I freely admit that I am a coffee snob. I can’t help it. I love my coffee.
Once I even tried to detox from it – after about a week of horrible headaches and lethargy, the physical withdrawal effects disappeared. But every day of the 3 weeks that I was coffee-free, emotionally I was distraught. Life was missing something. It was then I realised the great emotional addiction I have to coffee (not caffine) and couldn’t fight it anymore. In fact, I have given up bread more easily than I tried to give up coffee !
Its amazing for such a country that doesn’t really grow the stuff, in any abundance, that Australians have taken to coffee like a duck to water. We’ve lost our English traditions and moved away from a ‘cuppa’ to a ‘cappucino’ !
I’ve even heard it said that we Aussies drink more coffee per capita than any other nation on earth. Now that seems hard to believe, because I’ve been to Greece!
In Greece, coffee is not a beverage, it is a lifestyle. The Greeks have a national pastime of sitting in fabulous cafes watching the world go by. They love going out for coffee at all hours of the day and night.
Last year during a visit to Greece in the middle of summer, it was amazing to go to bar at night and look around and seeing the majority of Greek patrons consuming all manner of coffee. In fact watching the action at the bar, the staff were spending more time being barista’s than making making cocktails. Sure there was the mandatory mojitos, caprioskas, cold beer and spirits being served – but most patrons seemed to be there sipping iced coffees.
I guess consuming caffine late at night partially makes sense, when you think about the Grecian way of life. In summer, late morning starts with a coffee with a pastry or biscuit, lunch around mid afternoon, followed by a siesta until about 6pm. Dinner is light and usually taken around 10pm. Most Greeks wouldn’t entertain hitting the sack until after 1am, and it was quite novelty as an Aussie to be out to dinner in restaurant finishing off a meal in the early hours of the morning. Caffine in the evening certainly helped with the stamina needed for all those late summer nights !
During the day, people spend a lot hours sitting in cafes, playing backgammon, chatting, and generally watching the world go by, sipping their coffee all the while. During summer there is nothing quite so fabulous as a cold iced coffee.
So to some of the types of coffee on offer.
Of course the thick Greek style coffee is well known, brewed on the stove with a thick instant type of coffee that is usually served sweet and is similar in style to Turkish coffee.
FREDDO & CAPPUCCINO FREDDO
Oh these are so good ! Cappuccino Freddo, is made just like a hot cappucino with frothed milk and espresso coffee, but is served iced in tall glass. I haven’t been able to achieve making this at home (still a work in progress). Apparently the secret with the froth is for the milk to be really cold. But like making a hot cappucino there is bit of skill involved and so it is with these. A Freddo is iced espresso.
A frappe seems to be the most popular and easily made at home. It is made with instant coffee (usually a sin to my coffee snob taste buds). In Greece, Nescafe ‘classic’ is the brand of choice. The coffee granules are whipped with water & ice using a milk whisk so that the coffee turns into a thick froth. It is served with lots of ice and a perhaps a dash of milk and and sugar to taste.
Here’s the instructions on how to make a Frappe (medium sweet).
1. To a glass add 1.5 tsp of Nescafe, 1.5 tsp of sugar and 1 cup water and 2 ice cubes.
2. Using a small handheld milk frother, mix until the coffee turns a light caramel colour and has thickened to a thick froth.
3. Add in a dash of milk (a single serve long life milk portion is perfect). Top up the glass with water if necessary.
4. Wait a few minutes before consuming as the froth will separates from the liquid.
Instructions on how to drink (…very important)
You must serve the Frappe with a straw. The idea is then to stir and ‘nurture’ the froth, twirling it into the liquid. Sip very slowly. In fact believe me when I say this, people can literally sip on the one coffee for an hour as they enjoy savouring the moment. With Greek time, there is no need to rush. Life is good !
And with a vantage point like this, how could you not want to kick back for hours and watch the world go by.