Coffee

Greek Coffee: Classic Ellinikos Kaffés (I Love The Taste!)

How to Make Greek Coffee

So, you want to know how to make Greek coffee? Well, as the name implies, Greek coffee is linked to Greece. Coffee has become synonymous with Greek culture and is a big part of that region’s daily routine. Whether it is the nation’s young or old, everyone enjoys a cup of Greek Coffee from time to time.

Plus, it is one of the healthiest coffees in the world. According to Science Daily, “Boiled Greek coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages.”

So, drink up as it adds to your longevity.

Before moving on, I would like to point out that Greek coffee is similar to Turkish coffee. Dark foam, bitter, and dusty as fresh soil, there’s nothing like a tiny cup of strong Greek coffee. Or do you mean Turkish coffee? Or Arab coffee? Deep down, all these coffees are more alike than different. Although, my Greek friends are buying it.

At any rate:

  • Begin with dark roasted coffee beans ground into an extra fine powder
  • Mix the powder with water in a small copper-coated pitcher
  • Heat on the stove (Greece/briki; Turkey/cezve; Arab world/jadwha)
  • Coffee and water are heated until they foam up and boil over.

Greeks serve their brew after one boil. However, Turkish coffee requires a bit more flavor. So, remove the cezve from the heat between one boiling and the next. The foam can either be discarded or kept before stirring it well. Allow the remaining powder to settle before serving. You can add a tablespoon of cold water to the pot after boiling twice to accelerate the process.

Don’t worry; we will get into the Greek details later. But, first, make sure you have the right coffee beans.

WHAT I RECOMMEND (Greek Coffee Brands)

Top Pick
Loumidis Greek Ground Coffee Papagalos
Papagalos Traditional
This, by and large, is my favorite Greek drink. The taste is strong and sweet. The flavor is impressive without adding milk. You’ll want to use an authentic briki when making this coffee.
Runner-Up
Venizelos Greek Style Ground Coffee
Delicious Medium Roast
If you enjoy a strong roast, this brand is not for you. The coffee is rich, smooth, and aromatic. I find it to be delicious with the right amount of foam. It’s the perfect coffee for the price. I love the flavor!
Also Great
Bravo Greek Coffee
Light Roast Greek Coffee
If you are looking for something unique, this coffee does have a strong cocoa flavor without being bitter. I think it tastes better with sugar, no cream. Also, it would make a great camp coffee, too.

WHY YOU CAN TRUST ME

I’m Sherry Harris, a seasoned coffee writer who has been brewing and tasting coffee from around the world for decades. I spent quite a bit of time in Athens and the surrounding islands. One thing I learned is that drinking coffee is very much a part of the Mediterranean lifestyle and culture.

I work hard to serve my readers as a trusted go-to resource for almost everything related to coffee and the best-tested products you can buy. As a coffee enthusiast, published content is fact-checked periodically.

Also, it’s reviewed to ensure the information provided is accurate and up-to-date. This way, you can make better-informed buying decisions about the best coffee and coffee equipment without being a trained barista. In addition, I regularly consult baristas and coffee experts for insights and analysis. Finally, every product featured is independently researched, tested, or editor-approved. I only recommend products that I stand behind.

In addition, I’ve written multiple guides for coffee equipment, including Coffee Shop Lady’s guide to the espresso machine.

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What Is Greek Coffee?

Let’s start by understanding what Greek coffee refers to.

This coffee is a big part of local culture and a great way to experience the authenticity of Greece in all its glory. There is a natural history behind this type of coffee, which is why it is far more unique than other brews.

When it comes to the preparation of Greek coffee, use a briki like the locals. The recipe for this is varied depending upon how sweet you want it. Some love the sugar, while others prefer to go with a no-sugar in their coffee.

In a nutshell, Greek coffee is a strong brew of coffee, served with foam on the top and grounds at the bottom of the cup. It is prepared using very finely ground coffee beans without filtering.

While in Greece, I learned you MUST do two things for sure.

  1. Use cold water.
  2. Use your coffee cup to measure the water, so that you have the right proportions.

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How to Make Greek Coffee

It is common for a demitasse cup to be used when drinking Greek coffee. With it, you can enjoy the foam that sits at the top.

Greek coffee is recognized for its frothy top, and coffee grounds are settled at the bottom of the coffee cup. You can also learn more about how to froth milk. However, this coffee is made in a small traditional pot. The pot forms the required amount of foam.

When it is time to start preparing your Greek coffee, start with the right tools in hand. This is going to include a gas range or stovetop as it will lead to a better result. However, if not, it will be okay to use an electric stove.

You will also want to get a briki (small coffee pot) and a demitasse cup, if possible.

