In an age of franchised coffee shops, professional baristas, and expensive coffees with presumptuous names, we introduce you (or re-acquaint you) to Greek coffee. Ta-da! This is not a coffee that you will drink solely to give you the caffeine fix that you need to function. This is not a coffee that you will take with you in a travel mug as you schlep to work or school. It is a coffee which should transport you to a place where life slows down and where the very act of drinking it will be as pleasant as the drink itself. Who knows, it may even be good for you!
Aside from the few key ingredients needed to make Greek coffee, the most important element is time. Although making the coffee will take only a few minutes, it should take you much longer than that to drink it. Practically speaking, this is because Greek coffee is prepared by boiling the coffee grounds which then settle to the bottom of the demi-tasse cup in which the coffee is served. Drink too quickly and these grounds may accidentally end up in your mouth (gritty and a bit gross). More importantly however, the beauty of Greek coffee comes from the fact that a small amount of coffee can be enjoyed over a long period of time. For some of us, taking a break from our busy and hectic schedules is going to be infinitely more challenging than actually making the coffee. But it will be worth it!
So, we invite you to prepare this coffee, share it with a friend and indulge in un-rushed company and conversation. In need of some alone time? No problem! Put up your feet, daydream, write in a journal, or read. Nothing to read you say? Well, you can read this 🙂
Greek coffee can be found in most Greek or Middle Eastern grocery stores or specialty shops. If you can’t find Greek coffee, Turkish coffee will also do, as they are quite similar.
Three is an important number. There are 3 ways to prepare Greek coffee, depending upon the amount of sugar you use: unsweetened (sketos), somewhat sweet (metreos) and very sweet (glykos). Even if you are someone who typically drinks their filtered coffee without sugar, we suggest that you make your first Greek coffee metreos, or somewhat sweet (as described in the recipe which follows). You can adjust the amount of sugar you use in future according to your taste. There are also 3 parts to Greek coffee: the grounds which settle to the bottom of your cup, the actual coffee liquid which is thick and delicious, and the top layer, or kaimaki, which is almost like a coffee foam and whose presence marks the success of your Greek coffee making skills.
Most Greek households will have a briki. This is a special little pot with a long handle and a spout used in making Greek coffee. Using a briki will make it much easier to achieve a proper kaimaki. If you can find one in a Middle Eastern or Greek shop or market it is a good investment. But don’t fret… not having a briki should not prevent you from making Greek coffee. It will still taste delicious.
Try not to make more than two cups of coffee at a time. This will make it easier to ensure that each cup gets a proper kaimaki. The recipe which follows is for two cups of coffee. It can easily be halved for a solo drinking experience.
Serve your Greek coffee with a cold glass of water. This is helpful if you accidentally get some coffee grounds in your mouth.
Mia Kouppa: Greek Coffee
- 2 demi-tasse cups of water (your water is measured using the cups you will drink from)
- two heaping teaspoons of Greek coffee
- two heaping teaspoons of sugar (for a metreo or somewhat sweet coffee)
- Pour water into your briki or small pot.
- Add the coffee and sugar to the water.
- Turn heat up to medium.
- Stir continuously until the coffee dissolves. It will take a couple of minutes for the coffee to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove it from the heat. Leaving it on the heat any longer will result in the kaimaki disappearing.
- Pour 1/2 the coffee into one cup, and then fill your second cup of coffee completely. Return to your first, half-filled cup and fill that one with the remaining coffee. This technique will ensure that each cup ends up with a proper kaimaki. Let sit for about 3-4 minutes, to let the grounds settle, before sipping. (See video here) Enjoy.