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Hello all!

I've ben trying to make Greek coffee.I can't get it to foam up in the little pan/ Also I find that it is hard to balance that little tiny pan on the burners of my gas stove. So I want to know if anyone has any advice for me.

I have read how to make Greek coffee in Greek cookbooks, online also, but it must be easier for everyone as there are never any troubleshooting tips/Why doesn't it foam up?

I am using a tiny stainless steel pan.I don't have a briki but this pan is about the same size as a briki.I think it is a butter melting pan actually, but as the size is similar, and there is no odd coating or weird residue in it, I can't understand why I can't get the coffee to foam up properly. I am using BRAVO, a good brand of ground Greek coffee so it can't be a problem with the coffee. I use tap water (hmmmmm maybe that is the problem? Southern California tap water! Which is a scarey thing. I will admit).. Ok I will try filtered water but I THINK, with my luck, that it still won't work.

In the meantime , any advice from anyone out there who is in the know about wonderful GREEK COFFEE?

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Hi! The problem is not YOU, your water or your coffee. It's your lovely little butter melter. An ibrik has a tapered shape, and there is a real reason for this. The bottom of the pot is the widest part, the body tapers upwards to a narrower top, and then there is a flared lip. You NEED this tapered shape in order to get foam, and the lip assists in holding in the foam as the water goes through it's boiling process. Now, you CAN make a coffee beverage in your little pot, but you can't make a coffee with crema or foam in it. You need the tapered top because it enables a slight air pressure to build when the coffee and water are heated to boiling, which causes the foaming. You can get an ibrik pretty cheaply, and it's really worth it! I've had mine for over 20 years (bought used in a thrift shop for .99 cents) :wub: , and I know women who have ibriks that are over 70 years old.

Now, don't throw out that butter melter, it's perfect for heating milk for American coffee. :laugh:

edited to add: my favorite ibrik, by the way, is my everyday ibrik, mentioned above. It's tin lined brass, slightly dented and with a long handle.

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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:smile: AHA! The pan !!!

Thank you so so much, Rebecca.You are a sweetheart for writing so kindly and explaining this. Okay.........I'll definately start looking for one now and hopefully it will work wonderfully and I can finally have great Greek coffee like you are doing! I'll post about how it turns out when I find one and give it a try again!

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:huh: NEW PROBLEM!!

Ok.....I ordered a briki, ibrik.....thing! (Can't wait for it to get here!)

But in the meanwhile, what to do about the fact that my burners on my gas stove are weird shaped and a small pan like that will topple over? The center open part is too wide..... I need some sort of metal rack or ring that will make a solid or at least dependable surface upon which to balance that little pan. Any ideas anyone?

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they sell these little metal heat defusers which are like sold plates of cast iron that you can place over your burner to get a flat and stable surface for that sort of thing. Try william sonoma or some sort of kitchen supply store.

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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However, you should never let go of the handle of your ibrik while you are making your coffee, anyway. One extra moment on the fire in between boilings and the foam can overflow the top of the pot and that is a ghastly mess! So, you can get yourself a defuser, or not-You're still going to be holding onto that little pot! :laugh: Oh, and also, if you ordered one with a metal handle, the handle gets hot, you will want to use a mitt.

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I agree with everything that Rebecca says but, being a man of many words, let me add some.

First of all, it's not called "Greek coffee" everyplace. Call it by that name in Turkey for example and you're looking for a fight for in Turkey it is called "Turkish coffee" and throughout North Africa it is called "Bedouin coffee". By whatever name, this coffee, made basically by the process of boiling, is highly popular throughout North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin and coffee lovers all over the world admit that a well made cup of "Turkish coffee" is a gift from the gods.

Most people think that the narrow-necked pot used to make their Turkish coffee is called a finjan. They are wrong. Finjans are the small, generally glazed earthenware demi-tasse sized, cups in which the coffee is served. The pot is a briki (or ibrik) and a good rule of thumb is that the heavier the briki, the better will be the coffee. So adored is this style of coffee that from Paris to New York and from Denver to Tokyo, brikis and finjans are available not only in ethnic grocery shops but in the very best stores carrying housewares.

