Let’s go for a coffee! Πάμε για καφέ! Drinking coffee is a vital part of the Greek culture. It is not just about drinking “a coffee”, a whole ritual goes with it. Coffee breaks in Greece are serious affairs and last long! When a Greek tells you: “Let’s go for a coffee”, make sure you don’t have any plans for the next few hours.
To go for a coffee is also the best way for non-Greeks to start socializing with Greeks and practice speaking Greek in the meantime. If you can order in Greek, the waiters will be smiling even more! The first contact is there and you can start a conversation. Do not lose that opportunity.
Click on the button below and download our free eBook about ordering coffee in Greek. The eBook is in Greek and Greeklish (Greek words written with Latin letters) and includes a useful dialogue and audio with the right pronunciation & an overview of the most common coffees you can drink nearly everywhere in Greece.
Ordering coffee in Greece is really easy. The simplest phrase to say would be: A coffee, please: “Έναν καφέ, παρακαλώ” But the difficulty is rather which coffee to order! Let’s have a look at the wide variety of coffees that you will find in most places.
Of course the most traditional way is to order a Greek coffee (έναν ελληνικό καφέ). The Greek coffee is actually (almost) the same as the Turkish coffee, made of very finely grounded roasted coffee beans and it has a very strong taste. It is prepared in a specific small pot (aluminum or copper), which is called “briki” (μπρίκι). If made right, it is served with “foam” (καϊμάκι) on top. The small size of the cup does not mean that the coffee is meant to be drunk as a shot, like espresso drinkers do. The coffee is meant to be sipped slowly, fitting perfectly with the Greek coffee culture. If you prefer a bigger cup and more coffee do not worry, you can ask for a double portion ( “έναν δίπλο ελληνικό”).
Of course you can also order filter coffee, which many times is also called “French coffee”. (ένα καφέ φίλτρου OR ένα γαλλικό καφέ).
Apart from the older generation, most people in Greece now prefer other kinds of coffee. Ιt is very popular, especially in spring and summer, to order cold coffee, for example a “Frappe” – (ένα φραπέ). The word frappé comes from the French verb “frapper” which means to ‘hit, to shake”. It was introduced in Greece in the late ’60 and is one of the easiest beverages to make with instant coffee. In this video our teacher Marina explains you how!
As in many European countries, Greeks nowadays also drink Cappuccino and Espresso. However, in Greece they added a personal Greek touch: the “cold versions”, which you can order by adding the word φρέντο “freddo”! Truly delicious! Since those coffees are made from grounded beans and not instant coffee (Nescafe), the Espresso and Cappuccino Fredo has become as popular as the Frappe. Only, bear in mind that some older café’s in small villages will not have the cappuccino/espresso machine, and therefore will only serve the traditional Greek coffee and frappe.
Important notes :
a. since sugar is added while preparing the coffee, you will also have to tell the waiter how sweet you want your coffee to be: Plain/black (σκέτο) – half sweet (μέτριο) – sweet (γλύκο)
b. All the cold versions ( Frappe, Capuccino Fredo and Espresso Fredo), are served with a straw (καλαμάκι) and are nearly impossible to drink without one! Slowly stirring with your straw in your coffee is also part of the Greek coffee ritual and nearly became a national sport in Greece!
c. In some places there is no menu on the table, so if you do not know what to order and you need some inspiration, you ask for the menu card. The correct and polite sentence you need is : Θα ήθελα έναν κατάλογο παρακαλώ (tha ithela enan katalogo parakalo). (= I would like a menu please)
And now, let’s order a coffee! Aς παραγγείλoυμε!
We are happy to help you with all the vocabulary and sentences you need, so you are ready to order a coffee as a Greek!
Click below to receive:
• the vocabulary list (in Greek, Greeklish and English translation)
• a useful Greek dialogue to order coffee
• audio with the correct pronunciation in Greek
• an overview of the most common coffees you can drink nearly everywhere in Greece
If you want to learn more about daily Greek language and try all the different Greek coffees, you are very welcome to join our courses in Greece, where we focus on speaking Greek and exploring the “real Greece”.