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.
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.
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Ordering Coffee In Greece
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:
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.
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
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.