There is hardly ever a time you will find a Greek without a coffee in hand. Whether it’s on their way to work, relaxing by a beach, or enjoying a post-lunchtime hit, Greeks love their caffeine. And they take their coffee very seriously. The care and time given to the way the coffee is prepared, to the way it’s drunk, and even to the people they choose to drink it with – one thing’s for sure, drinking coffee is an indulgent and almost sacred activity.
Going for a cuppa with a Greek isn’t a quick process. They can take hours drinking their coffees savouring every last drop, but also enjoying the company and chat with friends and family. But in summertime, when Greek coffee may be too hot for the lips, frappe’s and other designer cold coffee options have taken over cafe’s and bars, not only Greece, they have filtered all the way through to Australia. Summertime in Greece is about one thing and one thing only – an icy cold frappe. From beaches to the city squares, hoards of Greeks of all ages are sipping on a tall glass filled with foamy frappe goodness.
Homemade frappes are all the rage on hot summer days and all households aren’t complete without a blue and white Nestle frappe shaker. Nowadays, most households in Greece and definitely in bars and cafes, a milkshake maker replaces the old handheld shaker to quickly create a frappe on the go. And here in Australia, you will find people of all nationalities partaking in a frappe at a Greek-flavoured bar or cafeteria.
Even Starbucks has recreated this Greek drink, but with a twist. A frappe is traditionally a foam-covered coffee that is made using instant coffee and water shaken in a hand-held cocktail shaker with ice to produce a cool, thirst-quenching iced coffee drink. Two teaspoons of instant coffee is added to the cocktail shaker, a glassful of cold water is poured in and with the lid on top, some elbow grease is used to shake up a foamy cold coffee.
The frappe was said to be invented by Andreas Dritsas, the Greek distributor for Nestle coffee. Legend has it that Dritsas stumbled across the frappe in September 1957 whilst working at the annual Thessaloniki International Fair. It was said that the fair was without hot water so Dritsas took a shaker intended for Nesquik (a popular chocolate drink) and filled it with coffee and cold water and shook it up to create a foamy drink that resembled a soft drink at the time.
There are various variations to the humble frappe. Sketo is a frappe without sugar and just coffee and water, glyko is a frappe with a couple of teaspoons of sugar added and me gala is a frappe served with milk. Traditionally, a dollop of evaporated milk is added to the mix of coffee and water to create a milkier alternative to the coffee drink. In some cases, a frappe can be made with just milk alone. Noynoy is the evaporated milk of choice when making a frappe me gala.
With the onset of the cafe culture in Greece – as well as the prominence of chain coffee stores – various alternatives to iced coffees and iced chocolate drinks have been created to provide a caffeine hit for a hot summer’s day.
The most popular at the moment is the freddoccino. An iced coffee made up of blended ice and a coffee mix of either instant coffee mixed with water or a shot of espresso, this texture of this coffee alternative is similar to a thickshake with bits of crushed ice to keep you cool. Milk and ice cream are sometimes added to create a milkier alternative.
In the same vein, the moccaccino is a mixture of coffee and cocoa to create a chocolaty / coffee indulgent drink. Crushed ice is combined with chocolate syrup and a coffee mix and blended to create a mocha drink. Moccaccino’s are served in tall glasses and in most cases come with a serving of whipped cream to make it even more luscious.
How to make the perfect frappe:
Before you start make sure you have what you need:
Shaker or jar with a tight fitting lid or a milkshake maker
Evaporated milk (optional, and traditionally noynoy milk is used for a milky frappe)
Tall glass to serve
1. In a shaker or jar, add a glass of cold water, pop in a couple of ice cubes, 2-3 tablespoons of instant coffee and sugar to taste
2. Close the shaker and shake vigorously for ten seconds, or when you see foam appear. If using a milkshake maker, mix for the same amount of time.
3. Pour into a tall glass and add a bit of extra water, and milk to taste and stir.
4. Serve with a straw.