There are many ways to make Turkish coffee, but most agree that the most reliable method for producing consistently good coffee is to fill a 250 ml. briki to within 2 1/2 cm. (1") of the brim with cold water. To the water, before heating, add 4 or more heaping teaspoons of coffee. For moderately sweet coffee 2 tsp. of sugar should be added. The mixture should then be stirred and put on a high flame. Some believe that the coffee should not be stirred again after being put on the flame. Others disagree. My own feeling is that occasional stirring during heating is crucial.

As the mixture approaches a first boil it should be removed from the flame for a few moments to let the foam settle. One should take care not to let the mixture boil over, for this will result in a very messy stove top. In the same way, but without further stirring, the mixture should then be allowed to come to a boil for a second and a third time before being poured.

Pouring is also important, and it is considered polite to pour a small initial amount into each cup and only then to pour the rest. This allows the foamy top, the best part of the coffee to be shared by all. Turkish coffee should always be served with glasses of cold water on the side.

Important Note: When buying coffee to make this delectable beverage, be sure to buy strong coffee, ground finely (as for espresso or even finer). Under no circumstances should you attempt to make Turkish coffee by using any of the standard American brands.

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Daniel, Rebecca, Luckylies, thanks to all of you.

I'll post here again once I get all this in order. Luckylies, I remembered after reading your comment that I have a very old diffuser stuffed away in a cabinet, I used it to make rice the Iranian way and have ceased doing this for so long, that I had even forgotten that thing. It will be perfect to support that tiny pot!

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  • 2 weeks later...

also try EDNA'S which is an armenian coffee -- very strong and VERY, very good quality.

as for preparing it, it takes practice (and practice makes perfect!).

for a middle eastern flavour you can also try putting in a few (2 or 3) green cardamom pods [whole] while you boil the coffee and then finish it with a very small amount of orange flower water added before it is served.

look at this site also: turkish coffee tutorial

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Yes, I was thinking as I was reading that you should definitely try the cardamom. Fabulous.

But a question. If the only way to get the "crema" is using a tapered top, how is it that Italians manage espresso without it?

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Yes, I was thinking as I was reading that you should definitely try the cardamom. Fabulous.

But a question. If the only way to get the "crema" is using a tapered top, how is it that Italians manage espresso without it?

it really is great tasting and "exotic" if you will (though not exotic if this is what you grew up with :laugh: ).

italian espresso is COMPLETELY different. it uses a different method by use of an espresso maker or machine and extrudes the coffee (and making the foam) with pressure created by trapped water being forced up through the coffee grinds. equally as potent and good but a very different flavour.

hmmm...too late for coffee now :wacko:

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Yes, I was thinking as I was reading that you should definitely try the cardamom. Fabulous.

But a question. If the only way to get the "crema" is using a tapered top, how is it that Italians manage espresso without it?

it really is great tasting and "exotic" if you will (though not exotic if this is what you grew up with :laugh: ).

italian espresso is COMPLETELY different. it uses a different method by use of an espresso maker or machine and extrudes the coffee (and making the foam) with pressure created by trapped water being forced up through the coffee grinds. equally as potent and good but a very different flavour.

hmmm...too late for coffee now :wacko:

I know, I've a hankering now. I know espresso is made differently and that espresso can also produce crema, so I'm confused by the claim above. I make espresso (stovetop) every morning, and I used to make Turkish coffee regularly til my gut began to protest. For me, it's heaven. It manages somehow to taste just slightly chocolatey... just a hint of that flavor, and the cardamom is beyond wonderful. But my mother was Norwegian, and so it's a flavor I grew up with.

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F O A M!!!!!!!!!!!

Great news! I made the coffee today with the briki and followed the directions from that turkish coffee tutorial site plus the advice you all have given.

To my amazement and joy, it actually foamed up, just like it is supposed to.I can't tell you how gratifying that was, after the previous disappoinyments!

The only thing I was not able to accomplish was getting the foam into the cup. Somehow when I poured the coffee into the cup, the foam just sort of melted into the rest of the coffee.

But it still tasted lovely. I do like that thickness and the somewhat chocolate-ishness of it.

:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Edited by oothappam (log)
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F O A M!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great news! I made the  coffee today with the briki and followed the directions from that  turkish coffee tutorial site plus the advice you all have given.

      To my amazement and joy, it actually foamed up, just like it is supposed to.I can't tell you how  gratifying that was, after the previous disappoinyments!

