What Is A Puerto Rican Coffee Maker And How To Use It

What Is A Puerto Rican Coffee Maker And How To Use It!

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 14:48

This article is focused on the Puerto Rican coffee maker known locally on the Caribbean island as a Greca. By the time you have finished reading this article you will know what it is, how to use it, and a little about its history and origins.

Keep reading as we get cracking on with this article and get talking about the famous Puerto Rican coffee maker!

What Is A Puerto Rican Coffee Maker?

A Puerto Rican coffee maker is the humble stovetop espresso maker that is known across Southern Europe and the rest of the world as a moka pot.

However,

in Puerto Rico, the moka pot is known as a Greca. It is a stove-top espresso coffee maker that brews espresso like coffee by passing boiling water using steam pressure to pass it up and over finely ground coffee.

They are usually made of Aluminum or stainless steel and less commonly copper. The Stovetop version is much more popular than the modern electric variation and has the distinctive advantage of being a great coffee maker to take and use on a camping trip.

Typical capacity ranges from 4 cup coffee maker to as much as 12 cups with the 6 cup version being the most popular by sales volume.

Moka pots or Greca coffee makers are commonly mistaken as coffee percolators. The process of percolating coffee is very different from how a Moka pot, or Greca works. One key difference is the grind size and the fact the water is not in contact with the coffee grounds for a long period of time and does not double brew your coffee make it a very different process from a percolator.

What Is A Puerto Rican Coffee Maker
A Puerto Rican Coffee Maker

Read: Puerto Rico coffee makers

Greca Coffee Maker Origin

The Greca coffee maker has its origins in Italy, where it is known as an Italian coffee maker and a moka coffee maker. It is an old school coffee maker that helps you to make espresso like coffee at home without a coffee maker.

It is important not to mistake it as an espresso coffee maker or overstate its ability to make a legitimate espresso – it can’t, hence “espresso like” coffee.

It is most certainly good enough to make espresso-based milk drinks at home like a latte, cortado, macchiato, mocha, flat white and so on but an actual espresso?

Well, not really. It makes a good, acceptable below average sub-par espresso as it lacks the 9 bar pressure to produce a good quality rich crema on top. The 1.5 bars of pressure produced by steam pressure fall well short of what is required to make a bonafide espresso shot.

Greca Coffee Maker Origin
A Greca Coffee Maker

Read: Cafe Bustelo origin

How To Use A Greca Coffee Maker

If you have even been to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean or Southern continental Europe, you see that good old-fashioned shiny metallic old school coffee maker that is the Greca coffee maker, known also as a moka pot and Italian coffee maker depending on where you are and who you are talking to.

Here is how to use it, step by step.

Step 1: Open Your Greca

Twist off and open the top part of the Greca. You will see two chambers and a funnel like  coffee filter.

Step 2: Fill The Chamber

Fill the water chamber, the bottom chamber with water. Do not surpass the max fill line and certainly not beyond the safety valve. Coffee expert, influencer and 2006 World Coffee Champion suggest that using water that is both filtered and preheated to 70C (160F) will produce a better quality coffee.

Step 3: Prepare Your Coffee

Fill your coffee filter with very finely ground coffee. For a strong Puerto Rican coffee, tamp your coffee grounds finely and evenly until they are properly compressed, and then add more coffee until the coffee filter is filled with coffee and tamp again. Repeat until it is full.

Step 4: Place Your Coffee Filter Into The Correct Place In Your Greca

Self-explanatory, put your coffee filter in place and get ready to start brewing your coffee.

Step 5: Screw It!

Screw your Greca coffee pot back together again, tightly.

Step 6: Put Your Coffee Pot On The Stovetop

Put your coffee pot on your stovetop at a high heat and wait 10 to 15 minutes for your coffee to brew and make its way up and through your coffee grounds and into the coffee chamber. Once it is ready, simply serve and enjoy your coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions About Puerto Rican Coffee Maker

Puerto Ricans make their coffee with a cotton coffee sock and a non-aluminum saucepan. Boil your water at a low heat until it is just below the simmering point. Add a tablespoon of ground coffee and add it to your water. Stir your water well and return it to the simmering point and stir for a minute or two.

Remove your coffee and water mix from your stovetop and filter it through an organic cotton coffee sock. Then take a quarter of a cup of milk, add a teaspoon of sugar and add them to a saucepan and heat gently until it starts to bubble.

Now pour both your coffee and hot milk into a mug and enjoy your authentic Puerto Rican coffee the way Puerto Rican make it.

What Is A Spanish Coffee Maker Called?

A Spanish coffee maker is called a moka pot. It can either be a stovetop version or a more modern electric version that functions in the same way which passes boiling water that is steam pressured and passes through very finely ground coffee. Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean nations call it a Greca.

The name Greca or Douillette comes from the Roman Catholic Church and is in reference to the civil clothes of the clergy in the year 1812. The original name, Douillette, which later changed to Greca is the Italian language word for Greek. The Greca coffee maker reminded the Roman Catholic Clergy of the rather long black overcoat that was worn by Priests of Greece and Eastern Europe.

A Greca, or moka pot as it is more commonly known, takes approximately 5 to 10 min to percolate and make a hot coffee.

The Greca coffee maker, also known as the moka pot, is the classic Italian coffee maker that can be seen in almost all homes in modern day Italy. The stovetop espresso maker is not at all modern – it was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933.

What Makes Puerto Rican Coffee So Good?

Puerto Rican coffee is so good due to the mineral rich volcanic soil and the altitude that they are grown at and the fact that it is shade grown. There are the perfect conditions to bring out the best flavors.

Why is Puerto Rican Coffee So Expensive?

Puerto Rican coffee is so expensive due to the high quality mineral rich volcanic soil. Also, the limited quantity of the coffee that is produced, the high quality of flavor makes it highly desired, and when there is a demand for a product that has a limited supply the price increases.

Can I Put Milk In A Greca?

No, you should never put milk in a greca, never it will cause damage to your coffee maker, the mechanism and above all it will clog the pressure valve which could result in an explosion.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – Puerto Rican Coffee Maker

Now you have read this far you know all you need to know about the famous Puerto Rican coffee maker that is known locally as a Greca, how to use it and what coffee it is best for making.

Reminder: It is great for homemade milk-based espresso drinks.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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