Sign me up for gyros, baklava and Greek coffee. I’ll be dining around at the 47th annual Greek Festival this weekend at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tacoma. The festival begins tomorrow (Oct. 2) and continues through Sunday. Last year’s event yielded myriad selections of Greek classics – all delicious, and all inexpensive – but I really am looking forward to a cup of Greek coffee. Last year, they served tiny cups of the classic Greek coffee at the pastries/dessert booth. If you’ve never had Greek coffee, it’s ridiculously strong coffee sweetened to the tenth degree. It’s rich and thick and burly enough to kick you into next weekend (and great for hangovers). If you’ll miss the Greek festival this weekend, you can find Greek coffee at Opa! on Sixth, where the coffee is served in a traditional long-handled briki (pictured above). Click “more” for recipes and details about the Greek Festival, and to read more about Opa’s Greek coffee.
The coffee at Tacoma’s Opa restaurant (6104 Sixth Ave., read my recent review here), is much like that which is served at the Greek festival. At Opa, it carries a rich, dark flavor and arrives at your table in a long-handled briki (also called a cezve or ibrik), kind of the Turkish or Greek equivalent of a French press, but without the plunger or filter to strain the coffee. Like a French press, coffee grounds and water mingle in the chamber to make the coffee. The fun of Greek coffee is trying to drink as much as you can without sipping the dregs that settle at the bottom of the briki. I like a little texture in my coffee, so that doesn’t bother me.
I found an article here explaining how to make Greek coffee. Here’s a more simple version of the recipe. It’s really not difficult to make and you can adjust the sweetener to your palate. For sweetener, use cane sugar or honey. The important step is to make sure you start with finely ground coffee. The rest is about the technique.
47th annual Greek Festival
Where: Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 1523 S. Yakima Ave, Tacoma
When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday (Oct. 2 and 3) and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 4)
Cost: Admission is free, food will cost you
Details here: St. Nicholas web site
The scene: The festival last year offered a few opportunities for eating. Eat Greek food in a sit-down setting, or roam around in the food hall ordering whatever looks good at the different food booths. Communal seating is in the food hall. Trade money for tickets that will let you buy your food at the booth. Lunch easily can be had for under $10. Or $5-$7 if you buy wisely.