The main tools and ingredients included in the making of Greek coffee include:

  • Briki
  • Cold Water
  • Demitasse Cups
  • Sugar
  • Water Glasses

Briki is a coffee pot that comes in 2, 4, and 6 demitasse cup sizes. This enables you to make the right amount of foam. It is essential to get the proper measurement for the right flavor.

traditional Greek coffee

1. Choose The Best Arabica Coffee Beans

You can choose any coffee beans when making a regular cup of coffee. However, Greek coffee is exceptional. For Greek coffee, it is suggested that you use Arabica coffee beans. I recommend lightly roasted and ground until you have a fine powder. You might want to try Loumidis Ground Coffee Papagalos Traditional.

The perfect roasting, grinding, and the correct type of beans contribute to making excellent Greek coffee. Dark roasted beans can be used to make Greek coffee. However, light to medium roasted beans is used more common. Keep in mind; Greek coffee is strong. It can be sweet and is typically not served with milk.

2. Use A Greek Coffee Briki

When it comes to Greek coffee, it is the briki that stands out.

In general, the idea is to take the finely ground coffee and begin to boil it to perfection. As mentioned, in other parts of the world, it is also known as a cezve or long-handled coffee pot.

Greek coffee is unique because it is served with grounds, then placed in a demitasse cup. This makes it easier for the grounds to settle while the drinker enjoys the coffee. It is a unique experience but one that is special to that part of the world.

As for preparing the coffee, you will use the brass or copper briki to craft a potent brew. This will allow the foam to come to the top, which is then poured into the cup.

Briki, a metallic coffee pot (shown below), is used to make traditional Greek coffee. Briki looks like an hourglass and is a cauldron-shaped metal pot with a long handle. It is easy to heat on a stove. However, the traditional taste is enhanced when you use Briki on a gas stove.

You can also heat it on an electric range, though traditionally, it was made on an open flame. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can use a single burner camp stove. As this metal pot comes in different sizes, you can choose the size according to your requirement. Get your Briki here.

3. Use A Demitasse Cup To Measure Water (aka Greek Coffee Cups)

It is common for a demitasse cup to be used when drinking Greek coffee. It is the perfect size cup for this type of coffee and common in that part of the world. If you want to enjoy Greek coffee the right way, measure the required water quantity in the demitasse cups. You can also serve Greek coffee in the cups below to celebrate Greek customs.

4. Sugar And Coffee Amounts

To make a cup of Greek coffee, all you need is a teaspoon of finely ground Arabica coffee beans. Unlike Turkish coffee, you don’t have to add additional spices like cardamom. However, you can add sugar if you like. Add sugar to your liking, but half a teaspoon of sugar will make it bittersweet. Adding a full teaspoon will make it medium sweet, and adding two teaspoons will make it much more precious.

5. Put The Coffee On The Stove

Add coffee and sugar to the water in the Briki and put it on the stove. Turn the flame to medium heat. When you notice bubbles and foam, stop stirring and swirling the pot. If you continue going, you may destroy the foam. When the coffee froth starts brimming and nears the rim of the Briki, remove it from the heat.

6. Ready To Serve Demitasse Cups

These are small cups for serving coffee between 2 to 3 ounces, along with a saucer. Check this one out.

When the coffee is off the flame, pour it instantly into the cup along with the foam and grounds. And, if you are making more than one cup, distribute the foam evenly in all the cups of coffee. You can also use a spoon to transfer the foam also known as “kaimaki” from one cup to another.

7. When To Drink Greek Coffee

You can savor strong greek coffee at any time, but morning coffee has its charms. It is a perfect start to a perfect day. However, it’s most commonly savored during the daytime or in the afternoon. Greek coffee is typically served around 2 pm to 5 pm.

8. Serve Coffee With Cold Water

Usually, Greek coffee is served with cold or ice water. That preference depends on each individual. In addition, some like with a cookie or sweet dessert.

9. Let Your Coffee Grounds Settle

There is no filter installed in the Greek coffee maker, Briki. So, the coffee is served unfiltered. So, you can wait for the grounds to settle down and then drink the coffee. Usually, a minute-long wait is more than enough time for the coffee grounds to settle.

10. Enjoy Drinking Your Coffee By Sipping Slowly

It’s time to enjoy your leisure time while sipping your coffee slowly. Enjoy the mesmerizing aroma while savoring all the freshness and exotic taste. Unlike espresso shots, you can appreciate and relish each sip while chatting with your friends and family.

How To Make Greek Coffee Step-By-Step

1. Measure a Cup of Water

Take a small coffee cup and fill it with water (80 mLs). Pour it into the briki. It will make one cup of coffee. If you need more, you are going to want to add more water.

2. Add Coffee and Sugar

Now, you are going to work on the ratio to get the coffee right. This means for every two teaspoons of coffee, you will add two teaspoons of sugar. If you want to make it less sweet, you can cut down on the sugar by a single teaspoon. Or, optionally you can drink it without sugar. Add the water, coffee, and sugar to the briki.

3. Set Briki On Stove

Place the briki on the stove at medium heat. Make sure not to leave the area when you are doing this. Let it come to a boil. Remove from your stovetop. Let the foam settle.

