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.
Old traditional heating sources included the embers of a fire, or a tray, about 10u00c2u00a0cm (4u00c2u00a0in) 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 than direct heat and this was called «u00ceu00bau00ceu00b1u00cfu0086u00ceu00adu00cfu0082 u00cfu0083u00cfu0084u00ceu00b7 u00cfu0087u00cfu008cu00ceu00b2u00ceu00bfu00ceu00bbu00ceu00b7»(kaffés sti hóvoli).
In Greece we call our coffee Ellinikos Kaffés.u00c2u00a0 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 andu00c2u00a0 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.
When going to a coffee shop or cafeteria ask if they make coffee using the machine or if it is brewed on a gas stove.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Boycott machine made Greek coffee!! That’s what my husband and I do.u00c2u00a0 We either go somewhere else or don’t drink coffee.
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. If you accept the coffee, before bringing it to your mouth just say“u00ceu00a3u00cfu0084u00ceu00b7u00ceu00bd u00cfu0085u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9u00ceu00ac u00cfu0083u00ceu00b1u00cfu0082 – Stin ygiá Sas” (which means to your good health).
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 u00ceu00bau00ceu00b1u00cfu0086u00ceu00b5u00ceu00bdu00ceu00b5u00ceu00afu00ceu00bf» which are the local coffee shops.u00c2u00a0 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 using 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 coffee grounds in your mouth.
In order to make the coffee yourselves, first of all measure the water with a demitasse cup and addu00c2u00a0 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. There are a few sizes of brikia for 1, 2, 3 and 4 demitasse cups. We cannot make 1 coffee in a briki which is for 3 or 4 cups. 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):u00c2u00a0 with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Some prefer more coffee (varis) and some prefer it light (elafris)u00c2u00a0 with less coffee.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Others prefer it boiled only once, others prefer it boiled two or three times (vrastos).
Ellinikos Kaffés – How to make Greek coffee
Makes:u00c2u00a0 1 cup of coffee
- 1 heaped teaspoon freshly ground Greek coffee
- sugar (optional, according to your taste)
- 1 demitasse cup of water
Use the proper size of briki.
Put all ingredients in the briki and place on heat and stir until the coffee is dissolved and then bring to the boil on low heat, without stirring.
Once it starts boiling, froth turns in from the sides and the coffee begins to rise towards the centre. As soon as it reaches the centre remove from heat at once.
Serve in demitasse cups.u00c2u00a0 If a quantity more than one is prepared, distribute a small amount to each cup and then fill the cups with the remaining.
u00ceu00a3u00cfu0084u00ceu00b7u00ceu00bd u00ceu00a5u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b5u00ceu00b9u00ceu00ac u00cfu0083u00ceu00b1u00cfu0082 – Stin Ygeia Sas!!!