Why Coffee in Greece is So Expensive

I have to defend the high cost of coffee in Greece; it may cost 2 or 3 times the price of a coffee in other European countries, but it makes sense if you understand the Greeks.

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In Italy, a cup of coffee is consumed in an instant; a cappuccino takes a little longer. It is a matter of culture. Greeks have a huge variety of coffee to choose from, and the infamous frappe is exclusively a Greek invention, made from instant coffee, but definitely not consumed instantly. Making a Greek coffee, on the other hand, is a prized ritual, and it should not be consumed in a hurry, but sipped slowly. We also have espresso, cappuccino and American, and hundreds of variations of each of these, depending on how sweet you want them, or with how much milk. Starbucks has also invaded Greece, so we have 38 more types of coffees, at least.

But why is it so expensive? I said it was culture, now let me explain. Nobody that I know in Greece hurries their coffee; it is a social event that may take hours. Nobody drinks coffee alone, no one gulps it and runs.

The most expensive piece of real-estate in Athens is Kolonaki Square, filled with coffee shops, the beautiful harbors in Greece are lined with coffee shops, and if there is any piece of attractive real estate, especially with a beautiful view, you are sure to find a coffee shop.

When you order a coffee in Greece you are renting space for up to two hours, and probably using 2 to 3 chairs per person. Considering the coffee experience and all that goes with it, view, location, time, friends, etc, coffee turns out to be pretty cheap. You are partially renting space, usually in a great place, with friends, and you are viewing the passing parade of people, discussing sports, politics, smoking, twirling your worry beads, receiving and making phone calls.

It seems to me, considering the time Greeks take to drink a cup of coffee, it is money well spent. In fact, considering the pleasure derived from a simple cup of coffee, it may very well be the best value for money, especially if you learn to enjoy it like a Greek!

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