4. Don’t Overboil

Make sure not to overboil the coffee. This means the foam shouldn’t be flowing all over the place, leading to a mess on your stove. Pour your brew into the demitasse cup.

Greek Coffee Frappe

Frappe is the cold coffee of choice, especially among younger Greeks. For those who want to prepare a frappe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Instant Coffee (2 Tsp)
  • Milk (2 Tbsp)
  • Ice Cubes
  • Cold Water (2/3 Cup)
  • Sugar (2 Tsp)

1. Add ingredients To Shaker or Blender

The first step is to collect all of the ingredients and add them to a blender or shaker. You will want to shake these ingredients for at least 30 seconds. From this point, you will want to wait until the ingredients turn into a thick foam.

2. Pour into Cup

This will be more than enough for the iced coffee to be ready to go. Take a taste test to make sure it is as sweet as you like. You might want to sweeten it a little more, and that is okay. Just add in a bit of sugar or milk. If you don’t want to sweeten it, a splash of milk will get the job done.

Greek Coffee

The History of Greek Coffee

Grece is full of history. Greek coffee is just as old as some of the region’s oldest civilizations, and that is what makes it such an impactful part of their culture in the country.

Greeks love their coffee, and it all starts with the use of a briki. This helps create the taste locals desire when it comes to drinking a hot drink. It establishes that a foam-like experience, which is a must for any local who wants a coffee cup. They will not settle for less than this.

It is important to note, the history of this coffee stems from the Arabian peninsula. The briki came from that part of the world and was quickly integrated into local culture. This was when more and more locals started using the pot as a way to enjoy coffee. Citizens started enjoying strongly brewed coffee that was only possible with the help of a briki.

It was around 1475, when Turks were in the region, that Kiva Han set up the first coffee shop in Constantinople. Coffee shops led to a cultural shift in how people enjoyed their beverages. It allows people to socialize, enjoy a hot drink, and know the taste will be based on their preference.

Greek Coffee

FAQs

How Do You Make Greek Coffee Without A Briki?

As mentioned, you’ll need Greek coffee, sugar, and water. Fill your briki with 2 0unces of water from your cup. Add your preferred amount of coffee and the sugar then stir. Heat the mixture. Once the coffee starts to foam, remove the briki from the heat until the foam settles. Next, put it on the heat again. Let the coffee foam a second time then remove from the heat. Pour your Greek coffee into the cup. You should let it rest for about five minutes so the temperature drops and the granules settle at the bottom.

How Do You Make Greek Iced Coffee?

Greek iced coffee is made with a combination of instant coffee, ice, cold water, sugar, and milk. The amount of sweetness dictates how the iced coffee tastes, with some recipes going up to 4-5 teaspoons of sugar.

How Long Does It Take To Make Greek Coffee?

Greek coffee will take approximately 15-20 minutes to prepare. It’s recommended to use a briki for the task to ensure the process is as fast and efficient as possible.

How To Say Coffee In Greek?

Coffee is called “Kafes” in Greek, and specialized Greek Coffee goes by the name “Ellinikos Kafes.”

Final Thoughts

Greek coffee continues to be a revered hot drink not only in Greece but all over the world. Tourists will often want to get a cup of Greek coffee because it tastes amazing. While you may not have the opportunity to go to Greece, this doesn’t mean you can’t bring Greece to your house for a little getaway!

Oh, by the way, if you ever visit Greece, below are a few coffee terms to help you get by when ordering Greek coffee.

  • Yassas: hello!
  • Elliniko kafe: Greek coffee
  • Sketos: no sugar
  • Metrios: one sugar
  • Glykos: two sugars
  • Variglykos: excessively sweet and strong
  • Me gala: with milk
  • Horis I gala: without milk
  • Efharisto: thank you

Quick Story

I went to Greece years ago. Shocking as it may be, I ran into a neighbor that I used to see in my grocery store at home. We both were blown away that we ran into each other on the other side of the world. He invited me and a friend to his family home. The first thing his mom asked me was, “would I like a cup of coffee?”

What hospitality! Before drinking, I found out it was customary to say “to your good health (Stin ygiá Sas).”

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand many things about Greek coffee, its origin, the traditional ingredients, how to make Greek coffee, and the method to enjoy each sip. Last but not least, please don’t drink the coffee grounds. The coffee isn’t filtered, which means that residue is left at the bottom of the cup, so leave them there.

Further Reading

Sources

neoskosmos.com/en/12177/its-time-to-smell-the-greek-coffee
tastecooking.com/whats-difference-greek-turkish-coffee

Avatar for Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris, a bonafide coffee brewing and tasting enthusiast, is the founder of Coffee Shop Lady. She writes for regular coffee drinkers who like being informed about the best coffee beans from around the world, espresso machines, coffee makers, grinders, and delicious coffee drinks and recipes.