At the heart of Greece's ancient traditions and sun-drenched mornings is its treasured brew: Greek coffee. Rich in history and rooted in daily life, a fresh cup of Greek coffee can transport you to a seaside café in Santorini with every sip. It's not just a beverage; it's an experience.
What is Greek Coffee?
Greek coffee, traditionally known as ellinikós kafés, shares its roots with Turkish coffee and traces back to the Ottoman Empire. As this coffee made its way to Greece, it seamlessly integrated with the nation's identity, taking on a distinctly Hellenic character and adopting the name Greek coffee. It encapsulated the nation's spirit and pride, and today, Greek-style coffee is not just about the beans or the method; it's a symbolic representation of Greece's deep-rooted traditions and identity.
How To Make Greek Coffee
Ingredients and Equipment
Making Greek coffee requires just five items:
- Coffee: Fine grounds tailored for Greek-style coffee.
- Water: Fresh and cold.
- Sugar: Adjusted to your preference.
- Briki: A small pot, traditionally made of copper, that is the backbone of Greek coffee making. The ‘Greek coffee machine’, if you will.
- Demitasse cups: For an authentic serving experience.
Selecting the Right Coffee
To make authentic Greek coffee, the choice of coffee is crucial. The traditional choice is a finely ground coffee, almost powder-like in texture. This fine grind allows for the perfect extraction of flavours, ensuring a rich, full-bodied taste in every sip.
- Mixing: In the briki, add a heaped teaspoon of coffee for each serving to cold water. The traditional way to measure the water is with the coffee cup you'll be drinking from, with one cup of water per serving.
- Sweetening: If you’re adding sugar, it’s important to add it to the cold water and coffee mixture before heating. Greek coffee can be tailored to your sweetness preference, with a choice of Sketos (No sugar), Metrios (one teaspoon of sugar), or Glykys (two teaspoons of sugar). Stir well to ensure the sugar is dissolved properly before heating.
- Heating: Place the briki on a low flame or heat source. The key is to heat it slowly, extracting the flavours gradually. Resist the urge to stir once the heating begins; the grounds will settle naturally.
- Observing: As the mixture heats, it'll start foaming. Watch carefully, ensuring it doesn’t boil over.
- Foaming: The foam, or kaimaki, is integral to Greek coffee. It's the creamy layer that sits atop the coffee, giving it its signature look and taste. As the coffee warms up, the kaimaki forms. Once it rises near the top and before it starts to boil, remove the briki from the heat.
- Serving: Pour the coffee into your cup, ensuring an even distribution of kaimaki if making multiple servings. The kaimaki should float gracefully on top.
- Enjoying: Traditionally, Greek coffee is served with a glass of cold water and perhaps a piece of lokum on the side. Sip your coffee slowly, relishing each flavourful mouthful, and let the coffee grounds settle at the bottom.
Tips for the Perfect Brew
While brewing Greek coffee might seem straightforward, these additional tips can help ensure the perfect cup every time:
- The Right Briki: The size and shape of your briki matter. The narrow neck helps trap the foam and ensures even heat distribution.
- Low and Slow: Always heat your coffee on a low flame. This allows for optimal extraction and kaimaki formation.
- Never Boil: If your coffee boils, it loses the kaimaki. Always remove it from heat just before it reaches boiling point.
- Rest Before Serving: Let the coffee sit for a minute before serving. This lets the grounds settle, ensuring a clearer cup.
Enjoy an Authentic Greek Coffee Experience with Di Stefano
The process of making, serving, and enjoying coffee in Greek households is a revered ritual. Families and friends gather around and converse over cups, followed by tasseography, a reading of the coffee grounds to foretell the future. Greek coffee is more than a beverage; it's a reflection of the Greek spirit of hospitality and the importance of spending quality time with loved ones.Eager to create this timeless experience for yourself? With Di Stefano's selection of single-origin and specialty coffee options, you're set to recreate an authentic Greek coffee experience wherever you are. Shop the range today.