Loumidis Papagalos (ΛΟΥΜΙΔΗΣ ΠΑΠΑΓΑΛΟΣ)—a good introduction to Greek coffee

I usually wake up pretty early in the morning. I love the quiet moments when everyone else is sleeping. I get to prepare my breakfast in complete silence. I get to read a good book and enjoy a cup of great coffee, maybe even two.

But waking up early can also be a challenge for the coffee enthusiast. I mean, especially on days off, when the other people in your house want to sleep late, you don’t want to wake them up by using the coffee grinder. That’s why I try to have some pre-ground coffee around at all times.

Actually, in these past months, many Saturday mornings have been saved by the finely ground Turkish coffee (”Sade Dibek Kahvesi” from Artukbey) I got from my Iraqui friend. This fine product has also made me want to learn more about Turkish and Greek coffee.

Recently, I was delighted to discover Gran Delicato, the stylish Greek café, deli and restaurant in Helsinki. After enjoying a delicious panini and a big cup of their fantastic coffee, I noticed that they also sell Greek coffee. Since I’m still learning about these things, I wanted to buy a good, basic Greek coffee blend. As I was looking at the options, I noticed that on the Loumidis Papagalos bag it said Ο παραδοσιακός ελληνικός καφές (o paradosiakos ellenikos kafes). Now, I do not speak modern Greek, but in my work I do read 1700–2400 year old texts written in ancient Greek dialects. So I guessed that the bag said ”the traditional Greek coffee”. Brilliant! Exactly what I was looking for.

Then I got home and started looking for my scissors. I was expecting to smell that peculiar, funky aroma that seems to be common to some Greek and Turkish coffees. You know, the one that some people associate with raw licorice, others with the musty, moldy smell of an old wooden house. However, as I finally got the bag open, I was greeted with the familiar aroma of good Arabica-based grocery store coffee. It even reminded me of some of the better Paulig blends. There was a tiny hint of the ”Greek” funk in there as well, but it definitely stayed in the background. Quite delightful!

The coffee itself was very easy to work with. While the ground product looked almost identical to the Artukbey powder I’ve been enjoying, it was a lot easier to mix with water than it’s Turkish sister blend. It produced a nice, uniform crema, too.

The taste was very much like the bag aroma. Good, basic Arabicas were the star of the show. There was also a hint of that traditional Greek ”thing” that is so hard to describe. However, it never got as strong as in, say, ΠΑΡΑΔΟΣΙΑΚΟΣ / Traditional Blend from Coffee Island—another Greek blend I like very much. All in all, it felt like I was having a good, basic grocery store Arabica with a Greek twist. Well, that’s exactly what this blend is about. I found it to be a very good pick-me-up in the morning.

Obviously, Loumidis Papagalos is not a high-end gourmet blend. But what it does, it does really well. Also, it is ”normal” enough to be enjoyed by anyone, and yet ”Greek” enough to give you a good picture of what traditional Greek coffee tastes like.

I’m definitely going to get some more from Gran Delicato! Maybe, as a consequence, my kids will get to sleep longer as well.

Turkish coffee from Artukbey!

One of my Iraqi friends brought me this: Sade Dibek Kahvesi from Artukbey, the Turkish coffee company. Fantastic, thank you!

I should probably ask my friend who speaks Turkish, but I think ”Sade Dibek Kahvesi” means ”plain coffee.” This coffee is supposed to be brewed in a cesve (or briki, or ibric, depending on where you are). That’s why it’s ground super fine. I tried to do some research, but I couldn’t find any information on the ingredients. Judging by the bag aroma, I think it’s mostly, if not all, Arabica. But then there’s also the familiar funk you get from Turkish and Greek coffee. I honestly don’t know what it is. (If you do, please tell me!) Someone told me the smell comes from the way the beans are processed. The word is there is some mold in the coffee. I’m not sure if this is true, but the coffee certainly smells like that. In my opinion though, it’s not unpleasant at all. The more I tried to analyze the aroma of the ground coffee, the more I thought it smelled like salted licorice. Quite interesting!

I actually bought my first cesve in order to enjoy this coffee. I admit that it has taken me some time to learn the Turkish method of brewing coffee, but I think I’m getting close. I’ve found the right coffee-to-water ratio, and the right amount of heat. I can get a pretty nice crema, too. However, I’m no expert. That’s why I’ll just give you some initial impressions.

I liked this coffee very much.

I tried to make it with some sugar, as is customary in Turkey. It was OK. But since I don’t have a sweet tooth, I usually left the sugar out, and enjoyed the ”plain coffee” taste. It was strong and flavorful, but ”medium” enough to enjoy any time of the day. It was pretty basic, but in a very good way. It just worked for me every time.

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience. It made me want to learn more about Turkish coffee. Artukbey Sade Dibek Kahvesi is a product I would definitely want to try again!