Greek Coffee: Traditional Brewing and Serving

greek coffee

When it comes to coffee, Greek coffee, or “ellinikos kafes,” is a unique experience that combines strong flavors, traditional brewing methods, and a cultural significance that stretches back centuries. Greek coffee is prepared without filtering, with foam on the top known as “kaimaki,” and the grounds at the bottom of the cup. To create this rich and aromatic brew, a special pot called a “briki” is used, where attention to detail and technique are key to achieving the perfect cup.

Key Takeaways:

  • Greek coffee, also known as “ellinikos kafes,” is prepared without filtering and is served with foam on the top and grounds at the bottom.
  • The brewing process requires a special pot called a “briki,” which is available in different sizes to create the desired amount of foam.
  • Greek coffee can be enjoyed plain or with varying levels of sweetness, depending on personal preference.
  • Authentic Greek coffee is made by using the right equipment, including a briki and traditional Greek coffee cups.
  • Greek coffee is not just a beverage; it is a cultural tradition that brings people together, encouraging socialization and connection.

Equipment and Preparation for Greek Coffee

When it comes to brewing a perfect cup of authentic Greek coffee, having the right equipment is essential. The main tool needed is the traditional Greek coffee pot, known as a “briki.” This small pot is specifically designed for brewing Greek coffee and is an integral part of the coffee-making process.

In addition to the Greek coffee pot, it is also important to have the appropriate Greek coffee cups. These cups are typically small, with a capacity of around 2 fluid ounces, allowing for the perfect serving size of this rich and flavorful brew.

To make authentic Greek coffee, start by using cold water. Use the Greek coffee cup to measure the right proportion of water for each cup. The coffee pot should be filled with cold water corresponding to the desired number of cups of coffee.

Once you have the water measured, it’s time to add the coffee. Greek coffee is typically strong and robust, so it is recommended to use one heaping teaspoon of coffee per cup. This will give you the perfect balance of flavor and strength. The coffee should be added to the pot along with the desired amount of sugar, according to individual taste preferences.

When it comes to brewing Greek coffee, it is important to pay attention to the heat. Set the heat to medium to low, as brewing Greek coffee slowly over low heat helps to develop the rich flavors and create the distinctive foam on top, known as “kaimaki.”

Once the coffee and sugar are in the pot, give it a quick stir at the beginning to ensure proper roasting. Then, let it simmer without stirring until it starts to foam. Creating the desired creamy foam layer, or “kaimaki,” is a crucial step in the brewing process.

Greek coffee pot

Authentic Greek Coffee Variations

Greek coffee offers a delightful array of variations to suit individual tastes. These variations are achieved by adjusting the proportions of coffee and sugar used. Let me introduce you to four main types of Greek coffee:

  1. Sketos: Sketos is the plain version of Greek coffee, without any sugar added. It is prepared using 1 heap teaspoon of finely ground coffee per cup. Sketos showcases the rich flavors of the coffee beans themselves, offering a robust and intense experience.
  2. Metrios: Metrios strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and the coffee’s inherent bitterness. It is prepared with 1 heap teaspoon of coffee and 1 teaspoon of sugar for each cup. This medium sweetness level provides a harmonious blend of flavors that many coffee enthusiasts find appealing.
  3. Glykos: For those with a sweet tooth, Glykos is the ideal choice. It is made by using 1 heap teaspoon of coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup. The additional sugar adds a touch of sweetness, complementing the natural bitterness of the coffee and creating a delightful symphony of flavors.
  4. Vary glykos: Vary glykos is a decadently sweet version of Greek coffee. It involves using 2 teaspoons of coffee and a generous 3 teaspoons of sugar per cup. The result is an indulgent, extra-strong sweet coffee that’s sure to satisfy those with a penchant for intense sweetness.

Each Greek coffee variation offers a unique flavor profile, allowing coffee lovers to tailor their brew to suit their personal preferences. Whether you enjoy the boldness of sketos, the balance of metrios, the sweetness of glykos, or the intense sweetness of vary glykos, there’s a Greek coffee variation to suit every palate.

Greek coffee variations image

Explore the Flavors of Greek Coffee

If you’re unsure which Greek coffee variation to try first, I recommend starting with metrios. Its medium sweetness level strikes a harmonious balance and serves as an excellent introduction to the world of Greek coffee. From there, you can gradually explore the other variations to find your preferred flavor profile.

Greek Coffee VariationProportionsFlavor Profile
Sketos1 heap teaspoon of coffeeBold and robust
Metrios1 heap teaspoon of coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugarHarmonious balance of bitterness and sweetness
Glykos1 heap teaspoon of coffee, 2 teaspoons of sugarSweet and pleasing
Vary glykos2 teaspoons of coffee, 3 teaspoons of sugarDecadently sweet and intense

How to Make Greek Coffee

If you’re ready to experience the rich and flavorful taste of Greek coffee, follow this step-by-step guide to make your own authentic cup.

  1. Start by filling a coffee cup with cold water. The amount of water should correspond to the desired number of cups of coffee you want to make.

  2. Pour the water into the briki, the special pot used for brewing Greek coffee.

  3. Add the preferred amount of coffee to the briki. The general rule is to use one heap teaspoon of coffee per cup.

  4. If you prefer your coffee sweet, add sugar to the briki as well. The amount of sugar can vary depending on your taste. For medium sweetness, use one teaspoon of sugar per cup.

