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Greek coffee

by:Yolanda Bertaud

Greek Coffee… The Secret Of Long Life! We all heard both good and bad reviews on coffee, but Greek coffee is part of the Mediterranean diet daily for many generations. A study of the people of the island of Ikaria, who are ten times more likely to live to the age of ninety than other Europeans, found that people who consumed Greek coffee had better health and longer life that those who didn’t drink coffee, or who drank other kinds of coffee.

Greek coffee seems to offer excellent health benefits, in particular, endothelial function, which protects the all important blood vessels, leading to improved circulation and blood pressure.

Other aspects of the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables and low in dairy, may also help longevity. So researchers investigated the eating habits of a random group of Ikarians. They found a distinct health difference in those who drank the traditional boiled Greek coffee, as compared with those who drank other kinds of coffee.

Greek coffee is rich in chlorogenic acid, polyphenols, lipid-soluble substances and other heart-healthy compounds, Greek coffee has been shown to help protect the arteries, as well as lower your risk for diabetes and boost overall immune health.

Greek coffee protects against endothelial cell dysfunction, a type of heart disease that is particularly lethal to women and is on the rise. According to a study done on Greek coffee, the people who drank Greek coffee had healthier blood vessels.

In Greece, coffee is typically consumed 3 to 5 times a day in small demitasse cups. In general, each cup contains just a little over 100 mg of caffeine, which equals the amount in about a cup and a half of American coffee.

How to Make Greek Coffee

Greek coffee is a strong brew, served with foam on top and the grounds in the bottom of the cup. Although it can be made in a different pot, the traditional small pot is a briki, because it allows the proper amount of foam, which adds to the unique taste.

What You Need to Make Greek Coffee:

  • Greek coffee
  • Raw Cane Sugar (if used)
  • A briki (μπρίκι, pronounced BREE-kee)
  • Demitasse cups
  • Cold Filtered Water
  • Water glasses

The pot used for making Greek coffee is called a briki. It comes in 2, 4, and 6 demitasse cup sizes that help create the right amount of foam … a very important part of the process. If you plan to make coffee for more than 6 people, I suggest you do it in stages, making more than one pot.

Start with very cold water. Use the demitasse cup to measure the water needed for each cup of coffee (one demitasse cup of water is about 1/4 cup), and pour the water into the briki.

Greek coffee is brewed to taste, and there are four standard types, varying by sweetness and amount of coffee. Experimenting will help you find the exact brew for you.

  • For unsweetened coffee: Add one heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki. In Greek, this is called sketos (σκέτος, pronounced SKEH-tohss).
  • For medium-sweet coffee: Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called metrios (μέτριος, pronounced MEHT-ree-ohss).
  • For sweet coffee: Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called glykos (γλυκός, pronounced ghlee-KOHSS).
  • For extra-strong sweet coffee: Add 3 teaspoons of sugar and 2 heaping teaspoons of coffee to the briki and stir. In Greek, this is called vary glykos (βαρύ γλυκός, pronounced vah-REE ghlee-KOHSS).

Turn on the heat (medium low), stir the coffee until it dissolves, and don’t stir again. Heat slowly. Foam will start to rise in the briki before it boils.

Note: This foam is called kaïmaki (καϊμάκι, pronounced kaee-MAH-kee) and the richer the foam, the better Greeks like it.

When the foam rises to the top of the briki (it can move very quickly once it starts), remove from heat and serve. Evenly divide the foam among all cups, then fill cups with the remainder of the coffee, taking care not to disturb the foam.

Serve piping hot with a glass of cold water for each person and, if desired, homemade cookies or sweet biscuits.

This coffee is sipped, often loudly, quite slowly. One cup of coffee often lasts a few hours, however recently, Greek coffee has become popular with the younger set who order “doubles” and often add milk.

(According to superstition, allowing the foam to boil over may bring bad luck.)

How To: Make Greek Coffee

resources: Health Body Daily, Science World Report, GreekFood.About.com

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