    The only thing I was not able to accomplish was getting the foam into the cup. Somehow when I poured the coffee into the cup, the foam just sort of melted into the  rest of the coffee.

    But it still tasted lovely. I do like that thickness and the somewhat chocolate-ishness of it.

                            :biggrin:  :biggrin:  :biggrin:  :biggrin:

YAY!! Congratulations! :laugh::laugh:

Try spooning it in the cup then pouring [before you loose it all] -- that may help. Getting & KEEPING the foam is the art of it and it takes practice.

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  • 3 months later...

Prior to the 1970s, "Greek coffee" was known as "Turkish coffee." Furthermore, this brewing style originated in the Middle East (specifically Yemen and Egypt) and is employed throughout the Near and Middle East. The true Greek coffee, I would argue, is frappé, a sensationally frothy iced coffee that was invented in Greece in 1957 and has since become something of a national drink. I've co-written FRAPPE NATION, a new book about the frappé phenomenon. You can learn more about it at Frappe Nation - cool coffee culture But here I would hope to hear from those of you who know, love, or hate Greek-style frappé.

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If you can get freshly roasted beans (within a few days of roasting) and grind them just before brewing you'll most likely have a larger volume of foam (for what it's worth).

The grind for "Turkish," "Greek," or "Arabian" coffee should be much finer than it is for espresso. Whereas the fine grind required for espresso should be between 250 and 350 microns (100 millionths of a meter), the grind for Turkish-style boiling should be 100 microns -- thicker than flour but thinner than sugar. Because the ibrik or briki does not have a filtering device, its coffee grind must be powdery enough for the coffee to dissolve in the hot water yet just weighty enough to sink to the bottom of the cup and not be ingested by the drinker.

Edited by danyoung (log)
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  • 4 months later...

I think that it all comes down to the coffee, I have a coffeeshop in Athens and make countless cups of Greek coffee everyday. I hardly ever use a briki, I just use a saucepan, mainly because I sometimes have to make about 10 at a time.

The formula is simple

For sweet coffee

One Greek Coffee cup of cold water, 1 teaspoon of coffee, 2 teaspoons of sugar

For semisweet

1 cup of water,1 teaspoon of coffee,1 teaspoon of sugar

I find that the thickness of the foam depends on how much sugar you add, Greek coffee without sugar tend to have less "kaimaki or cream" whereas sweet Greek coffee has a thick kaimaki without much effort, The secret is to let it cook slowly, stirring initially until the coffee and water mix then let it come to a boil.

I know the theory about letting it boil three times but I find that this causes the foam to disappear

Just my two cents worth :laugh:

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Well, Greek Cook, I will have to differ with you on your theory for foam, as I have been making "Turkish Coffee" (we just called tihs coffee when I was young!) for over 30 years, with an ibrik, no stirring, and allowing for three boils. Somewhere on this site is a post I wrote about my own method, which IS many generations old and timeworn, but is also successful and traditional, but I've posted over 1000 times on eGullet, so it isn't a quick read to find something!

I always have foam, and lots of it. This is not something that you can just stick in a pot and boil. Making coffee is like playing chess. Anyone can learn, and play. Fewer will learn, study, practice and become expert. I do not make 10 cups at a time, my ibrik makes 6 cups, and when there is a large number to supply with coffee, people wait for their turn, and they get perfection in their cups. And, they get their coffee grinds interpreted, too. :raz:

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Rebecca don't get me wrong I totally agree with you, and it's great when you have the time and patience to go through the ritual, to be honest I've only tried the thrice boiled system a couple of times and usually let my attention wander causing a boil rather than a foaming, you know it's a very fine line.Unfortunately at the shop we have to settle for good coffee(and it is good) but obviously not perfection because usually with the ten or so Greek/Turkish coffees I have orders for 20 frappe, 18 cappuccino , lattes Fredo's etc and making Greek coffee is my biggest nightmare at times like this, the only good thing is that I have a brassier with a constant temperature so I can pretty much estimate my foaming boil....most times.

As for reading the coffee grinds my mom always sees grandchildren in mine, classic Greek mom LOL

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...As for reading the coffee grinds my mom always sees grandchildren in mine, classic Greek mom LOL...

