How to Make and Drink Greek Coffee

How to make Greek coffee

We have known for a while that coffee can be good for you and particularly Greek style coffee as that recent study on elderly Greeks showed us. So how do you make it?

Well, first of all taste is subjective and when it comes to coffee the variations are limitless. The same goes for Greek coffee, obviously you won’t add milk or syrups to it, but the ratio of sugar to coffee, the amount of coffee, the length of time it is boiled, whether it has bubbles or not, all these are factors that can affect the taste and texture of the coffee. So in this post I will show you how I make the coffee and present the numerous other ways it can be prepared.

You will need

You will need some equipment to make a proper Greek coffee.

  • A gas source. In Greece most people used to have gas stove tops, nowadays these have been replaced with electric stove tops, which I am not very fond of, as I cannot see flame. Since most people no longer have gas stove tops, here they use what you call a gazaki, it is a single camping gas burner. Traditionally this type of coffee is made in what is called hovoli, which is basically heated sand.
  • Get a small coffee pot called a briki.
  • Espresso coffee cup or Greek coffee cup like the one in the photo
*Note Greek coffee does not have any spices added to it such as cardamom.

Greek coffee

What Type of Coffee Should you Use?

Now many people think that if they grind their favorite coffee beans in a fine powder they will have Greek style coffee. This is not the case. I remember when I was the Food and Beverage Director for Starbucks in Greece and we were launching the first store in Greece back in 2002, we had to serve Greek coffee in the store. Apparently there is a law in Greece that requires all coffee shops to serve Greek coffee. However, Starbucks only serve their own coffee blends, so they ground their beans in a powder and made a “Greek” coffee. I can assure you that it looked like Greek coffee, but it did not taste like Greek coffee. Α specific combination of beans is used to make this Greek blend, with specific bean varieties, roasted at specific temperatures and used in specific ratios. If there is a place that grinds/roasts Greek/Turkish/Arab style coffee near you, then by all means get the coffee from there. If not, many ethnic super markets sell it and you can also order Greek coffee from Amazon, they carry the 2 popular Greek brands Loumidis and Bravo.

Greek coffee

How to drink Greek coffee

While this is a small coffee, it is not to be confused with the espresso, which is basically consumed quickly standing up. This coffee is consumed sitting down slowly. To get the full flavor you should sip the coffee slowly. I remember the older generations taking loud sips of coffee; while this may be rude, I find that it increases the enjoyment of the coffee. Once you start tasting the first grounds you are done. Do not try and drink the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.

In Greece, traditionally coffee was consumed two times a day: In the morning and in the afternoon after their nap. Although the coffee seems thick and black it is not extremely high in caffeine, it is actually lower then regular filter coffee.

Different Preparations of Greek Coffee

As I mentioned earlier there are different ways to enjoy coffee (some say that there are 45 different ways to prepare Greek coffee), so you may always reduce the sugar or not add any at all. The way I make it is considered somewhat moderate to strong. Here are some of the ways it can be consumed:

  • Plain pronounced Sketos: Only coffee and no sugar
  • Strong pronounced Varis: 2-3 teaspoons of coffee with 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Light pronounced Elafris: ½-1 teaspoon of coffee + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sweet pronounced Glykos: 1 teaspoon coffee +2 teaspoons sugar
  • Strong-Sweet pronounced Variglykos: 3 teaspoons coffee +3 teaspoons sugar
  • Yes and No pronounced Ne ke Ohi: 1 teaspoon coffee + ½ teaspoon sugar

Greek Coffee

Greek coffee
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Making and drinking authentic Greek coffee in a few easy steps.
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Greek Coffee
Servings: 1
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Instructions

  • Measure out a full coffee cup of water (about 2 1/2 -3 ounces or 75-90 mls) and pour into the briki. If you are making more than one coffee make sure your briki is big enough, you will need space to let the coffee bubble and foam.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 1 coffee cup and stir. This ratio is considered a somewhat strong coffee.
  • Place the briki on the gas and turn on so that it is on low heat.
  • Very slowly let the coffee heat up, (keep the flame very-very low). Do not leave the coffee unattended.
  • You will slowly see the surface start to tremble (I describe it like a volcano waiting to explode). Once it starts foaming, lift it slightly from the heat until the foam/bubbles settle and then put it on the fire again and let it start foaming and puffing up. Then remove. This step is important to get a good coffee. You don’t want to let it over-boil otherwise it will not have that creamy/foam on top, but you don’t want it under-boiled because then you may taste the grounds in the coffee.
  • Serve in the coffee cup. If you are making more then one, separate the foam in each coffee cup.
  • Serve the cup on a small saucer with a glass of cold water.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet
Photos by OliveTomato

47 Comments

  • Reply Mixalis November 16, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Hello, I’m Greek & I’ve always drank my Greek coffee with cardomon!

