There’s a little culinary alchemy happening in this video shot in Aqaba, Jordan. It involves coffee and sand. And “Brother Gantry” on Reddit has it all figured out. He explains:
He’s brewing coffee using techniques traditionally used to make Turkish Coffee...
Filling each of those vessels (called a cezve) partway is water, very finely ground coffee, and possibly sugar. Because this is happening in Jordan there might also be a little cardamon in there and/or no sugar.
Normally to make proper Turkish coffee you heat it to a point where it just begins to bubble, but under a rolling boil, so it begins to foam up into the neck of the cezve before reducing the heat and allowing the foam to die, repeating the process 3 or 4 times before the mixture is poured into small cups (fincan) and you’re left with a wonderfully strong, thick coffee with suspended grounds which quickly settle to the bottom. Sand over a flame traditionally used in the process as a sort of “adjustable double boiler” cups left on the surface stay warm and the heat used for brewing can be adjusted by the depth of the cezve in the sand without having to worry about the temperature of the heat source itself.
The guy in this video seems to be modifying a lot of the steps to make something like a “regular strength” coffee more theatrically using traditional equipment (e.g. he starts with much less ground coffee in the pot, judging from the color to begin with, overfilling it, not taking time to let the foam die down but pouring out some the brewing coffee into a cup to reduce the level, and pouring the results of a cezve made for several cups into a normal sized coffee cup instead).
Find more information on making Turkish Sand Coffee at Secret Coffee Drinks.