Some of the best things of life occur not when everything goes by plan, or by mere accidental occurrences. Adding to the list, is the delightful flavours of coffee, chilled, icy and sweet; though meant or the hot summer days can be had at any occasion, day or time. Though the 19th century saw a variety of cold coffee drinks as “café frappé (à la glace)”, some were like iced coffee and others similar to slushes. Although special mention of the iced coffee drink, known as Frappé coffee (or Greek frappé or café frappé, frapés), has to be made as it became ingrained into the coffee culture.
“Iced coffee, on a hot day, can perform miracles.” Lish McBride
Although frappé with etymological origins from French means “chilled in crushed ice”; the discovery of the café frappé using instant coffee happened in Greece. As the narrative goes, at the Thessaloniki International Fair (1957), Giannis Dritsas (the Nestlé company representative) was exhibiting a new chocolate beverage produced instantly by mixing it with milk and shaking it in a shaker. With Dritsas’ employee Dimitris Vakondios looking for a way to have his usual instant coffee during his break and for the lack of hot water, he mixed the coffee with cold water and ice cubes in a shaker. With this experimentation, frappé was born and established with it’s Greek finish.
The Greek frappé in Greece is available in various varieties depending on their degrees of sweetness and the amount of sugar used. These are mainly glykós (“sweet”, 2 teaspoons of coffee and 4 teaspoons of sugar); métrios ( “medium” with 1:1 ratio of coffee and sugar) and a skétos (“plain”) without sugar). The chocie of serving can be with evaporated milk, then known as frapógalo or “frappé-milk” or without any milk. At times water is substituted by milk for a very thick, milky coffee frappé (mostly a Cyprian variation). Over the years, further flavours like Kahlúa, Baileys Irish Cream or other liqueurs are used, along with a ball of vanilla ice-cream (not milk) or made blended with spoon. With the spread of frappé from Greece, further variations have been according to the local choice like the “hladen nas” (Serbian) made with milk or ice-cream and whipped cream often added on top or the Danish version of using cold milk on crushed ice with coffee in the shaker.
“I was taken by the power that savoring a simple cup of coffee can have to connect people and create community.” Howard Schultz
With the experimentation streak running high, homemade frappé can be had for a change from the regular. With a hand mixer or cocktail shaker, the homemade blend would be a welcome change from the regular sweet coffee. Moreover, it could be a start to a new frappé tradition of own choice, ingenuity and memorable moments.
One or two teaspoons of instant coffee (traditionally Nescafe), sugar (to taste) and a little water are blended (with a cocktail shaker or an appropriate mixer like the hand mixer) to form a foam, which is poured into a tall glass. To this is added cold water and ice cubes, and, optionally, milk (typically evaporated milk). The glass is served with a drinking straw.