  • Reply George Males June 12, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    I am inspired by your writings which brings back memories of Yaya and her Greek girlfriends that used to gather in the afternoon for talk and treats, and ‘Turkish’ coffee. I still have the brass brikies. Your recipe and method is the same as Yaya and Mother taught me, only they allowed foaming to happen 3 times (maybe for the trinity). As a retired senior, I will dust off the briki and bring them back to life. Love your writings.5 stars

  • Reply Katie July 10, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    This sounds so good! I am curious though (I always have to worry about something when I should just live my life): I’ve seen some articles that boiled, unfiltered coffee can raise cholesterol. Does this potentially have that effect or because the grounds aren’t consumed is it less likely to cause any issues with cholesterol? I know traditional Greeks are very healthy in general and face very few lifestyle related diseases so I would think either this coffee doesn’t cause cholesterol raising or because the diet is so healthy it would make up for that. Just wondering if you know more about this. I’m still going to try it either way it sounds like it would be something I would love and I’ve been using a french press anyways so I’m sure that also would be considered unfiltered coffee.

  • Reply Murat June 2, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    That is nice but that is not greek, its turkish coffee.

  • Reply Jessica March 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t have a gas stove only electric. I follow the instructions that my friend, who is Egyptian, told me. I can never get the frothy or foamy top like in all the pictures but it tastes pretty good.

  • Reply Blaire Ferry March 7, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    This was so so so helpful! It’ll save me so much more money making it myself rather than constantly buying it. I sadly live in America when I would love to live in Greece. So this will help me make better coffee than any other places can offer!!

  • Reply Su September 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Kalimera,
    I’m sitting outside Als bar in Batsi, Andros. Been coming here for 20 years, loved your article on how to make proper Greek coffee, definitely going to bring a briki home with me this year. Can’t believe it’s taken me 20 years!!!
    Best wishes,
    Su
    XX

  • Reply Stin Halkidiki June 27, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    when on the beach in north greece, my aunt would soak cotton balls in either alcohol or something else that i cant remember, and she’d light them up and hold the briki over the flames. when there’s a craving, there’s a way

  • Reply Carla Steenkamp Sheills May 28, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Thank you Elena! We are new converts to Greek coffee after our first visit to Greece. I feel much better drinking coffee like this than the way I used to! We now love our daily Greek coffee! Good to read about it . I work with over 100 women every week, dancing and will be introducing our dancers to the joys of Greek coffee.

  • Reply Kathy November 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Though we liked Greek coffee we really did not drink it because making it on the stove was hugely unsuccessful! No patience… never managed to get a good kamaki on the top. Then we discovered the Beko Turkish/Greek auto coffee maker – with North American power – this little machine make a perfect cup of coffee every single time with the push of one button. It’s become our coffee of choice since we bought the machine.

  • Reply Gus July 31, 2017 at 4:47 am

    I came here for tips on Greek coffee, but the rest of the content here looks great – hitting “Subscribe.”

  • Reply Margaret July 12, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    I have just received my first order of Loumadis coffee and although I really liked it, am not sure if I made it correctly. Is 1 teaspoon, a level teaspoon or a heaped teaspoon? I used a level teaspoon with a half teaspoon of sugar, but I didn’t manage to get it to foam although I boiled it for several minutes. I did however, have the element on high … we don’t have gas. I will try again with the element on low next time.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Hi Margaret,
      Have the element on low, it will take a bit more time but you should get the foam. If it is on high it will come to a boil too fast resulting in no foam.

  • Reply Regina November 23, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hi ~ I loved this article. When and why do you drink the cold water?
    Thank You!

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