Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Greece

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Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Greece, offering insights and tips for navigating the local coffee scene. Whether you're a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a newcomer to the world of coffee, this guide is here to help you immerse yourself in Greece's unique coffee culture while respecting local customs and traditions.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

To fully understand Greece's coffee culture, it's essential to understand the origins of coffee production in the country. Unlike many other European countries, Greece doesn't produce a significant amount of coffee beans locally, and most coffee consumed in the country is imported. However, there are some exceptions.

One of the most famous coffee producing regions in Greece is Mount Olympus, located in the northern part of the country. Arabica and Robusta varieties are grown in the mountainous terrain, providing a unique flavor profile to the region's coffees. Additionally, the Peloponnese peninsula is also known for its coffee plantations, particularly in the Arcadia region.

For expats interested in exploring coffee plantations and farms, there are several opportunities available in Greece. The Region of Epirus, located in the northwestern part of the country, is home to several coffee farms and co-ops that offer guided tours, tastings, and workshops. These experiences provide a chance to learn about the coffee production process, interact with locals, and gain a deeper appreciation for Greece's coffee culture.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Greece has a rich history of coffee consumption, and over the centuries, several coffee style drinks have emerged as favorites among locals and expats alike. Knowing which coffee style drinks to try is crucial to fully experiencing Greece's coffee culture.

Perhaps the most iconic coffee style drink in Greece is the freddo espresso, or cold espresso. The drink is made by adding three cubes of ice to a double shot of espresso, which goes a long way in the steamy Greek summers. For those looking to cool down while still enjoying the flavor of coffee, a freddo espresso is an absolute must.

Another popular coffee style drink among expats is the frappe, a whipped coffee drink that's perfect for those looking for a more lightweight caffeine fix. To make a frappe, instant coffee, water, and sugar are mixed together in a blender and blended until it has a smooth and frothy consistency. The result is a refreshing, frothy beverage that's perfect for sipping in the afternoon.

For those who prefer their coffee a little stronger, a Greek coffee, or ellinikos kafes, is an excellent choice. Greek coffee is made by boiling ground coffee beans in a pot with water and then pouring the mixture into a small cup. The sediment that settles at the bottom is not seen as a fault but rather appreciated for its unique taste. Many locals like their Greek coffee thick and strong, which may take some getting used to for expats accustomed to more watery coffee drinks.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is much more than just a beverage in Greece; it's an integral part of the country's culture and traditions. Understanding the customs and traditions surrounding coffee consumption is vital for embracing Greece's coffee culture fully.

One of the most important customs surrounding coffee consumption in Greece is the idea of hospitality. Greeks take great pride in welcoming guests into their homes and businesses, often serving coffee as a sign of hospitality and respect. Offering coffee to a guest is a way of showing that they are valued and appreciated.

Another important custom is the idea of coffee as a social beverage. Greeks often gather in cafes, bakeries, and other public spaces to enjoy coffee and engage in friendly conversation. In Greek culture, coffee drinking is a way of connecting with others, fostering a sense of community and social cohesion.

When planning to enjoy coffee in a social setting, it's essential to respect the local customs and traditions. Unlike some other European countries, it's considered impolite to add milk or sugar to your coffee in Greece; Greeks typically drink their coffee black. Additionally, adding salt to your coffee is a common practice among locals, which may seem unorthodox to some expats, but it's essential to respect the local customs.

Additional Recommendations for Expats

For expats looking to fully immerse themselves in Greece's coffee culture, there are several additional recommendations that could help.

One of the best ways to experience Greece's coffee culture is by visiting local coffee shops and cafes. Here, you'll find a wide variety of coffee style drinks, traditional Greek pastries, and a chance to interact with the local community.

If you're looking for expat-friendly coffee shops and cafes, we recommend checking out Meet Always, a cozy and welcoming coffee shop in Athens, or Silver Tea Pot, a popular spot in Naxos. Both venues offer a range of coffee style drinks, pastries, and a friendly atmosphere.

For those interested in learning more about Greece's coffee culture, there are several opportunities available. The Peloponnese Coffee Festival, held annually in the town of Tripoli, offers a chance to learn about coffee production, engage in workshops, and enjoy traditional coffee tastings.

Another great resource for expats looking to learn more about Greece's coffee culture is the Hellenic Coffee Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Greek coffee culture and education.


In conclusion, Greece's coffee culture is a rich and varied tapestry that's deeply intertwined with the country's customs and traditions. Whether you're looking to explore coffee production, indulge in coffee style drinks, or simply connect with the local community, Greece's coffee culture has something to offer. By understanding the customs and traditions surrounding coffee consumption and respecting the local community, expats can fully immerse themselves in Greece's unique coffee culture.

We hope this guide has provided a helpful starting point for expats looking to explore Greece's coffee culture. As always, we encourage you to stay curious, stay open-minded, and to always embrace the unique cultural experiences that Greece has to offer.