COFFEE ON THE ROCKS – THE GREEK WAY TO SURVIVE THE DAY
- It is a cold coffee drink, shaken in order to create a frothy topping. It is served in a tall glass, filled with ice cubes, and drank from a bendy straw.
2. What does frappe contain?
- Only instant coffee and water. Sugar and milk are optional, added according to taste. Milk should be fresh or evaporated (powdered milk dissolves the foam).
3. What is not frappe?
- Coffee that is not instant; coffee with ice cream in it; coffee with chocolate syrup on top; coffee with whipped cream on top; coffee mixed with ouzo, with soda…and so on. To serve frappe in a mug automatically cancels frappe.
4. What food traditionally goes with frappe?
- No food at all.
5. Is there a frappe savoir-faire?
- Certainly. This is not espresso to be drunk at once, frappe is made to last for quite a while (some take hours to drink one glass). That’s why many ice cubes and a straw are necessary: stirring up the foam and ice keeps frappe as fresh as possible. So take your time, meet up with friends, get your backgammon and play!
Important: we never wish “to your health” (or similar) with coffee – it’s bad luck
6. How was it invented?
- By chance. It happened during the 1957 Thessaloniki International Fair (HELLEXPO). The inventor was Dimitris Vakondios, a salesman of Nestle (the brand that first introduced instant drinks into the Greek market). During the Fair the firm was launching the use of the cocktail shaker to promote a new cold chocolate drink. The salesman was in need of coffee but couldn’t find hot water to mix his instant coffee in. So he used the available equipment and…voila! (The rest is history) Frappe is French for “shaken” and was given also by chance, inspired by a French drink (that has no coffee in it). Years later, Vakondios was quoted saying “I can’t even realize that a simple experiment has led me to the invention of the most popular drink in Greece!” It’s true he would have been a zillionaire if he’d got a patent on the recipe.
7. How is frappe connected with Greek pop culture?
- In 1960’s comedy movies, popular actors are often seen drinking frappe while on a date.
More recently (T.V. comedy), frappe has been connected with the cliché types that spend hours in discussing stuff but remain idle and sarcastic. There is of course a frappe slang expressing every aspect of your desire for this drink or your opinion about a person who acts like the above mentioned cliché type.
8. Where can I find frappe around the planet?
- Tourists visiting Greece during all these years were quick to discover and like frappe. A lot introduced the drink in their own cities, sometimes adapting its taste (see point 3) but keeping the name intact. Consumption has been reportedly spotted as far away as Belarus, Lebanon, Cambodia, Malaysia and Kenya. Other unlikely places include Oslo’s Edvart Munch Museum café (Norway), Bilbao university campus café (Spain) and a hip-hop festival organized every August in Czech Republic! In cities where Greek migrants reside in large communities the drink is not hard to find (e.g. Chicago, New York, Melbourne, Toronto, Budapest, Brussels, London, various cities in Germany).
- Also, frappe is very likely to be found wherever there are regular Greek tourists visiting in large numbers.
Of course, the kingdom of frappe was and is Thessaloniki. The café on top of the White Tower is an obvious must-visit!
9. How to make your own frappe?
- There are 2 essential things that you need. Instant coffee (the worst quality you can get – fancy or healthy brands are out of the question) and an electric cocktail mixer (makes the thickest froth).
Step 1: Pour a bit of water into your glass.
Step 2: Pour your desired amount of coffee (and sugar, if taken). For example, for a medium-sweet frappe you’d normally need 2 heaped teaspoons coffee and 2 heaped teaspoons sugar.
Step 3: Place the mixer into the glass and mix well moving from the bottom of the glass upwards as the froth begins to form.
Step 4: Fill your glass with water (add milk, if taken) and add as many ice cubes as you can. Place the straw in the glass and serve.
Enjoy!!!! (and don’t wish “cheers”)
Article by Sophia Nikolaou