Heart-Healthy Greek Coffee

What it can do for you


You think you’ve got it tough? Consider Zeus.

Among the Greek gods, he was the top god, god of all the other gods. And they were a quite a cantankerous crew to keep tabs on with all those super powers and super egos constantly clashing. So, where did Zeus get the stamina to deal with it all? Maybe the answer lies in a simple cup of coffee—Greek coffee.

Your average Dunkin’ Donuts cup of java, Greek coffee is not. The Greeks on the island of Ikaria who consume it regularly live into their 90s at a rate 10 times that of their European counterparts. And, a recent study published in Vascular Medicine may reveal why.

To begin with, Greek coffee is boiled, not brewed. That means less caffeine, only 74 milligrams (mg) per 8-ounce serving, compared to 112 mg for filtered coffee or 135 mg for brewed coffee.

Because Greek coffee uses Arabica beans ground very finely, the coffee is concentrated and richer in antioxidants than a typical cup of joe.

Boiling coffee also extracts more nutrients from the coffee, including chlorogenic acid  and polyphenols (both thought to prevent cancer), and lipid-soluble substances. These help reduce your risk of diabetes, boost your immune system, and protect your arteries from endothelial cell dysfunction, something especially harmful to women.

Greek coffee improves endothelial function by reducing inflammation in your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely and denying damaging plaque someplace to attach and build up.

You can find Greek coffee in Greek markets locally or online.







How to make Greek coffee

You could go all out and buy yourself a wide-bottomed Greek coffee pot, called a briki, or you could just use a saucepan. 

Pour the coffee into boiling water. Stir a few times to dissolve the grounds, then don’t stir again.

Boil gently until the coffee foams. Remove the pot from the heat before the foam boils over (a sign of bad luck, according to Greek legend).

Distribute the foam equally among your serving cups, then pour the coffee in. Let the grounds settle and relax before you drink it.

Between the fine grind and the boiling, Greek coffee is strong to the taste. It is never served with milk, but sometimes it is sweetened with a teaspoon or two of sugar added to the pot per cup. It is often served with a glass of water to cleanse the palate of the intense flavor.

Caution, Cholesterol Ahead

Greek coffee is higher in kahweol and cafestol, which can raise cholesterol levels. You can mitigate this by pouring the boiled coffee through a filter into your cup, but consult your health care provider to ensure Greek coffee is okay for you to drink if you have elevated cholesterol levels to begin with.