When a Greek goes abroad, leaves behind not only his home, his family, his friends and his habits but also one of the most important “aliments”… the Greek coffee and the ultimate procedure of its enjoyment.
What do I mean? Keep reading…
I’m a Greek who lives in Italy where there is no word for cafeteria but only bar, where when you order a coffee means that – without doubt – they will bring you an espresso, also means that you must drink it quickly seated at the stools of the bar, pay 1 euro and get out of the bar fastly with the last sip of coffee still in your mouth.
Obviously, when I first arrived in Italy, I found it hard enough to adapt the Italian habits due to their coffee philosophy. I was missing desperately the summer frappè and the French coffee during the winter, something that was really difficult to explain to the others around me! Saying to an Italian that you don’t like the espresso is something like blasphemy! So I tried to find a middle way and started drinking proudly cappuccino -after of course trying the French coffee called Americano which is made with espresso mix diluted with water! Just sucks!
Until one day…one of my colleagues told me that the Italians only drink cappuccio (diminutive of cappuccino) in the morning accompanied by a chocolate croissant, and that only the German tourists order cappuccino all day long. I was ashamed and determined to become an original Italian girl so I decided to drink espresso but with a shot of milk (macchiato).
This summer, I also spotted at a bar the shakerato, shacked cold espresso with ice cubes, which I thought – before I try it- that was the same favorite Greek style frappe! But no such luck … I cannot even describe my disappointment when I drank the first sip of that wannabe frappe! And what is more, they don’t even bring you water to change your taste!
Two years later, I can ensure you that I’ve learned to drink the espresso up to 5 times a day, even if I still insist of making a hot Nescafè while working so as to accompany me during the day, or a cold extra-large frappe when it’s too hot outside… What I can’t get used to, is the habit of entering the bar only for 3 minutes, time to drink the hot espresso, say goodbye and leave.
Indeed, when I go to the bar to order a coffee , I first blow it, then I stir it, talk to those around me and then I drink it. Damn! It’s a ritual that can’t be omitted! So when I’m with friends, I’m the last one to drink the coffee and as a result everyone starts teasing me, while when I am with people who don’t know me…I have to explain to them that in Greece the coffee is always served in huge glasses and that’s why it costs so much, that we sit in the cafeteria at least 2 hours a day, that the glass of water will always accompany our coffee and that a really good coffee is the one we drink in company and sometimes playing backgammon too….
So, I’m absolutely convinced that the Greek frappè, the coffee chats and the coffee relax, a Greek can’t replace them with any espresso, cappuccino or café latte … as well as a foreigner can never understand this precious process of the coffee enjoyment!
– A sweet frappè, please! …
This post is dedicated to my italian Master ex colleagues!
*Frappé coffee (also Greek frappé or Café frappé) is a Greek foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee(generally, spray-dried).It is very popular in Greece and Cyprus, especially during the summer, but has now spread to other countries. Accidentally invented in 1957 in the city of Thessaloniki, it is now the most popular coffee among Greek youth and foreign tourists. The frappé has become a hallmark of the post-war outdoor Greek coffee culture.