt lived in Ashburn Virginia and I went to school at Stone Bridge High school - many moons ago - I don’t remember a lot of Bosnians in that neck of the woods but my good friend moved to Charlotte NC and loves it! We are in the Midwest with many Bosnians 😊
You are such a thoughtful, caring mom, and whatever you teach your girls will be wonderful.
Yes, DC and VA were my home for a long time. There is a vibrant Bosnian community in DC metro for sure.
Sarah Amena says
Aida - I speak so highly of you and if I ever make it to DC or Sarajevo- I’m going to try and find you!
This is a big charity that you are doing- sharing family recipes so we can feed our loved ones! I just remembered when I worked at a bank - a team lead’s wife made this amazing no bake cheesecake and I was so excited that I asked for the recipe - I remember he said “it’s her secret and she doesn’t share” my very very good Vietnamanese / American friend was so offended by this - that she went and found a recipe that was similar ) I tried making it but it was nothing like his wife’s) I was a little put off and rarely asked for recipes - but now I see this as an anomaly - Bosnians, in general, are the most generous people - even with their family recipes - so thank you so much Aida and Aleksandera for sharing so much goodness!