Got Nescaffee Frappe?

What is a cup of coffee?  Is it energy in liquid form?  Is it just a type of drink?  Is it a trendy accessory?  Is it a habit? A ritual?  Today, I discovered that in Greece kafee is all of these things and more.  Coffee is a prominent and important part of Greek culture.  And the funny thing is, most Greeks sip on fake coffee- Nescafe Frappe, which is instant coffee.  Traditional Elleneke Kafe (Greek Coffee) is actually less popular-by quite a long shot. 

In fact Greece is often referred to as Frappe nation.  Everyone drinks it all of the time!  It is delicious I admit-despite the fact that it is instant.  Once you find the way you like to take it best (sketo-black, metrio-medium, gliko-sweet) you will find yourself joining Nescafe Frappe Nation.

But how disappointing is that?  That true Greeks drink instant, out of the can coffee?  Not that disappointing at all I found.  “Well it is good, and we make it good, so we drink it good”- Costas (the owner of the café I frequent).  Of course he is right.  Just because it is instant doesn’t mean that it is any less significant culturally.  Greeks still drink it slowly-and I mean slowly, three hours is the norm.  no refills. no pressure to leave once you have finished.  no hassle.  just coffee.  (and although it is instant coffee, it is never ever made in an instant. Nor in 5 minuets.  Rather, they are made with surprisingly slow speed considering their “instant” nature).

O and great conversation.  Whether you are alone or not, you will find yourself in discussion.  Costas for example (who speaks little English, which I like because it helps my Greek) decided to test me on my Greek numbers.  He had me and a classmate count 1-10 in Greek.  Talk about really learning a new language. Literally haha.

Costas is older and friendly but also kind of rough around the edges.  His café is frequented by older locals and he seems to enjoy seeing younger faces.  However, despite the language barrier Costas managed to communicate to me that I am not very young on the inside.  Why?  Well because, “you drink elleneke kafe sketo!”

He is right again-well at least about how I take my coffee.  It appears that only older Greeks drink traditional Greek coffee anymore-nevermind sketo.  Apostolos laughed when he heard I like it sketo, “no no it’s not good sketo.  Only old men drink it sketo.  You must order it gliko.”

So maybe I am an old Greek man-who likes his coffee strong and bitter.  But I see no problem with this-only the Greeks who serve it to me seem to.  Sometimes café’s give me it metrio thinking that I made a mistake.  But that’s ok, because you can’t always have your coffee sketo and drink it too.

Love,

TZENIA

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