A Greek meal is never complete without a Greek coffee. Relax and enjoy one with a slice of cake!
Keep Greek Coffee traditional. We want real Greek Coffee
Boycottage machine made Greek coffee. When going to a coffee shop or cafeteria ask if they make coffee using the machine or if it is cooked on a gas stove.
We don’t deserve to drink black broth.
The old traditional way of making a good Greek coffee was using a brass or copper briki, which is a long-handled coffee pot and then it was boiled on low heat to allow dissolve the flavoursome compounds.
Old traditional heating sources included the embers of a fire, or a tray, about 10 cm (4 in) deep, filled with sand. The tray was placed on the burner to heat and when the sand was hot, the briki was placed in the hot sand. This allowed a more even and gentle heat transfer than direct heat and this was called “καφές στη χόβολη“(cafés sti hóvoli).
In Greece we call our coffee Ellinikos Kaffés. I doubt if there are still any kafeneia (pl.) making coffee the old traditional way sti hovoli, but some still use old fashioned brass or copper briki and if it is made on a gas stove on low heat, then you are still fortunate to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. The end result will be a coffee well brewed, with a frothy “kaimaki” and not a boiled black broth.
For Greeks, offering Greek coffee is an act of hospitality and social gathering and when you visit a Greek home, especially in the villages, the first thing they will ask you is if you would like a cup of coffee.
When drinking coffee we usually address our host and say “Στην υγειά σας“ Stin ygiá Sas” (which means to your good health).
If you are visiting Greece or Cyprus and would like to enjoy a cup of Greek coffee, I would suggest that you visit a “kafenío – in Greek καφενείο” which are the local coffee shops. In Kafeneia coffee is still prepared in a briki, on a gas stove whereas in most cafeterias it is likely that they will be making it in a machine, like espresso and when the coffee is made instantly, there is no time for the ground coffee to dissolve, so you can feel the grains in your mouth.
In order to make the coffee yourselves, first of all measure the water with a demitasse cup and add the proportions of your preference. The water should always be at room temperature. Depending on how many coffees we are making we must have an equivalent sized briki. We cannot make 1 coffee in a briki which is for 3 or 4 coffees. The end result will be a coffee without “kaimaki” and boiled.
As you can see in the picture I always prefer to drink a double sized coffee, so instead of serving it in a demitasse cup, I add the usual amount of coffee and sugar but add more water and serve it in a big cup.
There are many ways to prepare a Greek coffee but the main four ways you can have your Greek coffee, is sketos (which means plain): which is without sugar, me oligi, (which means with a little sugar): with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, metrios (which means medium): with 1 teaspoon of sugar and glykys (which means sweet): with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Some prefer more coffee (varis) and some prefer it light (elafris) with less coffee. Others prefer it boiled only once, others prefer it boiled two or three times (vrastos).
How to make Ellinikos Kaffes (Greek Coffee)
For 1 cup you will need:
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground Greek coffee
- Sugar (optional)*
- 1 demitasse cup of tap water
- Put all the ingredients in the briki and place on low heat.
- Stir until the coffee and sugar is dissolved. Once it starts boiling, froth (called kaimaki) starts forming and turns in from the sides towards the centre. As soon as it reaches the centre, remove from the heat.
- If the quantity is more than one, first distribute a small amount into each cup and then fill a little at a time with the remaining.
Note: *For those tasting Greek coffee for the first time, start with 1 tsp sugar and increase or decrease, accordingly next time.
Never use hot water and use the proper size of briki. Briki comes in 2, 4 and 6 demitasse cup sizes.
Always serve with a glass of cold water.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi1