Greeks love their coffee and they are really good at making it. As a result, every gas station, supermarket, shopping street, beach, and even ferry is equipped with coffee that is even tastier than what you can get at the most famous coffee place here in the Netherlands. But how to know which coffee to order in Greece?
Here is a list of the four most popular coffees in Greece. Good to know before, is that you can pick your preferred sweetness for every one of them. Order skétos if you don’t want sugar. Métrios for medium sugar. And glikós for the sweetest option.
Although the name of this drink is French, meaning, a drink chilled with ice. This coffee is invented by the Greeks. It is basically instant coffee, sugar and water, mixed together until it becomes a thick foam. This foam is poured into a glass filled with ice cubes, then, cold water and sometimes milk are added to complete this delicious Greek coffee.
This is one of the Greeks’ favorite coffee and they even have machines that make the foam for you. They look like a little drill on a usually stylish pole and although it took me some time to figure out how to make frappé, it is actually very easy, cheap, and tasty.
In Greece, the ingredients of this coffee are also sold in cups in supermarkets. They cost just 10 – 30 cents each, depending on the region. The cups include coffee, sugar, and a straw and all you need to add is a bit of water. Perfect to take on a road trip in Greece.
The most simple Greek coffee of all. Espresso is poured into a cup filled with ice cubes. That’s it. Well, there is a little more. Once the espresso and the ice cubes are put together, the coffee is shaken till foam appears on top. Because of this, it looks almost like there is a layer of foamy milk on top, but it is really just coffee.
I like to have this coffee skétos, without sugar, to have the rich flavor of the amazing Greek coffee. But I am one of the few. It is safest to try this cold coffee with some sugar, metrios, or even glikos. If you make the coffee yourself, add the sweetener to the espresso before you put it with the ice cubes. This way the sugar will melt and mix with the whole drink.
The last cold coffee of Greece is the one that is like a fluid dessert. Freddo cappuccino is not only an amazing drink, it is a way of life in the hot summers all over Greece. This drink also starts with an espresso made with good coffee, but now, milk is added. The real greeks foam the milk in their frappé drill to get a thick cream. But if you don’t have one, you can also put the cold, low-fat milk in a cocktail shaker to create the foam.
In a tall glass half-filled with ice cubes the (optionally sweetened) espresso is added and on top of this comes the foamed milk. To make things even more delicious, cacao or cinnamon is sprinkled on top. It is the perfect drink to enjoy on a beach in summer, during a stop at a gas station, or while strolling over the agora, the market. Really, I can drink this all the time when I’m in Greece, it is just so tasty!
One last note for the vegans amongst us. Greece is very familiar with plant-based alternatives to milk. So if you prefer you’re coffee with soy- or oat milk, just ask! Most of the Greek coffee places will be happy to serve us vegans as well.
Did you ever hear about Turkish coffee? Well, Greek coffee is basically the same thing since the history of these two countries is so intertwined. But don’t tell the Greeks off course, nor the Turkish… Let’s move on to the coffee before I am in the middle of the discussion between these countries.
This coffee is made with a fine grind of coffee. It is boiled with water in a tall, narrow pot called a briki. Greek coffee is served in a small cup and includes the coffee grounds. This is what makes Greek coffee something that is a culture more than just a type of coffee.
When drinking this coffee quickly, you will end up swallowing the coffee grounds. This is where siga, siga comes in. By slowly sipping the coffee, the grounds have time to settle before you have your last sip, making this coffee much more enjoyable. So when ordering Greek coffee, take it easy, slow down, talk with the people around you. Be Greek!
Your future in a coffee cup
When you finish the Greek coffee, there is a way to see your future! It is a Greek tradition to read your fortune in the dark brown mess that is at the bottom of your cup. A kafetzou, the greek coffee-ground-reader, sees symbols in the dried-up coffee that tell her your future. The Greek idea is that a person’s mental, and physical condition affects the shapes formed in the coffee residue. Is it true? Probably not. But it is Greek, real Greek, and makes for a nice experience!