How to Make Greek Coffee
So you want to make some Greek coffee, but you’re not sure where to start?
You’re in the right place.
This article will break down what authentic Greek coffee is and how you can make it in the comfort of your own home.
What is Greek Coffee?
A cultural product of Greece itself, Greek coffee is, not surprisingly, similar to Turkish coffee, whose home is close by to the east.
In fact, many surrounding countries have claimed to own the original recipe... along with each other’s land (and all sorts of political squabbles) over the centuries.
But politics aside, Greece has culturally laid claim to this unique coffee, and they’re sticking to it.
So, wherever it’s officially from, Greek coffee is what we’ll call it.
Just be aware that Turkish coffee (along with several other geographically close kinds) can be quite similar in presentation, taste, and style.
Note: If you’re into coffee recipes from around the world, you can find more great recipe ideas here!
So that’s the where, but what is it in the first place?
Greek coffee is a dark, strong black coffee served with the grounds in the cup! It’s a little bit like cowboy coffee, but with an old-world flair.
That’s right, you drink with the grounds right in there… on purpose!
The coffee is prepared using a steeping method in which the beans are first finely ground (a grind that is sometimes called a Turkish grind, but again, enough politicking here!), before being boiled in a tall pot called a briki.
What is a Briki (Bree-kee)?
Also known as a cezve or ibrik, a briki is… what you make Greek coffee in. Duh!
For real, though, it is a tall, thin pot with a long handle that angles upward from the rim.
They typically come in sizes for 2, 4, or 6 cups. This is important, as the foam involved in making Greek coffee is measured by the specific briki that you’re using.
So if authentic is the name of the game for you and you’ve got a 4-cup pot, make four cups.
A general rule of thumb is to make as many cups as your briki can hold minus one cup. This should leave you just enough room to manipulate the foam, as too much extra room can ruin the foaming process. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this article on brikis!
When you’re done preparing your Greek coffee, you typically drink it in a Demitasse cup.
What are Demitasse Cups?
In short, a Demitasse cup is nothing more than an espresso cup!
That’s right, those tiny cups that make you feel like a giant… they’re just what you need for this recipe!
They hold roughly 2 to 3 ounces of coffee (around a quarter of a cup), which is plenty when you’re drinking something as highly concentrated as Greek coffee.
Would You Like Some Coffee With Your Sugar?
While Greek coffee can be consumed black, it is often mixed with sugar – and not just a pinch, either! There are four main “sweetness levels”, so to speak. We’ll cover each one in Step #2.
Greek Coffee: What You’ll Need
WHAT YOU NEED
How to Make Greek Coffee
Step #1. Add the Water
Add the required amount of water to your briki. This roughly comes out to a quarter cup of water per (Demitasse) cup of coffee you’re making in a single pot of briki.
So if you’re making a batch in a briki large enough for four Demitasse cups, you would want to add roughly 1 cup of water.
Use your Demitasse cups themselves to measure the water out for the number of cups you intend to make. This will give you the exact quantity of water required.
Step #2. The Coffee and the Sugar
Grind the coffee to a very fine consistency (you can even streamline this process by getting a grinder built for the purpose here), and add to water. If you want sugar, add it in here, as well.
Here is the breakdown of the four “kinds” of Greek coffee:
Sketos: Straight up unsweetened black coffee.
Simply add 1 heaping teaspoon of finely ground coffee right into your briki.
Metrios: Semi-sweetened black coffee, just enough to take the edge off.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of finely ground coffee and 1 teaspoon of sugar to your briki.
Glykos: Moderately sweet coffee.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of finely ground coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar to your briki.
Vary Glykos: Boldly sweet. Bring on the sugar!
Add 2 heaping teaspoons of finely ground coffee and 3 teaspoons of sugar to your briki.
Pick the brew you prefer, add it to the water, and stir.
Note: While there are four standards, Greek coffee is very much something that is brewed “to taste.” So don’t be afraid to vary the amount of coffee and/or sugar from cup to cup until you find that perfect amount.
Step #3. Place Over Heat
Put the briki on the stove on medium to low heat and stir until the coffee and sugar are thoroughly mixed in. Then STOP stirring.
Step #4. Let the Kaïmaki Rise
The Kaïmaki (kaee-MAH-kee) is the foam on the top of the coffee.
As the stirred coffee sits on the heat and approaches a boil, the foam will begin to rise.
When enough foam forms to start rising towards the top of the briki, quickly remove it from the heat before it spills over.
Note: You’re dealing with small amounts of water. This is a case where a watched pot (or briki to be more precise) really does boil. And quickly! Watch out, or you’ll be cleaning up Greek coffee rather than drinking it. Check out this video to both see how quickly the foam can form… and see some spill-action as well!
Step #5. Pour It
Carefully distribute the drink amongst the Demitasse cups.
Use a spoon to evenly distribute the foam amongst the cups first. Then pour out the coffee.
Step #6. Drink It
This might sound like an obvious, unnecessary part to have as an official step, but if you’re thinking that, you’re wrong.
Drinking Greek coffee the right way is an essential part of the experience.
In order to do this, you need two things: patience, and friends. Okay, patience is probably enough, but who wouldn’t want to have a cup of this stuff with some great chaps anyways?
The main thing to remember when you’re drinking your Greek coffee is to take your time. This isn’t just “don’t rush it” kind of advice, either.
You need to give the coffee grounds time to settle to the bottom.
Remember, there are three parts to this drink:
The foam at the top
The coffee in the middle
And the dregs, or grounds, at the bottom (...if you give them time to settle).
Remember, patience is a virtue!
Take your time and drink in little sips. It’s a part of the cultural experience!
In Greece, coffee breaks often take upwards of an hour and a half! That’s plenty of time for the grounds to settle… and to have lots of great conversation.
Drinking Like a Greek
Once you’ve brewed your Greek coffee, and if you feel like being fully authentic, you can serve it with a tall glass of water and some cookies, baked goods, or other sweets!
Remember though, the most important part is taking your time, sipping slowly, and enjoying yourself and the company of others.
Let us know in the comments how your experience trying this recipe went.
Have you had real Greek coffee in a cafe before? How did it compare? Let us know!