Coffee in Greece…and how to make a Frappe

Photo:  Freddo Cappucino (left) & Frappe (right)

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.

Photo: Cafe on the island of Symi

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.

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.

Photo:  Freddo Cappucino (left) and a Freddo (right)

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.

Photo: Cafe located at the ruins of Old Pyli on the island of Kos.

Photo: Cafe on island of Symi


About Soul Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Soul Kitchen Blog. Sure food ultimately is fuel for the body but made with love is so much more and truly nourishes the soul. As cliche as it sounds, life really is too short to eat bad food and drink bad wine. I have a passion for cooking and a love of good food. I am committed to my quest of searching for fabulous recipes that just so happen to be gluten free. In recent years I discovered that I have intolerance to gluten and whilst its changed my eating habits somewhat, I refuse to allow it to limit my choices to eat well or make those that I cook for feel that they are missing out on anything. My mandate is simple... Feed the body and nourish the soul. I look forward to sharing my journey with you ....
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11 Responses to Coffee in Greece…and how to make a Frappe

  1. I recently returned from Greece and I am trying to duplicate the beautiful Freddo Cappuccinos that I had there. I even have a barista working on it. I can’t get anything but a very muddy version and not the multi-layer ones that the Greeks serve. Have you hit on the right way to do it?

    • Hi there,
      I’ve found a local Greek barista here in Sydney that makes them, and whilst they look right with the layers, somehow lacks the right taste. I’ve tried unsuccessfully at home, however I don’t have an espresso machine which I think is a key part to get the coffee flavour right.

      I asked a few times when I was over there how they made it, but the only ‘trick’ they tell me is that you need to use a milk frother with ice cold milk. Fill the glass with ice, add the Espresso (like you would for a normal cappucino), add sugar to th coffee and then and pour it over the ice. The milk gets poured gently over the top and the froth should float to the top.

      Not sure if this helps… good luck. If you manage to crack it.. please let me know 🙂

  2. zilla says:

    I NEED a freddo cappuccino…. got back from Greece on 13/07 … I miss it 😦
    I just tried three times in a row tonight ( a work night )to make one of them after coming home to a “2 cup” stove top espresso … brewer! anyway.. i made espresso, poured over ice added sugar and mixed a little with a milk frother… as the coffee was brewing, I tried and I tried and I TRIED to froth cold milk with that milk frother, which I brought back from Greece, but I couldn’t get a thick foam. Instead I kept getting milk with some bubbles on top.. please… has anyone accomplished the at home creation of this delicious drink?

    • Hi Zilla – Glad to know that I am not the only one in love with a Freddo Cappuccino. I haven’t perfected it at home, however the milk frother that I brought home from Greece works well in make thick foam.

      It sounds like you are on to the right track. The espresso coffee needs to be strong – add the sugar when the coffee is hot – before you add the ice. Try getting the milk really cold. Try different brands of milk – I hear that different milk brands can froth better than others. Good luck.

      If you have success, please let us all know.

  3. Athens says:

    Hi guys! I’m Greek and go to and from Greece constantly, spending half my year in sunny Greece and the other half in gloomy England. Anyway, when I visit Greece, I work most summers at a Greek bar which, of course, serves coffee till the late hours. I therefore know the frustration of making or even searching for a place that can make/sell freddo. Finally mastering the technique of making freddo it is quite simple and thought I would share it with you all. Of course, one of the main things is the coffee itself – the espresso shot. The coffee beans need to be of good quality and not ‘burnt’. In other words, whilst the esspresso shot is ‘made’ in the machine and deposited in a small shot glass, if there is no ‘skin’ as such on top (a light creamy brown colour) it means, as i’ve been taught, that the coffee is ‘burnt’ and not of great quality, leaving a bitter taste.

    1. Anyway, the first step is to get your hands on an espresso shot. Whether this be through your own coffee machine at home or from a coffee shop near to you, thats fine just make sure it doesn’t sit out for ages as it will loose it’s skin.

    2. The next step is to take a metal mixing container (like the ones that mixologists use when making and shaking cocktails as you see them do in bars). This is perfect as its metal and keeps the coffee warm to start then cools it straight away after.

