It’s a great way to use up all your instant coffee
Credit: Photo by Jenn Rice

Sailing around the Northern Cyclades on a four-masted schooner barque felt like something straight out of Pirates of The Caribbean. It was no doubt the highlight of my vacation in the Greek isles. But coming in at a very close second were all the Greek frappés, the country’s classic coffee drink. It’s easily the best way to cool down after a dip in the Aegean Sea.

The not-so-secret secret ingredient? Instant coffee. And lots of foam. A third of the drink should be foam, which I fully learned to embrace. We're talking "sipping on a Guinness straight from a keg in Ireland" levels of foaminess, but without booze. I crave the drink every day now that I’m back stateside.

The Greek frappé came into existence in 1957 in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the Thessaloniki International Fair, when Nescafé rep Dimitris Vakondios was left to man the exhibition without hot water. Luckily for us, he didn’t give up and proceeded to fill a shaker with Nescafé Classic instant coffee and cold water and shook repeatedly, creating a crazy, unexpected burst of foam. “Mr. Vakondios achieved two things: the first was to stain his business suit and the second was to invent the Nescafé Frappé,” a Nescafé spokesperson told me.

For Greeks, a frappé is a daily ritual. “It’s a real cultural phenomenon in Greece linked to history, heritage, happy occasions, socializing and, of course, summer,” the spokesperson said. Perhaps it’s a combination of the foam and the downright simplicity of the drink. You’re not waiting in line for half an hour when ordering it, and it’s available everywhere. While some people may poke fun at the effortless mixture of instant coffee, water, and ice, and it’s worthy of all the hype. “The preparation of a frappé is a personal habit enabling anybody to experience the unique transformation of the fresh, purely natural raw materials into a high quality end cup,” the spokesperson said.

While it’s best consumed with an unbeatable view of a Greek island, it’s easy to make a frappé at home, even if you can’t follow directions worth a damn and don’t own an electric frother. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in Mykonos and it’s almost the same. Almost.

Greek Frappé

Credit: Photo by Jenn Rice


2 teaspoons Nescafé Clàsico (note: any instant coffee will suffice)
2 teaspoons sugar (optional/to taste)
1 tablespoon cold water
Ice cubes
Evaporated milk or half and half (optional)


1. Add the instant coffee, sugar and water to a cocktail shaker or jar with a lid and shake for 30 seconds or until foamy. If using a blender or a frother, the set on a lower speed for approximately 10 seconds to achieve the richest, creamiest foam.

2. Place ice cubes in glass and slowly pour the foam into the glass

3. Top off with evaporated milk or half and half (or water if you're making it dairy-free)

4. Serve with a straw and enjoy immediately!