Regional Coffee Guide: Greek Coffee
As we move through the last weeks of fall into the holiday season, this is the perfect time to enjoy a delicious, refreshing cup of coffee. If you are looking to spice up your coffee repertoire or discover one of the world’s oldest and most revered brewing methods, there’s no better place to start than Greek Coffee.
The History of Greek Coffee
A national love of coffee is a longstanding Greek tradition that each generation passes on to the next. In nearly every Greek’s daily routine, Elliniko kafe (Greek coffee) is a cultural staple to enjoy during mornings, afternoons and even evenings (when no one wants the fun to stop).
While relatively new compared to the mythical stories of Mount Olympus or the legendary teachings of Aristotle, the proud history of coffee in Greece stretches back to 1475 AD, when the Greeks opened their first “coffee shop” in the landmark city of Constantinople. Known as “Kiva Han Coffee Shop,” the establishment mastered a simple, delicious coffee style that inspired thousands of other cafes across the country.
In modern times, it’s nearly impossible to go to any traditional Greek village without discovering a charming, locally-owned coffee shop. Inside, you’ll often find people of all ages and backgrounds sipping slowly and enjoying lively conversations with friends or loved ones.
This tradition also extends to many homes throughout the country, as most all house guests in Greece enjoy a small cup of delicious, Greek-style coffee upon entering their host’s home.
What Is Traditional Greek Coffee?
Historically, the characteristics of Greek coffee come from simple ingredients and an excellent taste that continues to grow on you.
The first important thing to know is that Greek coffee is very similar to Turkish coffee, which we have also explored in great length. This similarity means that the Greeks also make their brews with a very fine grind of coffee. In fact, a key giveaway of an authentic Greek coffee shop is its use of the nation’s trademark, powder-like coffee grounds.
Greek coffee recipes are also known for creating a very foamy top layer (kaimaki) that serves two purposes. First, the sight of foam at the top of your Briki signifies that your coffee is fully brewed and ready to enjoy. Second, the airy foam adds a unique flavor that separates Greek coffee from its Turkish cousin.
Next, we need to explore the four main types of Greek coffee, all varying by their level of sweetness:
- Sketos (Unsweetened): typically consists of one teaspoon of coffee and no added sugar
- Metrios (Moderately Sweet): typically consists of one teaspoon of coffee and one teaspoon of sugar
- Glykos (Sweet): typically consists of one teaspoon of coffee and two teaspoons of sugar
- Vary Glykos (Very Sweet): typically consists of two teaspoons of coffee and three teaspoons of sugar
The final important thing to know about traditional Greek coffee is that it’s typically served black, but not always. Children and younger adults in Greece will often add milk to their coffees, while parents and other adults will sometimes enjoy their black Elliniko kafe with a sweet treat such as a dessert or pastry.
When brewing at home, it’s up to you to decide how to complement your Greek coffee. We recommend a cookie, scone, or a favorite snack from your local bakery.
What Do I Need To Make Greek Coffee?
Unless you have a trip planned to Greece in the near future, you’ll probably have to enjoy the nation’s delicious brew within the comforts of your own home. But don’t worry, we at Amora have all the insight and knowledge you need to brew the perfect cup of Elliniko kafe.
First, you’ll need the tools and ingredients essential for the ideal brewing experience:
- Greek Coffee: your beans should always be finely ground
- Briki (Greek coffee pot): a tall, narrow pot with a long spout to help you pour; essential for brewing truly authentic Greek coffee
- Demitasse Cups: French for “half cup”; these diminutive cups are perfect for creating the ideal amount of foam for this style of coffee
- Water: for Greek coffee, we recommend using cold water for a more robust flavor profile
- *Sugar: only required if you are looking to brew one of the three sweetened styles of Greek coffee
- A Glass of Cold Water: in Greek culture, a tall glass of water comes standard with any order of coffee
How Do I Brew Greek Coffee?
Now that you have all the tools and ingredients you need, it’s time for you to learn how to brew your very own cup of Greek Coffee!
Follow the simple steps below and we guarantee you’ll fall in love with the unique flavor, foamy texture, and cultural delight of Greek-style coffee:
- Using your two-ounce Demitasse cup as a measuring device, fill your Briki with as many cups of cold water as you need (depending on the amount of coffee you’re brewing).
- Add a heaping teaspoon of Greek coffee for each two-ounce cup of water.
- *If you are making Metrios, Glykos or Vary Glykos style coffee, add the requisite amount of granulated sugar.
- Now that your water, coffee grinds, and sugar are in your Briki, place the pot over medium heat and stir.
- Keep an eye on the foam rising from the grounds. When the foam reaches the top, remove the Briki immediately.
- Let your coffee stand while the grounds settle.
- Pour your delicious, foaming coffee into each of your cups and enjoy!
Try Amora Coffee Today
Now that you know how to quickly and easily make a delicious cup of Greek Coffee, it's time to choose the best coffee grounds for the job. Here at Amora, we have blends designed for all types of coffee drinkers. Whether you prefer a bold, smoky blend or a balanced, fruity blend, we have what you need. Our premium coffee blends are crafted using a nine-step roasting process to maximize our blends’ flavors and aroma. Even better, we’ll ship the coffee right to your doorstep!