Wednesday, July 2, 2014

That Real Greek Frappé (φραπές)

On request of my mom an authentic Greek recipe: Frappé. You'll find this refreshingly cool drink in every café in Greece - and there are a lot of cafés in Greece. You'll also find that not only it is served everywhere, it is also consumed everywhere, by everyone, no exceptions. It's a Greek staple summer drink without a doubt. (The word frappé, funnily enough, comes from the French.)

Frappé is a foam-covered, iced coffee drink made from instant coffee. It's usually served in tall glasses, with ice cubes, usually with the addition of sugar and condensed milk. Oh, and a straw (preferably black or white) to make it fancy. Plus you'd be drinking the foam if you don't have one. And lastly, with a glass of water to the side. (for the aftertaste and because coffee dehydrates you). In Greece glass of water is always served for free in every restaurant or café, regardless of you ordering coffee.



Before I get into the recipe, perhaps the word "handmixer" needs a bit explaining. There are mixers out there especially for making frappés. They're also called 'frappedisers', 'electric frothing wands' or, if we're talking about the big machines it's 'frappé machines'. If you Google the last one you'll know what I mean. If you don't have a special frappé-making-machine: use a shaker. You know, one of the ones you use for cocktails or just a simple mason jar will do the job.


Frappé
1 glass - a Greek bartender

3 teaspoons sugar
2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee *
4 tsp water
optional: 2 teaspoons water
3 large ice cubes (or several smaller)**
1 tsp condensed milk
Enough water

1. Put the sugar, instant coffee, and 4 teaspoons of water in a glass. Use a frappé handmixer to whisk the ingredients together to create a foam. Keep foaming until 1/3 of your glass is full of foam. Add another 2 teaspoons of water halfway the process to make more foam.
2. Add icecubes, roughly 1 teaspoon of condensed milk and top the glass with water. Done!
3. Serve immediately, very cold, in a tall glass, a straw and with a glass of water to the side.

* Any instant coffee's will work, but there's a huge variety in taste. Nescafé classic is the one we use, and in our opinion the best.
** several smaller icecubes will result in a nicer flavour than a few big ones.

In cafés they do it a slight bit different: they'll have big machines for the stirring. Usually they make enough for roughly 20 glasses in one go and leave it to mix for 15-20 minutes. That way they'll get a really thick, stiff foam. After that, they fill glasses (about halfway) with the foam and put them in the fridge. Just before serving, they'll add ice-cubes and cold water. Of course, they'll have to do this for all the different types of frappé, which leaves me to wonder how big their fridges are...


And now: how to make a REAL authentic Greek Frappé. Start with testing the above recipe, then tailor it to your taste: like all authentic, family recipes, this one didn't come with exact measurements. It took quite a lot of measuring to figure out how much teaspoons of every ingredient we were really using. Usually everything is measured by "roughly half the glass", "2 fingers thickness" or just by heart. So all you need to do is find your flow. Here's a few variaties you will find in cafés in Greece:

Skétos frappé - plain frappé, without sugar
Métrios frappé - medium sweet frappé, with 1-2 spoons of sugar per glass (as much sugar as coffee)
Glykós frappé - a sweet frappé, usually between 2-4 spoons of sugar per glass (double the sugar compared to the coffee)
... me gála - with milk, used in combination with the above options

So, with the above recipe you made a "Glykós frappé me gála". Although it's sometimes also called "Frappé, glykós me gála" or just "Glykós me gála". You get my point right?

My own, personal version of a frappé goes like this: 1 coffee, 3 sugar, 99% milk. I like to think it's nothing to be embarrased about. But honestly, I've still yet to learn to actually drink coffee. I really like the smell and flavour, but somehow drinking it is an entirely different matter. Is that wierd?

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