The magic midnight melancholy of Greek coffee. Ancient Greek philosophers achieved oodles. Certainly the intake of caffeine was the key, yes? All great programmers depend on the stuff to geek-amorphisize through long hard nights, there is much to be done, and less time to do it. ‘But why the Greek philosophers?’ you may ask. You wouldn’t be wrong in asking either. Believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, the Greeks have some of, if not the, strongest coffee in the world. I’ll categorize categorically into three trade types: the Frappas (as used in Greek, Frappé as derived from French, here though, is the Greek frappas), O Ellinikos (translated into English as The Greek) and O Diplos Ellinikos (The Double Greek).

The Frappas is derived from the French frappé ("to hit"), served cold with ice cubes and a straw. This is the summer coffee, consisting of (in character with the cultural stereotype of the Greek, indescribable in English, o klassikos ellinas), 2-3 spoons of traditional Nescafé grain with 5-6 spoonfuls of sugar shaken using only enough water to cover the coffee and sugar to make a thick, creamy foam. Water and ice is added after and stirred. Under no circumstances do we add milk; it neutralizes the caffeine. Absurd.

O Ellinikos is the turbo-charge of Greek convention. A metallic coffee pot is loaded onto the stove filled with approximately two shot-glasses of water; place on top of water 3 teaspoons of fine Ellinikos grain (Papagalos is one of the finer brands, translated as 'parrot' but remarkably fine coffee nevertheless). Allow water to simmer and stir very gently so coffee grain rises to top, but is not sitting on the simmering water. As water simmers and slowly nears boiling, stop stirring and wait for water and coffee mixture to rise. If you want a thick layer of coffee (kaimaki) to sit on the top, leave rise as much as possible, if not, remove coffee as soon as it rises even a little. Served in a miniature coffee mug, down like a shot for some severe incessant shaking syndrome.

O Diplos Ellinikos – Akin to O Ellinikos. Double everything. Drink slowly. Enough said.

Any Greek will campaign the perfect harmony that cigarettes and coffee bathe in when appreciated together. The coffee-cigarette lifestyle is almost cult-like and is a key cultural value that binds and unites contemporary Greek society.

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