Cyprus coffee is a dark concoction and supplies a rapid caffeine kick to its drinker. Usually, its consumption is a social event. No one drinks alone in the coffee shop. But it is not only in these traditional meeting places that Cyprus coffee is quaffed.
Wherever there is a large office block, you are likely to find that somewhere is a small room, with a gas ring and a tray of baking hot sand where coffee is prepared and kept ready for the demanding customers in the block.
Coffee without sugar is called sketos, while one teaspoon of sugar goes into a medium – metrios – coffee. Sweet coffee – glykis – usually has two spoonfuls.
There is a particular art to making this special brew. A small, deep, long-handled metal pan is used, known as a briki; every house has one. The powdered coffee and water are placed into the briki and it is brought, almost, to the boil, how many times depends on who you talk to, so that the grounds are nearly dissolved. There is nothing worse than a Cyprus coffee with bits of grit floating in it.
And if you meet someone who knows the art, you can have your fortune told from the remnants in the cup after the drink is finished. Be warned, though, the predictions are often very accurate indeed!