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Greek coffee, a healthy coffee

Updated on October 2, 2014

Drinking Greek coffee improves arterial health

A couple of cups of Greek coffee a day improve heart health and increase longevity, according to a study on the benefits of Greek coffee of the First Cardiology Clinic, University of Athens announced at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Stockholm.

Greek coffee consumption increases the elasticity of arteries, which protects against heart diseases. The study of the First Cardiology Clinic, University of Athens was in 485 inhabitants of the island of Ikaria, 65 to 100 years old, who had high blood pressure.

The study found that those who did moderate consumption of Greek coffee, boiled in a briki, had better arterial health, with the vessels to behave like those of young people. The arteries of those who drank less or no coffee was far less flexible.

The researchers speculate that certain ingredients such as antioxidants, may improve arterial function, increasing the body's ability to recruit nitric oxide, capacity which is reduced in patients with hypertension.

To the above study I can add the advice of a Greek doctor in Neurology, who advised me to drink one or two cups of Greek coffee a day, instead of machine coffee that I used to drink when I worked abroad. I did so and my stomach and sleep problems subsided.


The name: Greek coffee or Turkish one?

I guess that Shakespeare's verses: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", could apply to greek coffee as well.

Whether it is called Turkish, Cypriot, Armenian or Greek coffee, as I prefer to call it - as my national duty dictates-, the particularity of this coffee is the way it is prepared: "finely powdered roast coffee beans are boiled in a special pot, the briki, with sugar according to taste, before being served into a cup where the dregs settle". By doing this the taste and aroma of the coffee is retained: a wonderful and particular smell: A smell that reminds of mediterranean sea and middle east, of summer and basil. And a taste that brings to mind joyful companies and bitter farewells.

Briki (ibrik)


Whether of bronze, metal or tin, this sacred object is the main component of the ritual of preparing Greek coffee. Nowadays , due to the existence of roasting coffee machines, this ritual has been simplified, but love, care and a briki are still necessary in order to make a nice coffee, that satisfies each individual's taste.

Preparation of good Greek coffee is like an art. People who succeed in it, as well as those who insist on expecting particular and demanding tastes, are called "meraklides". A Turkish word that means a person who is gifted with "meraki", i.e. refined and high taste.

Briki in stainless steel


Enamel briki


How to make greek coffee

In the greek coffee pot we boil the mixture of water (75ml or one small coffee cup), with coffee and sugar.

For plain coffee (sketos) : 75 ml water and 1 teaspoon of coffee

Medium: (metrios): 75 ml water, 1 teaspoon coffee and one teaspoon sugar

Sweet (glykos): 75 ml water, 1 teaspoon coffee and 2 teaspoons sugar.

We stir a few times and then we let the coffee boil in very low temperature. We lift the briki from the fire as soon as it starts to boil and the froth comes up to the brim of the pot. We actually lift it just before it overflows.

We serve very carefully, holding the briki close to the cup. It is better to half fill all cups instead of filling them up one after the other so that the froth (kaimaki) is equally served in all cups.

The preparation of Greek coffee is considered successful when the froth is sustained during serving.

For big cups one has to double the dosage.The disadvantage of drinking Greek coffee in a big cup is that the froth doesn't come out so thick.

Other ways of preparing greek coffee have enigmatic names such as "heavy sweet" or "much heavier" or "heavy sweet and not" , "very heavy and not" . They relate to the thickness that the froth acquires by lowering the coffee pot when coffee is served in the cup. These kinds of taste appeal to the fanatics of Greek coffee and can only be prepared in traditional coffee shops.

How Greek coffee is served

Greek coffee is served in demitasse cups. In the Greek kafenion there is a special type of cup, just the right shape to keep the coffee hot and to let the dregs settle. In Greek homes though, the cups used are of various designs, according to the taste of their owners. The coffee is served on trays and is always accompanied by fresh water. Sometimes the hostess also serves cookies or the tradional "spoon" sweet, made from fruit in sirop.


Coffee in Greek culture

As anywhere in the world, coffee is the most popular beverage of all time. Either alone or in company Greeks have always enjoyed good coffee in so many occasions, happy or sad ones.

