Originating from the Mediterranean islands where the sun blasts hot every day, the Greek Freddo is a popular drink for many people across the globe. It is the perfect beverage for the hotter climates where you want to still enjoy your cup of coffee without it making you sweat. It’s a simple mixture that can be made with a variety of other ingredients to give it better flavoring and texture.
The Greek Freddo is typically made with espresso, cold milk, and ice cubes, but there are many variations that you can try at home. Becoming popular in the Western cultures around the 90s, you can find this drink in every café and coffee shop around the world and its popularity hasn’t waned in more than three decades.
History of the Greek Freddo
Starting in 1991 in Athens, the first Freddo espresso was made with ice as a cold beverage in place of a steaming hot cup of regular jo. Because of the temperature in the Greek regions, it was important for a cold beverage to be created that also had caffeine for that bolt of energy we all need in the morning.
The Freddo often gets confused with the other famous Greek drink, the Frappe. The difference is that a Frappe is made with instant coffee and not ground coffee beans that are typically used for espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes. The Frappe was invented by complete accident by a Greek Dimitris Vakondios in 1957. The change to the traditional instant coffee and milk came when in 1991, someone tried to make coffee with pure beans rather than instant powdered coffee. And so the Greek Freddo was born.
Originally, the standard hot cappuccino beverage was replaced with iced cold milk and coffee beans, creating the cappuccino Freddo. Now, it is commonly referred to simply as a Greek iced coffee. In Greece, you will find the natives referring to any cold milk that has been frothed, afrogala. It quite literally means milk that has been creamed. Even though the Freddo cappuccino and espresso Freddo is very popular in America and European regions, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece are still number one when it comes to making the most delicious cup. If you want to experience the true Greek Freddo, be sure to make a trip anytime you have the money and resources for a quick vacation away from busy life.
Common Variations of the Freddo
There are two main ways in which the traditional Greek Freddo is made. You can choose to either make it with a strong shot or two of espresso, or you can make a creamier mix by adding cream to create a cappuccino. It just depends on your personal preference and how strong you want your brew. You also get the espresso Freddo flat white which is just replacing the milk froth at the top with un-aerated milk and adding the espresso in last.
Currently, the Freddo espresso has been trending on TikTok for some time with millions of people showing off their homemade beverages and trying out different recipes. Many people are even experimenting with the process. Many have tried to put the milk in before the espresso or stir instead of shake to try to make different layers. Most of the time it just gets mixed into one color and won’t look as good as a café Freddo Greece.
The reason why espresso is overall better than other substances is because the liquid is thicker and denser thanks to high levels of concentration. Because of the pressurized brewing process when using an espresso machine, you can get a variety of different flavors depending on how long you brew and how much water is used.
Ingredients You Will Need
First things first. You need coffee beans for the espresso portion. The quality of the beans you use will make all the difference. Darker roasts will give you a deeper and richer flavor and texture. You can always dilute it with milk if it comes out tasting a bit too bitter. Look for full-bodied espresso with acidity that is relatively low but not too much. Some people like to use instant espresso powder for their Freddo cappuccino, stating that it gives a creamier aroma. You will need about two ounces for every cup that you want to make. That is the minimum standard for a double shot of espresso. Some people like a weaker blend, in which case one shot of espresso made with foam to create a cappuccino Freddo is the better option.
Next, you need hot water. If you are using the powder form of instant coffee, then you need to dissolve all the bits before you can the concoction to the ice. If you have purchased coffee beans for this activity, then keep the hot water for the espresso machine. The more water you add, the weaker the blend will be. Sugar is entirely optional. Some people love a sweet cup of coffee, whereas others say that unsweetened is the best way to taste the authentic beverage the way that the Greeks originally intended. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the basic espresso, milk, and ice. It will be virtually impossible to mess that combination up even if it looks weird.
The next two ingredients are milk and heavy cream. You can choose low-fat or skim milk if you’re watching your weight or are lactose intolerant; however, full cream milk will bring out the flavor of the coffee beans more. Some people even think that a Greek Freddo can be made with soya for vegans or restricted dietary requirements. The last item is of course ice. You only need two or three blocks for the coffee itself. If you are feeling adventurous, buy a bit of liqueur that is coffee or chocolate flavored. Alternatively, melt your favorite chocolate or caramel that can be lined along the inside of your drinking glass to give the drink a richer flavor.
Directions for the Perfect Cup
To start, make your espresso in your machine the way you normally would. First, try with two shots of espresso rather than one as you will find that the milk froth and cream might dilute the recipe too much. Place those two shots into a separate cup. Remember, if you are using ground-up powder then just add the coffee to the cup with hot water to dissolve. It won’t taste the same if you put the instant coffee powder into an espresso maker and it definitely won’t work very well. While the mixture is still piping hot, add your sugar if you want a sweetened drink. If you prefer honey or molasses, add it in and stir under everything is mixed in properly. If you plan on lining your glass with a sweet substance as suggested before, it is advisable not to add more sugar until you have tasted the final product.
You will need either a large jar or a shaker like the ones you get from cocktail bars for this next step. Do you know the ones that bartenders make martinis in? You will want one of those. They are easy to find at most general-purpose stores. Whatever container you choose, fill it up with ice and slowly add your two espresso shots. You need to shake the bottle or jar lightly but also for long enough so that the ice blocks can chill the hot espresso. If you add enough ice cubes, your drink should cool down rather quickly. Now, pour the mixture into another glass and keep it to one side.
Take the cocktail shaker, jar, or whatever you are using to mix this beverage and add three parts of heavy cream for every one part of milk. The more cups you plan to make, the more ingredients you will need, so plan accordingly. Begin to shake but this time, do it a bit harder than before. You want the milk to turn into soft peaks but it mustn’t be too thick. It must look similar to whipped cream, and be strong enough to hold its shape but soft enough to sip on. Simply pour the cream and milk mixture over your already cooled espresso and give it a taste. It’s good, right? If you are anything like most people, you probably added some chocolate sprinkles or cinnamon on top.
You may be surprised to learn that the Greek Freddo hasn’t been all that well known in some countries but this seems to be changing every day. This iced espresso drink is an integral part of the Greek heritage, culture, and traditions. You will find the Greek Freddo in most coffee shops like the popular Starbucks that incorporated the beverage into their menu in 2018. The Freddo, whether you enjoy it at just an espresso or a cappuccino Freddo, is the ideal coffee beverage to drink on the hottest of days.