    3. The next step is to then poor the espresso shot into the metal container along with 2 tbsp of sugar if you want the coffee sweet, 1 tbsp if you want it ‘metrio’ as they say in Greece (medium in other words) or no sugar if you want your freddo strong.

    4. Once the sugar and coffee is put into the metal container, you add 2 ice cubes only(!) and mix the ingredients under a hand blender for only a few seconds. When I say hand blender, I do not mean an industrial smotthie blender, I mean one that has one long mixing end thats either powered by a machine or by hand.

    5. We were trained to put our pinkie finger on the base of the metal container, which is scortching when the espresso shot is in, but once the coffee and ice merges, we feel the temperature change on our finger and this is when we stop blending (usually about 5 seconds). Whilst your blending, ensure the blender head is at the bottom of the container, touching the bottom, and that you move the container with the ingredients in, in a circular motion to ensure you dissolve all the sugar and mix with the coffee.

    The next stage is the frothy milk. Again, a metal container as stated before is perfect or even better, a plastic one that looks similar to the metal one, just made of plastic. With this, keeping it in the fridge all the time ensures that it is always cold, making a better froth.

    6. You add a little milk, about 3-4 inches (i’m used to making the froth in bulk therefore use a lot more milk, so I’m guessing 3-4 is enough for 1-2 coffees). Long lasting milk is always best as its thicker, but I prefer the idea of fresh milk.

    7. You then add 2 ice cubes only(!) again and a dash of vodka (optional). You don’t have to use vodka but we used a pin drop as a way to bind the milk together making it thicker.

    8. You then put it again under the hand mixer, ensuring the mixer is half way through the milk, slowly moving it up so the top of the milk froths otherwise if the bottom is mixed, it will remain runny.
    So, just mix the top middle portion of the milk in the container (if that makes sense). In other words, stick the mixer head halfway through your 3-4 inches of milk and as you blend the milk, move it up and down only half way and staying further on the surface of the milk so the top of the milk blends fully. The milk should then be thicker.

    9. Hit the milk gently on a table top, popping out any air bubbles and swirl the milk in the container gently, again on the table top, in circular motions, to bind the thick milk.
    It should be done!

    10. Pour the espresso freddo mixture into a glass filled with ice, and then slowly tip the thick milk on top either by hand (pouring) or using a large spoon to scoop and place.

    Add some cinnamon on top if u fancy and a straw. And enjoy!

    Hope this helps and I haven’t waffled on too much! This is how i’ve learn’t to make freddo and how I make it when i’m back in England at home. x

    • Wow – thanks so much for stopping by and adding these detailed instructions for the many people that read this post.

      The addition of a drop of vodka is an interesting one, but I won’t knock it till I’ve tried it !!!

      Will give your instructions a crack!

      Thanks again and cheers 🙂

  4. SydneyNewbie says:

    A new arrival here in Sydney from Athens, and as summer is well and truly here, I am missing my Freddo fix.

    I am trying to teach my local barista here in Sydney to make a Freddo, and it is still a working progress, mainly with the milk frothing. I will print out Athens’ instructions and see how she goes with that!

    Soul Kitchen, where is your Greek barista?

    • Hi there Sydney Newbie! Welcome to Sydney. Sorry for my slow response, I’ve been away. My Greek barista is Nick at Kaimaki in Kogarah, however he seems to have taken Freddo off the menu, but I’m sure they would make one for you if you ask. Hope your local is getting the hang of it. The main thing is use really cold milk. Also they use a milkshake maker in Greece to froth, so a handheld stick milk frother would also work. Good luck 🙂

      • SydneyNewbie says:

        Just got back from a visit to Greece and I asked at my local coffee bar about the milk. She told me that it has to be the long life milk and it has to be skimmed, not even semi-skimmed. And as for the frother, of course they use the high watt ones, not the simple household frothers.
        I now live near Giorgio’s café in Belmore, and they have it on the menu, but it isn’t great and it costs $6!

      • Hey there, yes same as a normal cappuccino skim milk will give a stronger thicker froth. However the ones I go to in Greece are using fresh milk. Either way, they just ain’t the same as having in Greece :-((

  5. Pingback: wear to infinity » While in Greece: Coffee Freddo

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