Greek Coffee – How To Order & Drink Coffee In Greece

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Written by our local expert Nick

Nick is is digital nomad originally from Athens, Greece. You will now find him exploring the Greek islands, Bulgaria and beyond.

Coffee and the rituals surrounding coffee are a key part of Greek popular culture. Here is all you need to know about ordering coffee in Greece.

Greece Travel Blog_Ordering Coffee In Greece

Do you know all about Greek coffee culture? Coffee and the ritual surrounding coffee are a key part of Greek popular culture.

It has not so much to do with drinking coffee in itself as it has to do with meeting friends, enjoying conversation, and spending long hours together.

When someone in Greece invites you for a coffee, make your schedule flexible, at least for the next two to three hours!

Get ready for ice cubes, young people, and Greek people playing backgammon. Whether traveling to small villages or being kicked back in an Athens cafe, you will love your coffee breaks once you learn all there is to know about the perfect cup of coffee (or ten) in Greece.

Don’t worry if it is your first time trying to wrap your tongue around the Greek language – Greek people totally love it when you try to speak their language.

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Ordering Coffee In Greece

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It’s not that hard to order coffee in Greece, but it depends on what you want to try.

First, deciding whether you’re in the mood for a hot cup of coffee or if you would enjoy a cold version of the black beverage instead is a good idea.

After your first sip of any cup of Greek coffee, you’ll soon know if you like it hot or cold, so do try both to decide.

The simplest way to put it at the bar or cafeteria would be “Ena cafe, parakalo,” which translates as “One coffee, please.”

Usually, the questions that follow would be whether you want it with sugar or not, and with how much sugar in it, in case you want it sweet.

Your coffee can be served “sketo” (no sugar), “metrio” (with little sugar), “pros gliko” (with more than two teaspoons of sugar), or even “gliko” (very sweet). 

Which Coffee To Try

In Greece, you can find a variety of coffee options influenced by both traditional Greek coffee and international coffee styles. Here’s a list of some popular types of coffee you can order in Greece:

  • 1. Greek Coffee (Ellinikos Kafes): this is a traditional and strong coffee, similar to Turkish coffee. It’s made by boiling finely ground coffee beans with water and sugar (optional) in a long-handled pot called a briki
  • 2. Greek Frappé: a popular iced coffee drink made with instant coffee, water, sugar, and milk (optional). It’s shaken to create a frothy texture and often served with ice
  • 3. Freddo Espresso: an iced espresso made with a double shot of espresso and served over ice. It can be sweetened with sugar and optionally topped with a frothy layer of cream
  • Freddo Cappuccino: similar to Freddo Espresso, but with the addition of frothed milk on top
  • 5. Freddo Chocolate: a cold and refreshing coffee drink made with chocolate syrup, espresso, and milk, served over ice
  • 6. Freddo Mocha: a combination of espresso, milk, chocolate syrup, and ice, creating a delightful iced mocha drink
  • 7. Cappuccino: a classic coffee drink made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam
  • 8. Espresso (Ellinikos): a single shot of strong coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans
  • 9. Macchiato (Ellinikos me Siki): a Greek version of the macchiato, consisting of a shot of espresso “stained” with a small amount of milk
  • 10. Filter Coffee (Filtro Kafes): regular drip coffee brewed with hot water passing through ground coffee beans
  • 11. Iced Americano: a diluted version of espresso served over ice and topped with a little water
  • 12. Greek Coffee with Mastic (Masticha): a variation of Greek coffee with the addition of mastic, a resin with a unique flavor
  • 13. Metrio: a Greek coffee with medium sweetness, containing less sugar than a Glyko (sweet) Greek coffee
  • 14. Sketo: Greek coffee with no added sugar, for those who prefer it plain and strong
  • 15. Ellinikos Gefsis: a Greek coffee with added spices like cinnamon or cardamom for extra flavor

These are just some of the coffee options you can find in Greece. The coffee culture in the country is rich and diverse, catering to various preferences and tastes. Enjoy exploring the different coffee styles while savoring the beautiful surroundings of Greece!

Greek Coffee

Ordering Coffee in Greece - All you need to know

The most traditional option is “ena eleniko cafe” or a Greek coffee.

Most tourists like to define it as the same as Turkish coffee, made with finely grounded roasted coffee beans.

It has a strong taste that does not really appeal to everyone, and it is prepared using a special small pot (which can be made of aluminum, copper, or even ceramics).

The pot is called “briki,” and it was traditionally heated on top of hot sand, although nowadays, most cafeterias use regular flame. 

When made correctly, Greek coffee comes with a creamy foam on top, locally known as “kaimaki.”

Don’t be deceived by the small size of the cup, though. This does not mean you should drink your coffee in just one sip; like the Italian espresso, it needs to be sipped slowly while enjoying the coffee ritual that comes together with conversation.

If you’re keen on more coffee, order an “eleniko diplo” or double.

This coffee variety can also be ordered as vrasto.” In this case, the coffee is boiled more than once to have no foam on top of it.

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Greek coffee is typically served with a glass of cold water next to it, and in some places, you might even get a small dish with sweets, cookies, or loukoumi (Turkish delight). Greek coffee is traditionally served black, but some people love adding a few drops of milk.

If Greek coffee is not for you, it’s always possible to ask for a “nes,” which is instant hot coffee or a filter coffee, in some places known as Americano or French. In Greek, it’s ordered as “ena cafe filtrou” (a filter coffee) or “ena galiko cafe” (a French coffee).

You can try other coffee styles in Greece, especially in summer, when the weather is more suitable for a fresh drink. 

Greek Frappé And Other Cold Coffees

Greek Coffee - Frappe, ice coffee on the beac

Frappe is a very popular cold coffee. The term frappé is actually French and comes from the verb “rapper,” which means to shake.

This variety of coffee became popular during the 60s, and so it remained for decades. It’s pretty easy to make at home as well, and it’s one of the cheapest cold coffee versions you could get. If you want some milk added to it, you can always ask for “ena frappe me gala” (a frappe with milk).

However, trends change, and the coffee that younger generations now drink does not really find its origins in Greece but in Italy.

Greeks nowadays love to meet for a cold cappuccino (Freddo cappuccino) and cold espresso (freddo espresso), the most popular drink you’ll be able to spot on the beach, on the streets, and virtually everywhere!

These Italian coffees are always made from ground beans and not instant coffee, such as the frappe, which can be a bit more expensive. 

Remember, these two modern varieties are not as popular in traditional villages as they might be in bigger cities, so don’t expect to find them available in old cafeterias or traditional kafenio (bar) in tiny hamlets, where the two possible options are Greek coffee and frappe.

These cold coffees are usually served in big glasses (either plastic or glass) and with a straw (“kalamaki”) and lots of ice, and they typically last for endless hours when enjoying a coffee table with friends.

Now, you are an official coffee aficionado; you walk into a traditional Greek coffeehouse or modern coffee shops and order any coffee you desire.

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