In the past I've travelled to quite a few Greek islands; I just had a look at a list of them and I can recall seven, although there's probably a couple of others that I've forgotten about. I know I've visited Santorini so - Naxos and Paxos maybe? Anyway this was all very long ago and, memory shrouded by the mists of time, the forgetfulness is perhaps understandable. What isn't understandable is why the fuck I've never thought to make a Greek frappé at home before yesterday. Especially given that it's a piece of piss.
This sorry state of affairs may well have continued indefinitely had I not decided to splash out on a haircut the other day (£6, eyebrow trim included) at Georgious Barbers. First opened in 1953, Steve and Andrew have been cutting hair here since 1965. We usually end up talking about food and Greek food in particular, as both are of Greek-Cypriot heritage. As I stepped out into the sweltering and humid sunshine, with images of island idylls swirling around the old, freshly cropped noggin, I suddenly thought: 'I could murder a frappé now'.
Greek frappé, at its simplest, is Nescafé, chilled water and (usually) sugar, shaken or frothed and served cold in a long glass with ice cubes and a straw. It can also include milk (evaporated or fresh) if you like, and you can have it without sugar (sketo), medium sweet (metrio) or sweet (glyko). Legend has it that it was first created in 1957 at a trade fair in Thessaloniki, when a Nescafé representative, unable to find boiling water to make a coffee, improvised with cold water and a shaker. Over time it has become part of the culture of Greek café life.
There's a scientific reason why you need spray-dried instant coffee to make a frappé - something to do with the density of proteins created in the process. These proteins act as a foaming agent during the initial phase of mixing, thereby producing a foam with something of the texture of the head on a pint of stout.
For a true frappé you need Nescafé Classic I'm told, but you can't get that in the UK (or at least I've not been able to find it) so I've used Nescafé Original. I haven't yet been able to find out what, if any, difference there is between the two.
You also, really, need a table outside a harbour café on a Greek island, a backgammon board and 3-5 hours to while away; but you can't have everything.
Despite being a blindingly simple concoction, knocked out in seconds, there are forums online (of course there are) on which you can debate the merits of different methods, recipes, equipment, water etc. Here's the recipe I used:
what you need
A clean dry jar
A tall glass
how to make it
enough for a medium sweet frappé for one person
1 dsp Nescafé Classic (if you can get it) or Original
1 dsp white granulated sugar
chilled water to just cover the above
a splash or two of semi-skimmed milk
2-3 ice cubes
chilled water to top up
Spoon the coffee and sugar into the dry jar. Add just enough water to cover. Screw the lid of the jar on tightly and shake vigorously for probably 40-60 seconds. Place a few ice cubes in the glass and pour over the resultant foam. Pour a little milk into the jar and swirl around to collect the remaining foam and pour this into the glass. Top up with more chilled water. Add a straw (essential for stirring) and serve.
Instead of the jar/shaking method, you could also use one of those battery operated milk frothers instead - in which case put the coffee, sugar and water straight into the glass and froth well, adding the ice cubes after, followed by your chosen combination of water and/or milk.
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