3 Reasons the Greeks Drink Boiled Coffee
Updated: Jul 30
In an age of instant everything, it's a little surprising that the long held Greek tradition of boiling coffee has survived...and thrived.
Preparing the coffee is simple, requiring finely ground coffee beans, sugar to taste, and a special pot called a briki to boil the brew.
Greek coffee requires constant attention and a close eye to cook up the perfect batch because it can be easily overcooked.
So from an outsider's perspective, its popularity seems misplaced. Not so. Here are three very good reasons why boiled coffee rules in Greece.
Greek Culture and the Art of Hospitality
Coffee is always at the heart of hospitality, no matter the culture. But in Greece, boiled coffee is the mark of a thoughtful and considerate host. Guests feel welcomed because their coffee has been painstakingly prepared.
A host that serves the traditional coffee is also saying how much the friendship of the visitor means to them.
While Greek coffee is served in small amounts, it's the conversation and the confectioneries that accompany the drink that makes the occasion.
Oddly, in a world where everything is instant, it's the time, attention, and care, that explains why Greeks still boil their coffee.
Fortune Telling: Reading Coffee Grounds Like Tea Leaves
Yes, you can read coffee grounds. Just don't ask us to do it. This is a Greek specialty. It's a tradition that is centuries old and dates back to the Ottoman Rule.
The reading is based on the notion that the drinker's physical, mental, and emotional condition affects the shapes formed in the coffee residue.
Coffee cup reading fell out of favor for about 30 years because women didn't want to go to a coffee reader lest they be seen as having problems.
Now, coffee shops have capitalized on coffee readings, turning them into a fun event. Patrons can make appointments with a coffee reader at the shop!
Surprising Health Benefits of Boiled Coffee
Boiled Greek-style coffee is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, and it has only a moderate amount of caffeine. A study published in Vascular Medicine found that residents of the Greek island, Ikaria, have the longest lifespans in the world.
The question scientists wanted to know was why? So they recruited 673 Ikarian residents, 71
men and 71 women, over the age of 65, who had lived on the island all their lives. Of those participants, 87% boiled their coffee.
Those participants had better endothelial function. The endothelium is a cell layer that lines blood vessels. It affected by lifestyle habits such as smoking and aging.
In the study, even those who had high blood pressure and boiled their coffee had improved endothelial function. Boiled coffee has moderate caffeine and is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.
Still, we imagine that the Greeks are like Americans. They drink their coffee because of the taste. Combine that with the leisurely way it's consumed and it's no wonder it remains a favorite!