In Greece we take our love of coffee as seriously as we take our passion for food. It’s ingrained in our culture and is a savoured ritual that forms part of our everyday culture.
From how it’s preparade to who it’s enjoyed with, coffee is not just a beverage, but a tradition and occasion. At George’s we’re proud to continue that tradition, so here’s an insight into the history and significance of Greek coffee.
How coffee came to Greece
Coffee has a long and significant history in Greece, and owes much of its origins to the Ottoman Turks, who opened the first coffee house in the world in Constantinople in 1475.
Inevitably, the phenomenon spread to nearby Greece, where it was enthusiastically embraced in all its rich, aromatic glory.
Now Greece is renowned among the largest consumers of coffee in the world, ranking 17th globally with an annual coffee consumption of 5.4kg of coffee per person.
How Greek coffee is made
Creating the perfect brew is as much an art as it is a tradition in Greece. The coffee starts as a fine, rich powder, which is then combined with cold water and lovingly prepared in a coffee pot known as a briki.
Each Greek family has their own briki, and chances are they have more than one to cater to coffee occasions of different sizes. This tall cylindrical pot features wooden handle, and a spout for pouring. Their design allows them to create the ideal amount of foam, or kaïmaki, which is considered an essential element of Greek coffee.
Coffee preparation is not to be rushed. There’s an appreciation that it takes time to produce the perfect cup, and the final result is prepared to taste, with sugar added during the brewing process, if desired.
Unsweetened coffee is known as sketos, medium sweet coffee sees one teaspoon of sugar added to the brew and is known as metrios, sweet coffee has two teaspoons of sugar added and is known as glykos, while extra strong, sweet coffee is known as variglykos and involves an extra addition of coffee and three teaspoons of sugar.
The coffee mix is only stirred initially to dissolve the ingredients. Then it is heated slowly, until the foam has risen to the top of the briki. Once brewed to perfection, Greek Coffee is served in small demitasse cups.
A coffee occasion
Whether it’s a leisurely coffee over the morning paper or an afternoon coffee enjoyed with friends, coffee is considered an occasion.
In Greece there are generally two types of venues where the coffee culture abounds – a kafeteria, which also serves other beverages and snacks, and often doubles as a bar at night, and the kafeneio, which was traditionally a meeting point for men of the local village.
Regardless of where it is enjoyed, each sip of this rich drink is intended to be savoured and relished rather than rushed.
At George’s Mediterranean Bar and Grill, we proudly continue to serve our coffee in traditional Greek style, and welcome you to join us and savour the occasion.
About George’s Mediterranean Bar and Grill
Located on the King Street Wharf amidst the beauty and excitement of Darling Harbour, George’s Mediterranean Bar and Grill is renowned as one of Sydney’s premier eateries. Come share the Greek hospitality for which we are renowned as we serve up harbourside dining in simply stunning surrounds.