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How about a cup of Greek coffee?

The Greek coffee is almost a custom stongly connected with the daily life of the Greeks. A small cup of Greek coffee is usually accompanied by fresh water, and may be served on many occasions. It is also almost a way of communication. If one is welcomed in a Greek house, the housewife will be delighted to serve him a cup of coffee accompanied by some spoon sweets (like bitter orange, kumquat, cherry or raisin) or home made biscuits or scones (koulourakia).
In a typical coffee shop in Greece (kafeneion) men used to socialize and discuss all their daily joys or burdens over a bitter or heavily sweet cup of coffee. Women would stop their housework in the early afternoon to welcome relatives or neighbours and they would chat over a delicious cup of coffee. This was the most relaxing time of the day and of course the most pleasant one. The custom of sharing a cup of coffee was always present even during moments of mourning and sorrow, where condolences were given to a family over a bitter cup of black Greek coffee accompanied by a small glass of brandy. Coffee was also served after a meal and could be accompanied by a piece of baklava or galaktoboureko (typical heavy syrup sweets that go perfectly with a strong cup of Greek coffee). A cup of Greek coffee would also serve to wake up its consumer, since a full breakfast in Greece was not a typical custom.

Equipment for making a Greek Coffee
The necessary equipment to prepare Greek coffee consists of a narrow-topped small boiling pot called a`briki', a teaspoon and a stove. The ingredients are finely ground coffee, cold water and (if desired) sugar. It is served in small cups similar in size to Italian espresso. Some modern cups do have handles. Traditional cups did not, and coffee was drunk either by handling the cup with the tip of the fingers or, more often, by placing the cup in a a metal container with a handle. Traditionally, the pot is made of copper and has a wooden handle. The size of the pot is chosen to be close to the total volume of the cups to be prepared, since using a pot which is too large results in most of the precious foam sticking to the inside. Also, a certain depth of water is necessary for the coffee particles to sink. The teaspoon is used both for stirring and measuring the amount of coffee and sugar. For heating, an ordinary stove burner is sufficient, but too strong a heat source is undesirable, as the brewing time needs to be at least 2 minutes

Preparation of Greek Coffee
The best Greek coffee is made from freshly roasted beans ground just before brewing. A dark roast is preferable but even a medium roast coffee will yield a strong aroma and flavour. The grinding is done either by pounding in a mortar (the authentic method) or using a mill (the more usual method today), and the end result is a fine coffee powder. The water used needs to be cold. Due to this, if sugar is desired, an easily dissolvable form should be chosen.
The amount of water necessary can be measured using the cups. The coffee and the sugar are usually added to water, rather than being put into the pot first. For each cup, between one and two heaped teaspoons of coffee are used. The coffee and the desired amount of sugar are stirred until all coffee sinks and the sugar is dissolved. Following this, the spoon is removed and the pot is put over the heat. No stirring is done beyond this point, as it would dissolve the foam. Just as the coffee begins boiling, the pot is removed from the heat and the coffee is poured into the cups.
A well-prepared Greek coffee has a thick foam at the top and does not contain noticeable particles in the foam or the liquid. This can be achieved only if cold water and a low heat are used. All the coffee in the pot is poured into cups, but not all of it is drunk. Tasty secrets or join a Greek friend in this widespread custom that has devoted fans.
Greek coffee is drunk slowly and sometimes it is served after dinner with menthe liquer. The thick layer of sludgy grounds at the bottom of the cup is left behind. Greek coffee is appreciated twice when there is a big company of friends that has gathered together. Its rich aroma and its very particular taste creates a unique and euphoric feeling. When you are in Greece you may discover its tasty secrets or join a Greek friend in this widespread custom that has devoted fans.

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