Being a traveler on a serious budget sometimes means I have to go without, but if I only have one euro in my pocket, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will go towards coffee instead of food. Not the smartest decision, I’ll be the first to admit, but it’s true nonetheless. Which is why I needed to figure out how to order coffee in Greece!
When I arrive in a new country, I need to get some coffee info – of course, for budgeting purposes I need to know the prices, but I also want to learn how to order my coffee in that country’s (or region’s) language. This not only ensures I get the coffee I want but is also really appreciated by locals.
Greece has a HUGE coffee culture (and if you don’t know me yet, I’m from Seattle, the unofficial coffee capitol of the USA) so needless to say, the first thing I learned in Greek (well… who am I kidding, cheers was really first) was how to order my coffee.
From sitting on a bench sipping a homemade frappe to a chatting for hours in a nice cafe over an iced cappuccino, at some point, a coffee is likely to make it’s way into your day. And when that time comes around you’ll want to know…
How to order coffee in Greece
First of all, there are four common choices for coffee in Greece:
- Espresso (hot or cold)
- Cappuccino (hot or cold)
- Frappe (cold) or Nescafe (hot)
- Elleniko kafe (aka Greek coffee, hot)
Greek iced coffee
To get a cold espresso or cappuccino in Greece, say “freddo” first (IE- Freddo espresso). For frappes, Nescafes, and Elleniko kafe, whether it is hot or cold is given.
While the frappe is certainly the most commonly known of the cold coffees, and certainly a Greek favorite, plenty of folks (yours truly included), prefer a cappuccino or espresso.
For all of the coffees, you need to say if you want it plain (sketo), sweet (gliko) or somewhere in the middle (metrio). So, to order a cold espresso with a little sugar, say:
“Freddo espresso metrio”
Or, if you’re feeling advanced try “I want a cold espresso, please”
“Thelo ena freddo espresso metrio, parakalo”
Frappes in Greece
For ordering frappes in Greece, you will need to say if you want it with or without milk…
With milk: me gala
Without milk: horis i gala
So, for a sweet frappe with milk, say:
“Frappe gliko me gala”
Aaand of course, it’s polite to say hello/goodbye (yassas) and thank you (efharisto).
For the coffee snobs
If you are a serious coffee snob, or want something a little richer, you can ask for…
Strong/hard espresso/cappuccino- “var-e”
With heavy cream (espresso or cappuccino)- “me crema”
So you could say:
“Freddo esspresso metrio me crema, var-e” and you will get a great coffee, and certainly impress the person taking your order.
How much does coffee in Greece cost?
And because this is a budget travel tip, of course I should tell you the prices!
Take away coffees average around 1,20 Euros. Some really cheap joints you can get a nes/frappe/single Elleniko for ,80-,90 cents. There are plenty of places where you can find them all for 1 Euro, but more commonly the price will be around 1,40 for an espresso/cappuccino and 1-1,20 for a frappe.
How to get cheap coffee in Greece
If you’re also hungry, but don’t want to give up that coffee, go for a cappuccino, frappe with milk, or espresso/cappuccino with crema (but be careful here, sometimes it’s more expensive with cream) for some extra calories and protein.
The average price for a coffee in a cafe is around 3 Euros.
Budget yourself about 10 Euros for coffee for a week and you’re golden, and you can certainly get away with a bit less if you’re careful.
Oh, and one final tip: don’t say cheers with coffee in Greece, it’s bad luck… But if you want to say it with wine or beer, it’s “yammas”.