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Start With the Pot
Greek coffee is a strong brew, served with foam on the top and the grounds in the bottom of the cup. Although it can be made in a specialized pot, the traditional small pot shown here is best. It allows the proper amount of foam, which adds to the unique taste.
What You'll Need
- Greek coffee
- Sugar (optional)
- A briki (μπρίκι, pronounced BREE-kee)
- Demitasse cups
- Cold water
- Water glasses
The pot used for making Greek coffee is called a briki. It comes in 2-, 4- and 6-demitasse cup sizes to create just the right amount of foam—a very important part of the process. If you plan to make coffee for more than six people, making several potfuls in stages is recommended.
Start with very cold water. Use the demitasse cup to measure the water needed for each cup of coffee (one demitasse cup of water is about 1/4 cup). Pour the water into the briki.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
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Add Coffee, and Sugar (If Desired)
Greek coffee is brewed to taste and there are four standard types. They vary by sweetness and by the amount of coffee used. Experimenting will help you find the exact brew for you.
Continue to 3 of 6 below.
- For unsweetened coffee, add one heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki. In Greek, this is called sketos, written σκέτος and pronounced SKEH-tohss.
- For medium-sweet coffee, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called metrios, written μέτριος and pronounced MEHT-ree-ohss.
- For sweet coffee, add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called glykos or γλυκός and pronounced ghlee-KOHSS.
- For extra-strong sweet coffee, add 3 teaspoons of sugar and 2 heaping teaspoons of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called vary glykos (βαρύ γλυκός), pronounced vah-REE ghlee-KOHSS.
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Let the Foam Rise
Turn on the heat to medium-low. Stir the coffee until it dissolves and then don't stir again. Heat slowly. The foam will start to rise in the briki before it boils. This foam is called kaïmaki (καϊμάκι), pronounced kaee-MAH-kee. The richer the foam, the more Greeks like it.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
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Share the Foam, Then Pour
The foam can rise to the top of the briki very quickly once it starts. When it reaches the top, remove from the heat and serve. Evenly divide the foam among all the cups, then fill the cups with the remainder of the coffee, taking care not to disturb the foam.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Serve and Sip
Serve Greek coffee piping hot with a glass of cold water for each person. You can add homemade cookies or sweet biscuits for a final touch. This coffee is sipped, often loudly and quite slowly. In authentic settings, one cup of coffee often lasts a few hours. Greek coffee has recently become popular with the younger set, who order "doubles" and often add milk (they also drink if faster than custom dictates).Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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Another type of coffee is quite popular: sweet boiled coffee (glykivrastos, γλυκήβραστος, pronounced ghlee-KEE-vrah-stohss). To make glykivrastos, use 1 teaspoon of coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Lift and lower the briki up and down from the heat, allowing the coffee to come just about to the boiling point three times until it makes a lot of foam. Be careful not the let the foam spill over. Serve the same way you would traditional Greek coffee.