In older times coffee was drank in dark places of the underground world, full of smoke of tobacco and kannabis, where rebetika songs were being performed. On the other hand, the same beverage that was served in such places has been the treat offered to guests in any greek house, whether rich or poor, in cities or in villages. It is also still served, usually without sugar, after funerals and memorials.

The temple of Greek coffee is certainly the coffee shop or "kafenion" where coffee accompanies the reading of newspapers. or the vivid discussions on politics. The game of tavli is also an inseparable part of the world of the Greek coffee shop. Coffee, tavli and komboloi (worrybeads) form the triptychon of recreation of many greek souls who, in this way, lay down their burdens for a little while

More uses of Greek coffee

We can use Greek coffee as an excellent antiodorant.

- In the fridge: an open bag of Greek coffee eliminates the odors

- To get rid of onion smell from our hands we rub them with a pinch of coffee

As a cure for diarrhea:

- We can drink bitter Greek coffee (no sugar at all) mixed with one teaspoon of lemon juice.

Finally, dregs are a first class fertilizer. So we pour them in pots instead of the sink. My mother has the habit of keeping the dregs of the coffee she drinks every day in a jar and fertilize her beautiful gardenia.

Device for roasting coffee on sand


This is the best way to prepare good Greek coffee, but it is rarely used in traditional kafenion, due to the length of time it requires. It is worth it though, since the coffee boils very slowly and its taste does not alter at all.

The brikis with the mixture of coffee, sugar and water are placed on the burning sand and, from time to time we stir the sand around them.

Although the device is quite expensive, it has two advantages. On one hand the taste of the coffee is exquisite and on the other hand the "chovoli" with its attractive, vintage, shape, becomes the centre of the group of people who share its preparation and its delicious smell.

Greek coffee accessories


Put a touch of Greek coffee shop in your living room


"Greece coffee shop"

Coffee ballad

My thanks

Many thanks to our friends: Marciag, Ciwash and Noctambulant, for their kind and helpful critique

Just tell me your "kalimera" (good morning)!

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    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      Kalimera to you once again! I'll swap you a Greek coffee for an Irish coffee - and the weather!

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 4 years ago


      I love Greece and Greek coffee!

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Hummm, I can just imagine how great this must smell! I would love to try it! I will have to see about this! Thanks! B : )

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I first tried Greek coffee after reading this recipe here:

      I've since been addicted and am now looking for ways to improve it / or alterations, so will definitely give your very detailed instructions here a try...

    • profile image

      ernad18 5 years ago

      great lens

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      It was so interesting to learn more about Greek coffee. I was first exposed to this style of coffee when I was an international exchange student living with a Greek family. This lens brought back many lovely memories. How I would love to have a cup of Greek coffee right at this moment. There is nothing that compares with it.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 5 years ago

      I love Greek coffee -- if it wasn't for the caffeine (I don't like de-caf or any other treated stuff), I'd drink litres every day.


      Have you ever tried burning just a few grains of ground greek coffee on a stove or on a hot kitchen plate? It'll make your home smell like a kafeneio (Greek coffee shop) -- but without the cigarette smoke... :D :D :D

    • ionee251 profile image

      ionee251 5 years ago

      I would love to try this one. I like my coffee just mild.

    • tonyb65 profile image

      tonyb65 5 years ago

      I drink a lot of coffee, usually made through a filter and either with a drop of milk or espresso. I lik Greek and Turkish coffee however and think I might just buy a Briki

      A super lens.

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 5 years ago from USA

      like this lens -- really like the way you are making yourself an authority on all things Greek.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to sprinkle a little angel dust in your Greek coffee.

    • profile image

      ikoniatis 6 years ago

      Kalimera! Great lens!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      I had Greek coffee about 10 years ago.. I loved it and can't believe I never got the stuff to make it myself. Thumbs up and angel blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      kalimera! Time for a hot cuppa coffee for me! Cheers!

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 6 years ago


      Two cups of Greek coffee a day, drive the doctor away! ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Once again, you have the loveliest and most inviting presentation for your Greek coffee, I have never had it but I think I noticed a wonderful aroma when I arrived here!

    • profile image

      araxes 6 years ago

      I just loved reading your Lens and thinking back to my carefree days in Greece, when I had the opportunity to partake of its lovely cuisine, and interact with the Greek people. It will always stay a cherished memory. I can almost smell and taste the coffee...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      congrats on being a category lens right now, that's how I found ya.