Coffee 101: How to Make Traditional Greek Coffee
Explore everything you need to know about Greek coffee, including the origins and how to make the perfect cup.
If you’re an instant coffee drinker, you might always be looking for new brands and types to try. Instant coffee comes from many different countries including Vietnam, Turkey, and Greece. Greek instant coffee has its own unique flavor profile that is definitely worth checking out.
What Exactly is Greek Coffee?
Greek instant coffee is coffee that has been dried and prepared and then packaged. You will only need to add your desired dose to a cup and then add water. Traditional Greek coffee is made differently, even though the grounds will be very similar to the instant grounds you will use.
When making Greek coffee, you will use a small pot that has a very long handle. In Greek, it’s called a briki. The grounds resemble the consistency of powdered sugar. This is different than coarse coffee grounds you might find with other ground coffees.
The fine coffee grounds will seep to the bottom of the cup kind of like mud. You will not taste them or need to worry about them getting into your mouth as you drink.
To make traditional Greek coffee, all you need to do is boil together water and coffee in the briki. It will eventually become a nice creamy texture.
The Taste of Greek Coffee
You will find that Greek coffee is very strong compared to other coffees. The ratio of coffee to water is much higher and the coffee does not get filtered. You will have a strong mouthful of coffee.
The taste of Greek coffee also often lingers in your mouth rather than evaporating. It’s similar to a very dark roast coffee in that it has some burnt notes to the aftertaste.
If you have ever had Turkish coffee, you can compare the flavors of the two. Both coffees have similar origins in Yemen before eventually coming to Eastern Europe.
Although instant coffee is generally lower in caffeine, Greek instant coffee is higher in caffeine than many other brands. This is because the coffee is very fine. The finer the coffee, the more water is able to extract the soluble compounds which make caffeine content higher.
The coffee is also directly mixed with water rather than being filtered which attributes to the high caffeine content.
Most people with caffeine intolerance might not be able to handle Greek coffee. You might also want to avoid it in the early evening and at night if you find that caffeine interferes with your ability to sleep.
How Does Greek Coffee Compares to Other Coffees?
Greek coffee is different than regular coffee in many different ways. The taste is much richer and bolder. Many people also say that it feels foamy and delicate in your mouth as you are sipping it.
Greek coffee is still made the same as other coffees though in that it starts with fresh ground coffee. The grounds are more similar to Turkish coffee than regular coffee.
One of the main differences is that Greek coffee is not filtered. Since it’s made with super fine coffee grounds, it does not need to be filtered. The coffee grounds will just naturally sink to the bottom when hot water is added to make the coffee.
Compared to other coffees, you will find that Greek coffee is stronger and more bitter. Some people also describe consistency as being closer to syrup than a liquid.
Greek Coffee Vs. Espresso
Although it might seem similar to espresso, Greek instant coffee does not have the same flavor. It’s also thicker than espresso.
If you order Greek coffee at a restaurant, it’s served in a small cup similar to espresso though. It’s also usually mixed with sugar to try and mask the more bitter elements.
Similar to espresso drinkers, most people also do not put milk in their Greek coffee. It’s your cup of coffee though, so you can add milk and cream if you want to.
Using Greek Coffee
While you can always just add some coffee to your cup and mix it with hot water, there are many other recipes you can try. One of the main things people enjoy doing with Greek coffee is making a Greek frappe or iced coffee.
Cold Greek coffee is also served in Greece and the tradition started in 1957 in Thessaloniki. All you need to make a nice foamy iced drink is instant coffee and water (not ground coffee). You will also need a way to mix the coffee. You can use an electric milk frother or a frappe mixer.
A cocktail shaker also works if you don’t have one of the other pieces of equipment on hand. Add your coffee and sugar into a glass with a small amount of cold water. Shake the mixture or mix it until it’s thick and creamy.
You can add some ice cubes and milk if you want. Fill the rest of the glass with cold water and it’s ready to drink! Some people also choose to add evaporated milk if they want the mixture to be sweeter and thicker.
Greek coffee is great to add to your coffee collection for days when you want strong and robust coffee. It’s also a great selection for those who want a higher amount of caffeine on some days.
Greek instant coffee can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on your season or the mood. Make sure to have some sugar on hand to get mask the bitter notes.