For nearly fifteen years I have been working in the restaurant industry. This in and of itself is enough to guarantee a few character traits about yours truly: 1) I work long hours, 2) I almost always eat my meals cold and/or standing up, 3) I put coffee into my person morning, noon and night. Some of you might be thinking that I am exaggerating about this, but I am not. My day starts off with at least one cup of the good stuff at home – sometimes two. Then the minute I walk into the restaurant I beeline for the coffee pot, heaven help us if there is none brewed yet! Now from this point on my coffee ritual get a little fuzzy, this is when drinking coffee to simply get through the day begins. What I drink is not always good, I will often pour hot coffee over ice cubes so that I can drink it quickly out of a straw, or, I might pour myself a nice steaming cup of joe with half and half which I will leave on my desk for two hours before returning to it and enjoying it blindly at a dull room temperature. However, summertime opens a whole slew of blissful cold coffee drink options that don’t include watery coffee over ice cubes, and one of my favorites is a Greek Iced Coffee called a Frappé.
While writing this post I started to think about when my love affair with coffee began, and I realized that it started from childhood. We were one of those families that always had coffee after dinner in the evenings, so the fascination started there, then during my teenage years Starbucks came into the picture enticing me with it’s “mature espresso drinks” like Caramel Macchiatos and and Frappacinos, yet, it was not until I had my first Frappé in Greece that I truly became hooked. I am not sure if I actually LIKED coffee at that time or if I just drank these iced cold frothy delghts because all of my “cool” cousins did, but whatever it was I was into it, and to this day the first Frappé of the summer is a real treat!
There are two things that make a Frappé different from your typical iced coffee: 1) It is made with a very particular instant coffee called Nescafé, and, 2) Each drink is made one-by-one in a handheld shaker, beating air into the coffee which creates a fabulous foam! And that my friends is what hooked me, it was the foam. As a teen there was something so fun about slurping the foam up with my straw, and to this day it remains my favorite part of this drink!
Frappé is actually quite easy to make at home. The only specialty item that you need is the Nescafé Instant Greek Coffee and everything is most likely easily found in your cupboard.
For the longest time I never made Frappé at home because I didn’t have the specialty shaker that all good Greeks have in their cupboards. Then I got one and it always leaked and tossed coffee all over me and my kitchen while I was shaking it. However, in a moment of pure genius – and perhaps desperation – I grabbed one of the empty glass jars in my cupboard – yes, you can use a mason jar it’s the perfect time for it – and I have never looked back. You will find that with a glass jar with a tight fitting lid you will be able to shake and shimmy as much as you like without losing a drop of coffee! Victory!
The steps are simple. First, add the instant coffee and sweetener to your jar.
Then add a little bit of water, the amount for one Frappé is about the height of two fingers side-by-side, or you can use your spoon as a measure.
Now you will shake it for about 45 seconds to a minute so it gets nice and frothy, plus, you get a little work out!
To prepare the final drink you will pour most of the foam into a clean glass, swoosh some ice cold water into the shaking jar, and pour that chilled coffee water into the glass with the foam.
You are now ready to give it all a little stir with a straw, pour in a bit of milk – or perhaps something boozy like Baileys or Godiva Liqueur if you are feelin’ it – and last but not least, you must sit down and relax. THIS is the most crucial step in the preparation of a Frappé, in Greece it is rarely enjoyed in a hurry. So, instead of making this and running out the door as we often do with our coffees, try this instead: 1) Prepare your coffee, 2) Put together a spread of cookies and fresh fruit, or maybe some bread and cheese. 3) And, like the Greeks, prepare to sit for hours. As you and your friends ease into your Frappés the conversation will begin to effortlessly flow, the hours will tick away, you will undoubtedly find yourself wanting yet another iced cold Frappé!
Do you share my weakness for coffee? What coffee treat takes you back to a memorable vacation, or just makes you feel good? Share with us in the comments section below, I’d love to know what special coffee drinks get you excited!!
Greek Frappé (Greek Iced Coffee)
2 Heaping cereal spoonfuls of Nescafé Instant Greek Coffee
1 – 2 Cereal spoonfuls of sugar for a “medium sweet” coffee (you can add more or less depending on how sweet or bitter you like your coffee)
¼ Cup cold water + more to finish with
Milk, Cream, Half and Half or Creamy Liqueur of your choice such as Baileys, Godiva or Rum Chata
Begin with a 16 oz. Mason Jar, an empty jam jar, or, a frappé shaker – if you have one. The key to success is having a tall vessel with a tight fitting lid for optimal coffee shaking!
Into the bottom of the jar add the instant coffee, sugar, and the ¼ cup of cold water. Next, place the top onto the jar and tightly seal it. Now vigorously shake the contents of the jar as hard as you can! You will do this for about 30 seconds to a minute. As you shake you will watch the contents of the jar begin to get super light in color and foamy, like a cloud.
Once a thick layer of foam has developed inside the jar, unscrew the top and pour most of the foam into a tall empty drinking glass, a highball is perfect for this. Now, add iced cold water into the shaking jar and swish it around, collecting any residual coffee that has remained on the sides. Next, pour the “coffee water” from the shaking jar into the glass with the foam, measured out this is about ¾ – 1 cup of iced cold water. A trick to adding the water into the glass with the foam is to pour it gently down the inside wall of the drinking glass as though you were pouring a beer. By not pouring directly into the foam you avoid deflating this layer too quickly. When adding the cold water to the drinking glass stop when there is about a half an inch of space between the top of the foam and the top of the glass. Now add a few ice cubes, dairy – if you like – or something with more punch like Baileys, or any other liqueur that pairs well with coffee.
Last but not least, no Frappé is complete without a straw! Pop a straw into your coffee and give it a gentle stir. Now you are officially ready to sit down, relax, and sip on your coffee for hours, just like a true Greek!