The easiest way to describe exactly what a “Greek Coffee” looks, tastes and smells like is to basically say it’s a very strong brewed coffee – similar to a piccolo that unfortunately looks a little bit like mud, krema on top and the grounds in the bottom of the cup. Although it can be made in various different pots, the traditional small pot (pictured) is best because it allows the proper amount of krema, which adds to the unique taste of a traditional Greek Coffee.
Some say there is an art to it, others say it comes naturally but after asking around my big Greek family the general consensus was it is all about the krema – a brownish foam that forms on the top of freshly made espresso coffee.
To make a traditional Greek coffee at home, make sure you have: 1 small pot, formally known as a Briki used to boil Greek coffee it is usually brass or copper, 1 small coffee cup, Sugar, Ground coffee and a spoon.
Here’s how to make Greek coffee at home:
- Start with 1 cup of very cold water for each cup of coffee you’re making
- Add 1 level tsp of ground Greek coffee for every cup your making (no sugar for a sugar free coffee – called a sketo).
- When it comes to sugar: no sugar for a skeet (sugar free coffee); 1 teaspoon sugar for a (metrio) coffee which is not too sweet; 2 teaspoons per cup for sweet (gliko) coffee.
- Put one teaspoon of ground coffee into the briki
- Combine the cold water with sugar and ground coffee into the briki
- Dissolve sugar into the water, remove the teaspoon from the briki and place on the stove until the water just starts to boil – while stirring slowly
- The coffee starts to rise forming a krema
- Before it comes to the boil you should take it off and there should be a thick krema forming on the top
- Gently pour into Greek coffee cups adding a bit of krema in each
Enjoy on its own or with a Greek biscotti (paximadi) for a treat. Once you’ve finished your drinking your coffee, turn your cup upside down and read your fortune as the old Greek folk did!
Extra tips: If you want to achieve a thicker kaimaki (cream on top of coffee) then add more sugar. To read your fortune, look at the patterns the coffee left and see mountains, roads, animals (whatever your fortune may be) – some people do it for fun however many Greeks still believe in it. Finally, when talking to someone with Greek heritage about coffee, never mistake it for a Turkish coffee – we’re all friends now, but for some it’s a touchy subject.
To make the perfect Greek Paximadi here’s my Yiayia’s recipe:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 cups self-raising flour
- 2 cups of orange juice
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds or dates, or both!!!!
1. Add sugar and oil slowly and beat for 5 minutes. Sift flour add the orange juice and then the nuts. The dough may seem sticky, but it is ok when you start working with it (refrigerating the dough for a while will help you in handling it). 2. Divide the dough into portions. Roll into six thin loaves, about 7 inches long; place on baking sheets or if you have small bread pans, you can put each loaf in a bread pan. Beat egg brush top of loaves. 3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; while still warm cut loaves into 1/2 inch thick slices. Turn slices on their sides, put on cookie sheet, return to oven and bake these slices at 250 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes (depending on how crisp you like them), turn paximathia over, bake for another 10 – 15 minutes.
Once you have nailed the ultimate Greek coffee and Paximadi combination, reward yourself with Greek feast from one of our top five Greek restaurants in Brisbane: The Little Greek Taverna, The Yiro Shop, Lefkas Taverna, Greek on Cav and Zeus.
Happy Coffee making!