Drinking coffee in Greece is an art form. It’s a part of life and if you plan to visit Greece and experience it like a local, visiting a Greek kafeneion, or coffeehouse, is a must.
Greeks take their coffee seriously and, like every other experience in life, it is meant to be savored and cherished. If you want a quick shot of espresso, go to Italy and visit a traditional espresso bar where you grab your shot of caffeine and move on.
In Greece, sit down, relax and sip your coffee until the end of time. It is not unusual to spend several hours at a kafeneion relaxing and socializing with friends.
There are different types of kafeneions to choose from — the traditional, old-fashioned style where men will while away the hours of the day drinking coffee, playing tavli (backgammon) and watching the world pass by. The more modern versions offer trendy designs, younger crowds and a variety of beverage choices.
For a traditional cup of Greek coffee (think a thick cup of Joe with a serious caffeine kick), order the ellinko. If you are a hardcore coffee connoisseur and like your caffeine unadulterated, order it elliniko sketo, for a traditional coffee without sugar. Order it glyko and you will get it well sweetened. For something in between, ask for it ellinko metrio and you’ll get it lightly sweetened. If you can’t do your coffee black, try me gala — with milk.
Hanging out at a kafeneion is meant to be about so much more than just the coffee, so sit back with good friends and enjoy yourself. And if you still want that espresso, order it, just don’t plan to drink it in a hurry.
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