ATHENS – What Greeks like to think of as their own – coffee boiled in a briki and served in a small or double cup to be enjoyed leisurely with friends, wasn’t ranked among the world’s 10 Best Rated favorites by the site Taste Atlas – because it’s Turkish – but three other versions made the list.
The curious concoction called Frappe – a Greek iced coffee made with instant Nescafe – frowned on by coffee cognoscenti as being among the lowest-quality and cheapest – came in at #8 in the whole world, revealed on World Coffee Day.
Those who love it swear by it and drink it by the glassful, while those who don’t think it tastes like watered-down dirt, a dusting of instant coffee combined with lots of sugar, some water and milk and blended.
It’s also a marketing genius gimmick by Nescafe, owned by the Swiss company Nestlé and was invented in 1957 at the Thessaloniki International Fair in Greece’s second-largest city.
A Nestlé company representative, Giannis Dritsas, was exhibiting a new product for children, a chocolate beverage produced instantly by mixing it with milk and shaking it in a shaker, a kind of instant chocolate drink.
Dritsas’ employee Dimitris Vakondios was looking for a way to have his usual instant coffee during his break but could not find any hot water, so, he mixed the coffee with cold water and ice cubes in a shaker, the story goes.
This improvised experiment established the frappé which quickly grew in popularity in Greece, Nestlé going all out with marketing campaigns in the 1980s that broadened the drink’s popularity, linking it to the company’s brand.
Italy had dominance on the list, of course, but not at the top. Espresso, from Turi, came in at #10, just ahead of another coffee from there, the Macchiato. At #7 was Turkish Coffee – also called Greek Coffee in Greece.
At #6 was Cappuccini, also from Turin while Vietnamese Iced Coffee came in third, renowned for being extra strong, with condensed milk and ice, all separated and sitting in a tall glass.
Second, also from Italy was Ristretto, half of a single shot of espresso. It differs from a standard espresso not only in the amount of water used for its preparation, but also in flavor, which is less bitter than regular espresso.
The world’s best rated was Cuban Espresso, sweetened with the brown coarse-grained demerara sugar while being brewed, using darker roasts which results in light-brown foam on top of the coffee.