An Introduction to Greek coffee culture

If you have decided to visit Greece, then most likely you are super excited to see the extraordinary monuments, to taste some of the best food you had in your life and experience the deepest blue crystal clear waters. But what about Greek coffee? We don’t often think about it as a must-have Greek experience but it is! So, consider this an introduction to Greek coffee culture for the next time you visit the country of sunshine!

Greece, as many other European countries take the art of coffee making seriously. In fact, in Greece that goes hundreds of years back. Young Greeks still carry this tradition to this day and they often go out for a frappe or a ‘freddo espresso’. FUN FACT: Greece is number 15 on the list of top coffee-consuming countries in the world.

Greek coffee culture


In Greece, going for a coffee at a café is even more common than drinking a cup at home. At the same time, there isn’t a chance that you visit someone’s home and you don’t get offered a cup of freshly made coffee.

One thing that you will definitely notice is that Greeks spend a really long time at cafes. They usually combine their coffee time to catch up with friends and family. The second thing you’ll notice is the two kinds of coffee shops available. Kafeteria and kafeneio. The first one is closer to what you are used to. You’ll find inside mostly young people, drinking coffee always accompanying it with some sort of pastry. A kafeneio is the traditional Greek coffee place, 90% you’ll find inside elderly men or retirees, and of course, you’ll hear them talk about local politics, play cards or backgammon.

How to drink Greek coffee in Greece

hot Greek coffee

The definition of Greek coffee is finely ground coffee that’s added to hot water and then allowed to come to a boil. As the water decreases, the coffee grounds fall to the bottom, the drink becomes thick and velvety. Its flavor and aroma are considered intense, and because of its strong body, many Greeks will add sugar to it.

There are generally speaking four different levels of sweetness you can order for your coffee:

  • sketos (no sugar)
  • metrios (one sugar)
  • glykos (sweet, two sugars)
  • variglykos (very sweet, more than two sugars)

We recommend trying a few of these options until you figure out what suits best to your palette and then you can order like a local!

We couldn’t finish this blog post that’s dedicated to the Greek coffee culture, without an honorable mention to frappe, as it is, in fact, a Greek innovation!

Greek coffee

Back in 1960, a Greek employee of the Nestle chocolate company, invented by accident. He wanted to make a drink out of their chocolate mix but he ran out. He decided to use coffee instead and frappe was born!

The famous frappe is only a mix of coffee, milk, and ice blended and shakes fast together until they form a creamy liquid.  It became very popular very fast and to this day many people order it. Especially in the summertime.

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