Most popular coffees in Greece

Before starting to present the Greek coffee culture, we must underline, drinking coffee is not just a habit in Greece. Coffees in Greece is a way of living. An indispensable part of the Greek culture. An everyday routine that a Greek enjoys either alone while working or reading a newspaper or with friends while socializing and chatting!

So, if you wish to understand locals, you should try their way of drinking coffee! But be careful! Don’t go to a café without knowing what coffee you want. In Greece, everyone has their “favorite” one and they are always ready to order it! Find below yours and don’t skip without reading the end of the article! Contains information of great importance! 😛

Greek coffee -one of the first coffees in Greece

To begin with, the traditional Greek coffee, also well-known as “ellinikós kafés”, is a finely ground coffee made and served hot from a “briki”. Briki is a small narrow coffee pot with a long handle. The compound is similar to America’s instant coffee and a version of Turkish coffee since it formed in Greece during the Ottoman occupation.

When preparing Greek Coffee we fill the briki with water and add one teaspoon of sugar for each teaspoon of ground coffee. When we prepare the coffee pot (briki) mix we put it on the stove over a low flame. Once the coffee starts to foam, we remove it temporarily from heat. We place it again back on to the heat when the bubbles have disappeared. When it foams again, it is the indication that is finally ready and we remove it permanently from the heat. 

Breakfast with traditional Greek Coffee at Passaggio Cafe - Photo by White Pearl Villas©
Breakfast with traditional Greek Coffee at Passaggio Cafe – Photo by White Pearl Villas©

Because it is boiled, rather than brewed, Greek coffee has an exquisitely rich and velvety flavor. Thus it’s being said that what makes a Greek coffee a good one, is a rich layer of froth known as “kaimaki”. Be careful, the residue on the bottom of the cup is not to be consumed. This is why sugar is added while heating the coffee, as you are not supposed to stιr the blend afterward.

Frappe – iced coffee

Nowadays, traditional Greek coffee is no longer very popular, especially among youngsters who are accustomed to following faithfully the trends. Tradition has given way to frappé, an instant drink that is still a hallmark of Greek culture and temperament.

Frappé coffee

All dating back to 1957 in the city of Thessaloniki when an employee of the Nestlé Company (food & beverage company), Mr. Dimitris Vakondios, wanted to prepare his daily cup of Nescafé Classic. Nescafé Classic is originally served warm, however, he was unable to find any hot water. At the same time, his company was about to advertise a new chocolate milk product for children. For this beverage, it was required the use of a shaker. And that was it!

Dimitris’s inspiration and his desperate need for coffee created frappé! How? During his break, Dimitris used the chocolate milk shaker to mix up his Nescafé with cold water. The myth just started! Today frappé coffee is the combination of instant coffee (Nescafé), cold water, sugar, and evaporated milk. It requires good and constant shake, thus his name from the verb ‘frapper’ which means to ‘hit’ in French!  

Freddo Espresso – iced coffee

But what about the present’s favorite coffee addiction? It was first invented in the middle 90s, and is none other than Freddo as an espresso or a cappuccino coffee! Starting with Freddo espresso, it’s nothing more than the conversion of the hot espresso into an iced coffee! Freddo espresso is served over ice with sugar or stevia if not black. Greeks enjoy it is mostly during the summer as the heat reaches its prime!

To enjoy it, just prepare a double shot of espresso, add 4 ice cubes and the shot of espresso in a shaker, mix them up for about 10-20 seconds and strain into a glass filled with ice cubes. No more than 2 minutes are needed to get lost in Freddo Espresso’s unique flavor!

Freddo Cappuccino – iced coffee

On the other hand, Freddo Cappuccino is a simple variation of Freddo Espresso. It is intended mainly for milk lovers! Freddo Cappuccino, as you may guess from its name, is an espresso shot with a lovely creamy, well-chilled foam layered on top.

Its froth is produced by putting ice cubes in a glass and by flowing enough evaporated milk to cover the ice cubes completely. The secret to a perfect Freddo Cappuccino is the froth. As much as you blend the milk, so lightly and fluffy the froth becomes. If you want to make it even more delightful, add cinnamon powder on top. You will never forget the taste!

Something that you did not know about Coffees in Greece!!

  • Even though Greece’s population is no more than 11 million, Greek professional baristas have won 10 world championships since 2015.
person holding stainless steel cup
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on
  • In a country that loves so much coffee, it is more than expected to have many local cafés! What is not known is that in Greece there are two forms of cafés. The first form is the “cafeteria” which is a meeting point especially for the youngest, under 35 years old. The second form is “kafeneio” which is the old traditional café that breathed for decades and is the gathering point for elder men in every village or town. Nowadays, people of all dates mingle in both cafes types!
  • Don’t raise a coffee cup to make a toast while drinking coffees in Greece! Raising a coffee cup to toast is considered in Greece as bad luck! Try wine instead.
  •  Let’s pretend that you go to a cafeteria and you wish to order your coffee. Note that while ordering a coffee in Greece you must specify to the waiter if you wish your coffee to be served “sketos” (no sugar), “metrios” (with a teaspoon of sugar), or “glikos” (with two teaspoons of sugar). Careful! If you don’t specify your preferences, your coffee will be served moderate to sweet!
  •  We keep saying that for Greeks, drinking coffee is more than just drinking. It is more like socializing! Thus, you will very often listen to local phrases such as “pame gia kafe” (translation: “let’s go for coffee”). This does not necessarily mean to meet and drink a coffee. It means let’s meet to catch up, to chat. Don’t be surprised if you see them sitting in a cafeteria talking while having lunch instead of drinking coffee!
  •  According to an old custom, for those who wish to find out their…destiny, a finished cup of Greek coffee, along with an insightful “expert” can be exciting! And the procedure to find your future simply! Revolve your cup after finishing it. Place the saucer on top of the cup. Turn it upside down while you are thinking about what you desire to bring you the future. Wait for the grounds to drain out of the cup. Then the coffee specialist fortune teller will reveal your fate based on the shapes and forms that the chalky residue has taken…Good luck!

Which of the above Coffees in Greece, will become your favorite coffee? 

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