After years of trial and error I have finally perfected making Greek coffee and I’m sharing all my secrets with you. (But I suppose that means they are not secrets anymore.)
For those of you not familiar with Greek coffee, it’s prepared in a little pot with a long handle and pouring spout (called a briki). Greek coffee (which is similar to Turkish coffee) is made with strong, very finely ground coffee grounds and it’s not filtered. The result is a small cup of coffee that will definitely put a spring in your step and that you should avoid slurping down the last sip or two unless you like the texture of coffee sludge.
There are a million methods that every yiayia (Greek grandma) swears by and I’ve tried a bazillion of them (give or take). Unfortunately, none of the yiayia approved approaches have worked for me. This left me to find my own way over time. Here are my tips for how to make the best Greek coffee:
Tip #1 – Stir the water, coffee grounds, and (optional) sugar only at the beginning before you place the briki on the burner. Never ever stir it again. If you stir during the boiling process then you will disturb the coffee grounds and not get as nice a foam on the top of your cup after you pour it. This delightful foam is called kaimaki.
Tip #2 – Pay attention. Greek coffee takes time to make but when it’s ready it could boil over in seconds.
Tip #3 – Stove temperature matters. I find this to be the trickiest part of making Greek coffee because I have an electric stovetop. The burner automatically (and constantly) turns on and off to regulate the temperate and that impacts getting the perfect kaimaki. If the stove temperature is too hot then the coffee will sort of burn and taste bitter or weird. If the stove temperature is not hot enough then you won’t get that beautiful kaimaki. The answer is to brew the Greek coffee by repeatedly changing the stove temperature based on how the Greek coffee looks.
Tip #4 – Slow down and enjoy. This is an experience, whether you’re enjoying it with another person or yourself. It also helps if you have some Greek cookies to dunk into it. 😉
Greek Coffee Recipe
(Makes 1 serving)
- water (about 2 fluid ounces)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar * (see note below)
- heaping tablespoon Greek coffee (I use Bravo. You want to make sure you use very finely ground coffee that almost looks like powder, regular coffee will not work.)
Note * I don’t use sugar in my regular (non-Greek coffee), but I find about a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in my Greek coffee is ideal for this strong brew. It’s up to you, as to whether you want more, less, or any at all.
- Fill your coffee cup with water (about 2 fluid ounces). I have a few demitasse coffee cup sets. I’ve had my set of white cups for so long and I can’t remember where I got them from. Here is a similar set.
- Pour the water into the briki. I bought my briki from a Greek shop in NYC years ago. Here is a similar one.
- Add the sugar (if any) and the coffee, then stir well.
- Place the briki on the stove on Medium heat. When you start to see steam above the coffee, raise the heat a notch. When you see more intense or increased steam, raise the heat another notch. When you see tiny bubbles just forming on the top of the coffee, raise it one more notch. When the coffee starts to boil along the outside edge of the liquid take it off the heat immediately and pour it slowly into your coffee cup.
- Let it rest for a few minutes to give the grounds a chance to settle to the bottom and to avoid burning yourself. Boiling water is hotter than normal coffee.
Source: Tina’s Chic Corner
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