  5. Stir the contents of the briki well to ensure that the coffee and sugar are evenly mixed.

  6. Place the briki over medium heat on the stovetop.

  7. Allow the coffee to simmer without stirring. This helps to roast the coffee grounds and develop the rich flavors.

  8. Once the coffee starts to foam, remove the briki from the heat and let it sit for a moment until the foam settles.

  9. Return the briki to the heat and let it foam again. Be careful not to let the coffee boil.

  10. Once the coffee has foamed for the second time, remove the briki from the heat.

  11. Pour the coffee into the cups, being careful not to disturb the settled grounds at the bottom of the briki.

  12. Allow the coffee to rest for a few minutes. This will give the grounds time to settle to the bottom of the cups.

Now, your Greek coffee is ready to be savored. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the rich flavors of this traditional brew.

step-by-step guide Greek coffee

The Traditional Gathering Around Greek Coffee

In Greek culture, the process of making and enjoying Greek coffee is more than just a way to make a beverage. It is an opportunity for socialization and connection.

“Greek coffee is not just a drink; it’s a way of life. It brings people together, encourages conversation, and creates lasting memories.”

In the past, Greek coffee was consumed in coffeehouses, known as “kafenia,” where people would gather to discuss politics, sports, and simply enjoy each other’s company. These coffeehouses served as the epicenter of Greek coffee culture, where relationships were formed, ideas were shared, and friendships blossomed.

Today, while traditional neighborhood cafes are disappearing, the love for Greek coffee remains strong. Specialized coffee shops that focus on authentic Greek coffee have emerged, bringing a taste of tradition to modern-day coffee enthusiasts. Moreover, more people are embracing the art of home brewing, recreating the atmosphere and flavors of the traditional Greek coffee experience.

Enjoying Greek coffee is a leisurely activity that requires slowing down and savoring the moment. It’s not a grab-and-go beverage like many other modern coffee options. Greek coffee is meant to be sipped slowly, allowing each individual to fully engage in conversation, connect with others, and appreciate the richness of the flavors.

Experience the Greek Coffee Culture:

  • Find a local Greek coffee shop that offers an authentic experience.
  • Invite friends or loved ones for a Greek coffee gathering at home.
  • Sit down, relax, and enjoy the process of making and savoring Greek coffee.
  • Engage in meaningful conversations and connect with others while sipping your coffee.
  • Appreciate the rich flavors and the cultural significance of Greek coffee.

To truly immerse in the Greek coffee culture, take a moment to appreciate the history and cultural significance of this cherished beverage.

Greek Coffee CultureGathering Around Greek Coffee
Rich history and cultural significanceOpportunity for socialization and connection
Symbol of Greek identityEngaging in conversation and forming relationships
A way to connect with othersEnjoying the moment and the flavors

Greek coffee culture

The History and Cultural Significance of Greek Coffee

Greek coffee has a fascinating history that dates back to the Middle East, where the Bedouins used to make coffee by placing the pot on hot charcoal ashes. This brewing method made its way to Greece during the time it was under Turkish rule. In the 1700s, coffeehouses emerged in cities like Thessaloniki and Athens, serving both Turks and Greeks.

Over time, Greek coffee became more than just a beverage. It became a symbol of social life and a means to connect with others. In these coffeehouses, people from different walks of life would gather to discuss politics, sports, and engage in deep conversations. Greek coffee was at the center of these meetings, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

Today, Greek coffee holds a significant place in Greek culture and identity. It represents a tradition that has been passed down through generations, showcasing the importance of family, friendship, and unity. Greek coffee is still enjoyed in specialized coffee shops and households, where people take the time to savor every sip, engage in meaningful conversations, and create lasting memories.


What is Greek coffee?

Greek coffee, also known as “ellinikos kafes,” is a strong brew prepared without filtering. It is served with foam on the top, known as “kaimaki,” and the grounds at the bottom of the cup.

What is a briki?

A briki is a special pot used to brew Greek coffee. It comes in different sizes to create the right amount of foam and is an essential tool for making authentic Greek coffee.

How do you make Greek coffee?

Start by filling a coffee cup with cold water and pouring it into the briki. Add the desired amount of coffee and sugar, stir well, and then place the briki over medium heat. Let it simmer without stirring until the coffee starts to foam. Remove the briki from the heat, let the foam settle, and then place it back on the heat to foam again. Pour into cups and let it rest for a few minutes before enjoying.

What are the variations of Greek coffee?

Greek coffee can be prepared with four main variations. “Sketos” is plain Greek coffee without sugar. “Metrios” is medium sweetness. “Glykos” is sweet. “Vary glykos” is extra-strong sweet coffee. Each variation uses different proportions of coffee and sugar.

How is Greek coffee traditionally served?

Greek coffee is traditionally enjoyed slowly while sitting down and engaging in conversation. It is a social experience and an opportunity for connection. It is served in small cups with foam on top and grounds at the bottom.

What is the history of Greek coffee?

Greek coffee has its origins in the Middle East and was adopted by Greece during the time it was under Turkish rule. Coffeehouses became popular in Greece in the 1700s, where Greek coffee became a symbol of social life and a way to connect with others.