Ah, but next time, ask her to look more carefully, WHOSE grandchildren are they? Tell her that you think that they belong to your neighbors' mothers, who always see fame and fortune in THEIR childrens' cups! :raz:

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  • 3 months later...
Most people think that the narrow-necked pot used to make their Turkish coffee is called a finjan. They are wrong. Finjans are the small, generally glazed earthenware demi-tasse sized, cups in which the coffee is served. The pot is a briki (or ibrik) and a good rule of thumb is that the heavier the briki, the better will be the coffee. So adored is this style of coffee that from Paris to New York and from Denver to Tokyo, brikis and finjans are available not only in ethnic grocery shops but in the very best stores carrying housewares.

Just a couple of word corrections - a fincan (pronounced finjan) is the catch-all name for a coffee or tea cup here. It can be of china or whatever material. The Greek counterpart is "flitzani." The Greek word "briki" (a shortening of kafeibriki) is indeed from the Turkish "ibrik" (in turn from the Arabic "ibriq") but in Turkish, an "ibrik" is a large ewer or long-spouted kettle for heating water. The pot used for coffee is known in Turkish as a "cezve" (jezve).

If you called Turkish coffee "Greek coffee" here the most they would probably do these days is look at you funny. ;) During the Cyprus conflict many people stopped saying "Turkish coffee" (Tourkikos kafes) in Greece in favor of "Greek" (Ellinikos). But now you hear both. Though Greeks in the US seem to cling to animosities a bit more firmly.

An amusing related story...some friends of mine went to a Greek restaurant in Boston, and after the meal one of them asked for a Turkish coffee. The waiter got his nose all out of joint and said, "This is a Grik restaurant, an we serve GRIK coffee, not Tourkis coffee!" So the friend said "Okay, then I'll have a Greek coffee." The waiter went back to the kitchen, opened the door, and yelled, "ENA TOURKIKO!" :laugh:

When I first moved out of the house at 19, I got a job in the Parthenon restaurant in Champaign, Ill. Their contraption for making Greek coffee was interesting - a shallow tray of sand with a burner underneath. That sand got really hot. You put the ingredients in the pot, put it in the sand, it too about 30 seconds tops, faster if you moved the pot in the sand (but that also made for crappy coffee).

As for how - everyone has their favorite method, and Greek "kafetzidhes" (coffee makers) have quite an array of different names for different ways of preparing it - "glikivrasto" (sweet and boiled which also involves pouring the coffee in a thin stream from high above the cup, this supposedly affects the flavor), "varigliko" (heavy sweet) etc. In Turkey most people consider it best to do it slowly, without stirring, to get the most flavor out without heavy boiling. I do it slowly but often do give it a very slow stir (more like a "slow nudge") as the first foam is forming just to keep it rising evenly. I pour this into the cups before it really comes to a full boil. Then I just pass it over the flame a few times and finish the pouring.

Also quality and freshness of the coffee affect the foaming; a friend of mine brought some vacuum packed coffee from Greece a year and a half ago which I'd forgotten about. I ran out of coffee and remembered it languishing in the back of my cupboard. It made no foam at all, and the flavor wasn't much better. It does make good compost though. :raz:

Much as I'd hate to admit it, the "Nescafe frappe" really has practically become the Greek national drink. I had no idea that it began a year before I was born! I remember the ads promoting it way back in the late 60s in the news magazine "Tahidromos" which my grandfather subscribed to from Greece. It was originally made in a shaker (a "seiker" in Greek) :) but now there are many variations on the little whipper machine for the instant coffee, some battery operated, some with a cord, and some quite classy looking! They do sell "just add water" disosable frappe kits though, with a shaker, coffee and sugar. The original was water, sugar and coffee, sometime between 1985 and 2000 (when I was gone) they started adding optional evaporated milk. It's so ubiquitous now that I've absentmindedly ordered just "coffee" and gotten a cold frappe. You have to specify "hot." Lots of people even have one for breakfast. Now they have Nescafe freddos as well, made with instant espresso and foamed milk, they look quite classy.

It was also because of frappes that I found out that Nescafe in the US was not nearly as good as the one they liked in Greece, because the frappes just didn't taste right. Here I use Jacob's "Monarch" instant. :)

A couple of years ago Nescafe tried to push frappes here in Turkey; there were billboards all over Istanbul with frosty floods of sexy smooth cold milky coffee (the milk was pushed as part of it). You can find it in cafes now but it never really caught on like it did in Greece.

Edited by sazji (log)

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-Lea de Laria

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