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How to make Ellinikos Kaffes (Greek Coffee)

Greek coffee


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.

coffee in brass briki

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).

Greel Coffee Serving tray

Traditional Greek kafeneio serving tray

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.

Coffee beans roasted

Coffee beans roasted

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.

Grinding Greek coffee

Grinding Greek coffee

When drinking coffee we usually address our host and say Στην υγειά σας Stin ygiá Sas” (which means to your good health).

Greek coffee and mandarin biscotti

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


  1. Put all the ingredients in the briki and place on low heat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Greek coffee with cake

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi1

signature Ivy

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19 Responses

  1. bee

    that you, dear ivy. it was fascinating to read how you use various brikis depending on how much coffee you’d like to make.

  2. Ivy

    Hi Bee. Thanks a lot for reading the link.

  3. Ben

    OOOOh Greek coffee. I think I am going to have a Metrios, I like it sweet, but not too sweet 🙂

    Have a great time on your vacation!

  4. Núria

    That’s a beautiful photo Ivy!!!

    Am I the only one having problems to download your blog page? Anybody else told you so?

    Congratulations on your 1st place on Great Cooks!!! You are up there, girl 😀

  5. Peter M

    Welcome back Ivy! I’d like my Elliniko metrio, parakalo and I love the cup and copper briki.

  6. Ivy

    Thank God you all like metrios. So do I. So I’ll just make a big briki for all of us.

    Nuria, it’s the first time someone tells me this and thanks for letting me know. I think I have added toooooo many widgets and shall start removing them.

    Before doing this I would like to know if others have similar problems, so please let me know.

  7. Laurie Constantino

    Εις Υγείαν Ivy!
    I’m glad Nuria brought up how long your blog page takes to load. I’ve had to visit less frequently than I’d like because my computer has so much trouble loading your page. That’s great you’re going to fix the problem – thank you!!!
    Hope you have a wonderful vacation and καλό ταξίδι!

  8. Ivy

    Thanks Laurie. Now that you have confirmed this as well, I shall have to remove a few things. Thanks for telling me.

  9. Jeena

    Greek coffe sounds lovely and I love the jug you serve it in. 🙂

  10. Bellini Valli

    Can you believe that I just don’t drink coffee or tea..but if I came to visit sis you might convince me to try a “cuppa”

  11. Peter G

    Nice to see you again! Metrio for me too…good luck with the “CLICK” entry.

  12. Cynthia

    I like that coffee pot a lot.

    Hope you have a great vacation!

  13. Ivy

    Good morning everybody. I am drinking my double cup of coffee, as I do every morning to wake up.

    Thanks Jeena.

    Val, I don’t drink tea either but I can’t live without coffee.

    Peter, I just enter the click event for the fun of it. It’s silly if I think that I can compete with all those talented photographers out there and you are one of them.

    Cynthia, Thank you very much.

  14. Aparna

    I can see that various countries have their own way of drinking coffee or tea and it makes for such wonderful variety.
    Don’t put your picture down because its quite nice. Most photographers learn to be what they are with practise.
    Btw, your page does take time to load. I also get a message saying that your “page is slow because a scrip is running”. I hope this helps.

  15. Ivy

    Hi Aparna and thanks for letting me know. Yesterday I removed a lot of widgets from the site but I don’t know if this problem still exists.

    I will appreciate it if anyone notices this problem again please let me know so I can look into this further.

  16. Passionate About Baking

    Hey there Ivy…I loved reading about the brikis…think I'd better get 2-4 coz even I prefer a BIG cuppa. Also will go for the M's…medium sugar! What a great piece of information & I think I could do with that yummy cuppa staring back at me! Great Click…
    “Stin Ygeia Sas" & have a great vacation! Come back soon coz you will be missed. xoxoxo Deeba

  17. Ivy

    What a sweet comment. Thanks Deeba, however, we have not made up our mind yet when and where we shall be going.

  18. Great post. I love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.

  19. Ivy

    Hi Jess and Brandon. Thanks for passing from my blog.