Frappé is a Greek foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee which took Greece by storm in the ’60s and hasn’t let go since. Frappé is so ubiquitous that every tiny grocery shop and kiosk sells instant frappé kits.
The frappé (a French word meaning “to hit”) was accidentally invented in 1957 at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki by Dimitris Vakondios. During his break, he was looking for an alternative way to have his instant coffee since he could not find any hot water. So, he thought of mixing the coffee with cold water and ice cubes in a shaker. And, lo and behold, this popular Greek beverage was created!
Frappé is the most popular coffee among the Greek youth and foreign tourists, especially during the summer. It has become a hallmark of the post-war outdoor Greek coffee culture and has now spread to other countries as well. The only problem here is that when you do actually make it once you are back home, it always tastes as if something is missing…
It can be made either with an appropriate mixer or a cocktail shaker. One or two teaspoons of instant coffee, sugar to taste and a little water are mixed or shaken to form a foam, which is poured into a tall glass. Cold water and ice cubes are added, and, optionally, milk and served with a straw.
Frappé is available in three degrees of sweetness, depending on the amount of sugar used. These are: glykós (sweet); métrios (medium); and skétos (unsweetened).
Kahlua, Bailey’s, Irish Cream or other liqueurs are sometimes used for additional taste. Some add a ball of vanilla ice cream instead of milk. Another variation is stirred with a spoon, especially when a shaker is not available, creating a slightly different texture (no foam) and taste. In this case it is called “koutalatos” (spoon-made).