Sunday, 31 October 2010

93. ελληνικός καφές

31st October 2010.  I've been drinking Greek coffee for years and yes, I have to say that I'm hooked on a particular Greek Cypriot brand - Charalambous coffee (right). The problem with getting hooked on Greek or Turkish* coffee is that any other kind seems anaemic and insipid by comparison.
* I'll refer to it as Greek coffee throughout - hope this doesn't upset anyone - no offence intended.
When some friends from England visited us about a year ago, they were kind enough to bring me some much-needed packs of Charalambous. To my continuing surprise, despite trying every deli and coffee shop in the Pays Basque, I've been unable to find anyone here who stocks it or a similar product. And this in the land where you would expect shops to stock all manner of food items. If anyone reading this knows of a mail order supplier in France, please let me know via a comment at the end of this post.

Charalambous coffee is excellent and it has a rich taste with a hint of cardamom (I think) in there somewhere. It receives a 5* rating from me. However all good things come to an end and a few months ago I finally used up the last of my coffee stocks.

Last week, D, another kind friend in England, sent me some new supplies and all is now well again with the world - for the next few months at least! Loumidis Papagalos is a Greek brand (left) - and it has a slightly different taste to the Greek-Cypriot one. In looking for an image to copy, I discovered that Papagalos is available via the US Amazon site. I suspect it's been slightly de-tuned (unleaded?!) to suit the North American market - I don't think it has quite the same hit as Charalambous. I'll have to try adjusting the mix to see if I can squeeze that 130 octane aviation grade caffeine hit from it. By the way, if this post does whet your appetite for making Greek coffee yourself, don't forget to store your coffee in an airtight jar - similar to that in the clip below..

If there's anyone out there who would like to know how to make Greek coffee - then here's how. I thought the quickest & easiest way to explain it would be via YouTube.. but after a quick search for Greek coffee I was surprised at how long-winded some of the explanations were - some of these clips were 6-7 minutes long! Eventually I found someone who makes it almost the same way I do, even down to using an identical pan and the same Charalambous brand. If this is the first time you've made it, then I'd suggest using the following measures as a starting point and you can adjust for your own taste the next time. 

a "Bríki"
For one cup of coffee, measure a coffee cupful of cold water and pour into your coffee pan (or bríki). Add 2 heaped teaspoons of coffee and 2 of sugar (or 2 sweeteners). Stir enough to break up any clumps of floating coffee. This next part is subjective but the way I make it is to bring it slowly to the boil & remove from the heat just as it starts to bubble and rise - as in the vid. Pour and serve. Needless to say - obligatory Health & Safety warning follows! - you don't drink the grounds.. By the way, if anyone thinks their method is better, or have any suggestions - then please leave a comment..
Now - isn't that the best tasting cup of coffee you've ever had..?
1st November 2010. Cracked it.. all it needed was slightly more coffee in the mix and the result was a satisfying brew of Dr Loumidis' Patent Restorative Mixture.
And now for something completely different.. This is a representation of the workings of a 7 cylinder rotary aircraft engine of WW1 vintage. I can watch this for quite some time - admiring the elegance and simplicity of the crank arrangements and the way that the apparent motion of the pistons is converted to rotary motion - and all without a conventional crankshaft thrashing about.. (you might have to click on the image to see it moving)
2nd November 2010. A propos of nothing, I just thought of Saya, a great Thai restaurant I used to go to in Seattle.. If anyone in Seattle is reading this, or if you're planning to visit, I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. What to order? Their Gai Yang is memorable.. If only they delivered!

And now, duly caffeined-up to the eyeballs, back to the Pays Basque..

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