“Let’s have a cup of coffee together!”
This suggestion could mean any number of things in Greece.
- Let’s get to know each other.
- Let me try and sell you something.
- Let’s discuss a business venture over coffee.
- Let’s catch up on things.
- Let’s sleep together!
Not if you know the Greek culture well enough.
So, be careful when you take someone up for a cup of innocent coffee. It might just not be so innocent after all.
Coffee has evolved quite a lot in Greek culture; from the tiny cup of Turkish coffee which was renamed Greek coffee, to all the elite Italian types like:
Freddo Espresso, Espresso, Capuccino, Freddo Capuccino, Café Latte, Macchiato, etc. etc.
Initially, there was only Greek coffee and then someone came up with Frappe – ice coffee!
Coffee is served on many occasions.
Many years ago when match-making was almost the only way girls got married, the matchmaker would visit the girl’s house with the prospective husband and coffee, together with a spoon sweet was served.
This was a get to know each other – something to get them to engage in conversation. The spoon sweet accompaniment was to ‘sweeten’ the air.
Greek coffee and a rusk are served after a funeral; bitter coffee symbolizing the bitterness one feels after losing someone. The rusk would be to protect the stomach from the bitter caffeine-loaded liquid invading the stomach. Cognac or brandy is also served to ‘soothe’ the mind.
Coffee, café, frappe, freddo … call it what you may – it always serves a purpose.
Greeks have come to enjoy many kinds of coffee nowadays and new cafeterias spring up out of nowhere, even during times of financial difficulties. In fact, it is remarkable how many young people fill these coffee shops every day. It is undoubtedly a cheap way of entertainment and as we all know, Greeks and fun go hand in hand.
Next time someone suggests going out for coffee, just be aware that it could mean any number of things…