This is another Greek tradition that is deeply rooted into the culture. Not only do most Greeks love caffeine, but drinking Greek coffee is synonymous with being Greek. I am actually not sure whether there are more frappes or these tiny little Greek coffees drunk throughout the day, but I would imagine that frappes win during the summer months for sure. Now that it is winter, you will rarely pass an empty coffee shop. Especially the local tavernas turned coffee houses for old men in the mornings, after lunch, and all evening.
Traditionally, the coffee was made in a briki made of brass or copper, but today it is common to use just a cheaper metal one. It is important to use the right size briki as to not lose the flavors by over boiling. Add the following ingredients to the briki for 2 servings of Greek coffee.
2 teaspoonfuls of Greek coffee (Bravo, instant coffee)
2 teaspoons of sugar, for a medium sweet
2*3oz cups cold water
Stir to dissolve the coffee and sugar, then let the heat raise the foam without stirring. Once the foam reaches the top of the small briki, pour some of the foam into each cup to help create a base for the sediment at the bottom of the cup. This foam is called kaimaki, and the richer the better. Replace the briki on the heat and allow to heat and rise again, then finish pouring the coffee evenly into each cup. Coffee is always served with a tall glass of water and usually a cookie to compliment the strong flavor. Greeks typically drink 3-4 cups of coffee per day, even up to bedtime.
An old tradition or superstition is to flip over your coffee cup after you finish, leaving the tar like grounds to form as the slide down the cup. This design is then suppose to tell you about the future or your fortune. I have never actually seen any Greeks doing this today, except for maybe the kids flipping over their parents’ cups.
It usually takes a while for someone to enjoy the strong, sometimes bitter, flavor of Greek coffee, so the first time you try it make sure they add sugar. There are three ways to order a coffee: sketo with no sugar, metrio with 1 tsp, and glyko very sweet with 2 tsp. Serving Greek coffee is a form of hospitality, so if you are ever visiting someone’s house, you should expect to enjoy a cup!
PS. My pictures above do not do justice to the kaimaki foam that you would typically expect, I am pretty sure that I used a briki that was too tall and the foam wasn’t formed properly.