- Food & Drink
Strike up the bouzouki and start throwing plates. It's Greek drinks o'clock
Two weeks holidaying with my parents has re-introduced me to the delights of instant coffee. That’s right, I said the delights of instant coffee. And that I holidayed with my parents for two weeks. They live by the sea and the weather is nice this year. It’s fine.
Until I moved to London I thought coffee came in one format only: instant. There were different types of instant. I was pretty sure the sleek black jars of Carte Noire were more sophisticated than the Nescafé in my parent’s kitchen cupboard and, ever keen to make a splash and distance myself from my provincial roots, Carte Noire was what I bought to knock back the Pro Plus during late night essay sessions. But other ways of making coffee? No, didn’t know about them. It was dissolving crunchy caffeinated rubble in hot water or nothing.
Even moving to London didn’t really introduce me to coffee. There was this place called Pret-a-Manger that seemed pretty cool. You could get sandwiches with swish sounding fillings and things called ‘lattes’ and ‘cappuccinos’. But I mostly couldn’t afford to eat in there, and anyway I didn’t know how to pronounce the drinks so best to stick with grey cups of tea and watery beer from the student’s union.
Once I had a job I felt ready to embrace the frothy coffees, as my parent’s insisted on calling them (embarrassing). Plus, I’d watched lots of Friends by then and had nailed down the art of saying latte. Near my office there was a cafe that did lattes with shots of vanilla syrup – so much nicer than the standard bitter mix of milk and espresso. A vanilla latte and a croissant was my breakfast most days. By the end of the year I was a stone fatter and considerably in debt. Ruined by hot sugary beverages and French pastries – who says I can’t do hedonism?
Anyway, over the past few years I slowly got on board the buckets of milky coffee wagon. Thanks to Shona and The Dish and The Spoon, I finally learned what nice coffee is and how to make it. I’m all la-di-da London ways and nose-up at instant coffee these days. Until I come back home to spend two weeks lightly roasting (not dark roasting, obviously. Hilarious third wave artisan coffee in-joke there. Lolz) on a beach and realise there is just nowhere to buy iced coffee. What’s a girl to do?
Hit the internet, obviously. Typing in a hopeful ‘iced instant coffee?’ turned up pages of recipes for frappé nes, Greece’s great gift to the coffee-drinking world. My daytime drink of choice (apart from Mythos) when yucking it up on the Greek islands. How could I forget about you, frappé nes? I’ve been blinded by espressos and forgotten about the wonders of a well shaken instant.
Greek frappé (the nes comes from Nescafé, who’ve marketed the drink till it’s become irrevocably associated with them, like Hoovers and Sellotape) is a doddle to make at home and a boon for anyone who finds themselves in want of coffee beans, a grinder, cafetiere, aeropress, espresso machine or artisan coffee bar on a hot day. I make mine with a little sugar, but you can double it or leave it out entirely, depending on how much you fear the wrath of your dentist.
Makes enough for 1 person
2 heaped tsp instant coffee
2 tsp caster sugar
Measure out the instant coffee and sugar and put them in a jar. Add just enough cold water to soak them. Screw the lid on tightly.
Now shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture. You’ll need to shake for 30-60 seconds. The coffee and water will produce a thick, caramel foam (something to do with the proteins and there being lots of them on the surface of instant coffee granules).
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the coffee foam into the glass. Top up with cold water (add a spoonful of evaporated milk for a white frappé). Stick in a straw and you’re away.