Greek Coffee

Greek Coffee

While it can be made in a specialized pot, the traditional small pot shown here is the best. It allows just the right amount of foam and adds a unique flavor.

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What You'll Need

  • Greek coffee;
  • Sugar (optional);
  • A briki (μπρίκι, pronounced BREE-kee);
  • Demitas Cup;
  • Coldwater;
  • Water glass.

The pot used to make Greek coffee is called a briki. It's available in 2-, 4- and 6-demitasse cup sizes and produces just the right amount of lather - a very important part of the process. If you plan to make coffee for more than six people, it is recommended that you make several pots in stages.

Start with very cold water. Use a demitasse cup to measure the amount of water needed for each cup of coffee (a cup of demitasse water is about 1/4 cup). Pour water into the briki.

Add Coffee and Sugar (If Desired)

Greek coffee is brewed according to taste and there are four standard types. They vary by sweetness and the amount of coffee used. Experimentation will help you find the best coffee for you.

  • For unsweetened coffee, add a tablespoon of coffee to the briki. In Greek, this is called sketos, written σκέτος, pronounced SKEH-tohss.
  • For medium-sweet coffee, add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon coffee to briki and stir. In Greek, this is called metrios, written μέτριος, pronounced MEHT-ree-ohss.
  • For sweet coffee, add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon coffee to briki and stir. In Greek this is called glykos or γλυκός, pronounced ghlee-KOHSS.
  • For an espresso sweet coffee, add 3 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called variable glykos (βαρύ γλυκός), pronounced vah-REE ghlee-KOHSS.

Let the Foam Rise

Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir the coffee until it dissolves, then do not stir. 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 the Greeks like it.

Share the Foam, Then Pour

Once started, the foam will quickly rise to the top of the briki. When it reaches the top, remove it from heat and serve. Distribute the foam evenly among all the cups, then pour the remaining coffee into the cups, being careful not to stir the foam.

Serve and Sip

Serve everyone a hot Greek coffee and cold water. You can add homemade cookies or sweet biscuits for the finishing touch. This coffee is sipped, usually loud and slow. In a real environment, a cup of coffee usually lasts a few hours. Greek coffee has recently become popular among young people who order "doubles" and often add milk (and drink it if it's faster than habitual calls for).


Another type of coffee is popular: sweet brewed coffee (glykivrastos, γλυκήβραστος, pronounced ghlee-KEE-vrah-stohss). To make glykivrastos, use 1 teaspoon coffee and 2 teaspoons sugar per cup. Lift and lower the briki up and down from the heat and let the coffee almost triple the boiling point, until it produces a lot of foam. Be careful not to let the foam overflow. Served in the same way as traditional Greek coffee.