Served anywhere else in the world, there is something exotic about Greek coffee. Boiled in the sand and served in tiny cups with thick foam on top, this is definitely not your ordinary cup of coffee. But in Greece, a country with a contemporary coffee culture that produces brewing championship winners, humble Greek coffee is nothing short of the commonplace nostalgia.
The biggest difference between Greek coffee and the more popular coffees is that the grounds are not soaked, but there is no boiled smell and they are never filtered from the drink. The result of this technique is an opaque drink with a very rich and velvety texture, with one drawback: the grounds are also poured into the cup.
Greek coffee is really Greek?
The coffee beans used to prepare Greek coffee are imported. On the other hand, dates back over 500 years, when it is believed to have been invented in Greece. It was introduced to Greece during the Ottoman Empire, and like most countries around the world, this type of coffee was actually known as “coffee from the sea”. When the name was changed due to political issues between the two countries. But although its origins do not date back to ancient Greece, for Greeks it is ultimately considered traditional – a comforting drink for all occasions and for everyone, it is the favorite drink of elders, the first coffee a child tastes, and the drink served at the funeral. In fact, the Greeks consume more of it than any other people in the world.
Where to buy it?
In Greece, you can buy bags of Greek coffee directly from roasters, but also in all supermarkets and kiosks. In many other countries, you can find it in Greek or ethnic markets.
How to Make Greek Coffee
How to Make Greek Coffee at home, you need:
A small coffee cup, about the size of a large espresso cup
Greek coffee grounds
The recipe for making Greek coffee at home:
Use your cup to measure the right amount of water, and pour it into your briki.
Add the coffee grounds and sugar. For a cup measuring about 40 milliliters of water, add 1 heaped teaspoon of coffee grounds. If you want sugar, the measurements are: 1 teaspoon for a medium-sweet drink (“metrio”), and 2 teaspoons for a sugary drink (“glykos”).
Place your briki on your stove or gas burner, over low-medium heat. Stir again once or twice, then leave it.
Let the coffee heat up slowly, undisturbed, but don’t leave the room. This is important. The Greek coffee will overflow if you leave the kitchen. Nobody knows why.
When your coffee starts foaming on top, lift it slightly from the heat until it stabilizes, then put it back.
The kaimaki will now start to foam and rise to the edge of the pan. When this happens, quickly remove the pan from the heat and pour the entire contents of the briki into your cup.
How to taste it?
As it is served with the grounds in the cup, remember to handle your Greek coffee with care. Wait a few minutes before drinking it, so that it settles at the bottom of the cup. Do not stir the coffee and do not drink it too quickly. Remember, it may be served in a small cup, but it’s not an espresso – it’s meant to be consumed and sipped.