One of the things that make a trip to Greece memorable is its cuisine. Apart from delicious food, Greek boasts a number of famous drinks like ouzo, wine, and coffee. Greek coffee is strong, grainy, and thick, with a taste that lingers. The particular way in which it prepare extracts more nutrients from the coffee beans, offering added health benefits. Let’s see what makes Greek coffee stand out from other types of coffee made worldwide.
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How is Greek coffee made?
While original and exotic, Greek coffee is not unique to Greece. In surrounding countries, coffee make in an identical manner. Examples of this are Turkish coffee, Cypriot coffee, Bosnian coffee, Serbian coffee, and Armenian coffee. In fact, the boiling method develop many centuries ago in Yemen, long before the filtration method was introducing.
Greek coffee is made by boiling ground coffee and water together in a tall, narrow pot called a Briki. If you prefer your coffee sweet, make sure to tell the waiter or waitress, because the sugar adds during the boiling process.
Once the Greek coffee is ready, it is served in a demitasse cup – the same one that is used for espresso. But you can’t drink it as soon as it is served! Since the grounds are still floating around in the brew, you’ll have to wait for a little to let them settle. You can then drink it with little sips, careful not to upset the coffee grounds on the bottom of your cup.
Why Greek coffee is more than a drink?
Whether you are in bustling Athens or on a slow-paced island-like Paxos, the Greeks like to take their time for a coffee break. Sometimes they go on for as long as 90 minutes! This gives them ample time to catch up, gossip, fix the world’s problems, and let the grounds settle. Greek coffee drinks at home, in cafes, or in kafeneios (Greek coffee houses for men).
Health benefits of Greek coffee
A recent study published in Vascular Medicine explored the health benefits of Greek coffee. A study on the island of Ikaria found that elderly residents who drank Greek coffee at least once a day displayed better overall cardiovascular health.
In general, coffee considers being good for the heart thanks to its high levels of polyphenols and protective antioxidants. Because of the way Greek coffee is made, it delivers more concentrated antioxidants per cup than regular (filter) coffee. Also, there is less caffeine in it than in, say, an American coffee. The chlorogenic acid and the lipid-soluble substances in Greek coffee help protect the arteries and lower the risk for diabetes.
In summary, drinking Greek coffee is one of the best ways of integrating into Greek society, and the health benefits make it a better choice than your typical americano or espresso.
How Greek coffee is different from other coffees?
People sometimes wonder how Greek coffee is different from espresso. Well, it is quite dissimilar. Whereas espresso is made with pressurised water that runs through finely-ground coffee beans, Greek coffee is made by boiling coffee beans and water together in the same pot. The water pressure (up to 15 bar) used to make espresso creates an intriguing and tasty froth called crema, which consists of
Similarly to espresso, filter coffee –sometimes called American coffee – is made from finely ground coffee beans that are placed in a paper filter. Then, hot water drips over the grounds, which comes out the bottom as drinkable coffee.
The French press is a coffee maker in the shape of a glass pot. Similarly to Greek coffee, the ground beans and the water are mixing together. The difference is that in the French press you use a filter to push the grounds down to the bottom of the pot. Whereas the whole mixture pours into a cup in the case of Greek coffee, the grounds from a French press remain at the bottom of the pot, trapped under the filter.
In the region of Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, coffee is made with a cloth filter. Sometimes likened to a sock, this filter is filled with grounds and hot water is poured over it. Here, the trick is to find the correct grounds. If they are too coarse, the coffee will be watery and lack flavour. If they are too fine, water won’t seep through the ground beans and the filter.
And then there is the surprising product of egg coffee. In Scandinavia, egg whites mixture into the coffee grounds to help hot water flow through the beans. They say this creates a non-bitter, light, and smooth blend. In Vietnam, coffee is made by whipping an egg with sugar and coffee. The result is a taste that is similar to tiramisu.
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