1. Where does Greek Coffee come from?
The origin of can be traced back to 1475 when the world’s first coffee shop was reportedly opened by Greeks, a few years after the Turkish occupation, in present-day Istanbul, then called Constantinople. Kiva Han Coffee Shop was the pioneer, and not long after, there was an explosion of coffee shops. Even today, kafenia are legion in Greece and any other place where Greeks have settled. A kafenio (coffee house) is a gathering place where older Greek men discuss life, play backgammon, enjoy each other’s company, and, of course, relax with an elliniko kafe (Greek coffee), which is usually served until late.
2. How to make traditional Greek Coffee?
The process of making Greek coffee is very simple but requires a bit of patience. Greek coffee is made using a briki (bree-kee). It is a steel pot with a long handle which are available in different sizes but usually a pot that serves 2-4 cups is normal. There is no rushing Greek coffee so if you are serving more it must be done in stages. Greek coffee is usually served in small demitasse cups. There are three distinct characteristics that are essential to Greek coffee:
- The grounds, which settle to the bottom of the cup
- The liquid coffee, which is strong and thick.
- The foam, or kaïmaki (pronounced kaee-MAH-kee), which should be rich.
3. How sweet do you want Greek Coffee?
Sugar needs to be added directly to the coffee while it is brewing and the amount creates the three main styles of Greek coffee:
Here is the sugar breakdown:
- Unsweetened: Sketos (skeh-tohss): Unsweetened and therefore no sugar with 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee
- Medium-Sweet: Metrios (meht-re-ohss): Add 1 teaspoon of sugar per 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee. (most popular)
- Sweet: Glykos (ghlee-kohss): Add 2 teaspoons of sugar per 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee.
4. Coffee reading
Another interesting traditional practice is the so-called Greek coffee tasseography. After most of the coffee is consumed, the grounds sitting at the bottom of the cup are interpreted by coffee readers, who may link these symbols to future and fortune telling.