Coffee Culture in Athens, Greece

Caroline Aurigemma is a student at the The College of Saint Rose and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Athens, Greece.

“Greeks don’t drink tea, Greeks only drink coffee.” – Local Greek

Greek coffee is something I have heard about from the start of my study abroad program. So when I finally took my first sip, it felt long awaited. The grainy texture was something that surprised me. Greek coffee is served in an espresso cup and is bitter and strong– an acquired taste. Although the small sips were not as delicious as I had imagined, coffee in Greece is more of a culture than a flavor.

Sipping coffee and meeting with friends seems to be something the locals of Agia Paraskevi do often. With the abundance of cafeterias and bakery shops, it is common to see people enjoying coffee on my early morning walk to class.

Locals seem to be on a steady internal clock, something that I am not used to, as typically in America I am rushing and over scheduling myself 24/7. In Greece, it is okay- even completely normal- to sit and sip coffee slowly. It is rare to quickly slug down a cup of coffee to feel more awake before class, something I am so unfortunately used to. In Greece, coffee is more of a culture, a daily ritual. A coffee break lasts much longer than it does in America, as there is no rush to enjoying a cup. Asking someone out for coffee is more normal than asking someone out for drinks or to dinner. Getting coffee is a way of catching up, or getting to know another individual.

Sipping coffee is a simple pleasure that I have been experiencing quite often during my time here. I typically make a cup for myself in the morning as I get ready for the day, or I order a cappuccino in between my classes. A Freddo cappuccino is a cold form of a cappuccino that is quite popular on my campus here in Athens. It has a milk foam on top which takes a while to settle. I order mine “medium”- which means I take mine with a little sugar- and it is delicious.

Coffee is a reminder that although I am transitioning to a new culture and perspective, it is important to simply sit and sip, slowly taking everything in.

The world awaits… it!

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