Friday, December 27, 2013

Greek Coffee "to Go"

I think my husband, Nick and I had a significant hand in the relatively recent introduction of  coffee to go on the Greek countryside. Okay, well maybe not the entire countryside but would you believe in Epirus?

You're not buying that story either?  Okay, well you can decide. This is what happened:

Come back with me to Igoumenitsa, back to the year 2000. There was an issue that prevented us from stopping to sip a much needed cup of coffee. No need to go into details here, but suffice it to say that Nick and I were in Igoumenitsa on an important time-sensitive task and the clock was ticking away. We had to be back in Margariti, fast.  But, we were desperate for a little break, so we went to a little cafe on the main strip. We misjudged the time, however, as we sat at a table overlooking the harbor and awaited the two cups of greek coffee we'd ordered. So as the waiter brought them to us, we took a few quick sips and then told him we hadn't time to drink them. Nick seemed unable to make himself understood in Greek so I tried in English.

"Can we take it to go?" I asked the waiter.

"Go? Where are you going? Go ahead. Go to the place you're going.  I'll save it for you."

"No, we can't come back. We just want to take the coffee with us."

"Take the coffee?" He repeated it and the look on his face said, "Are you crazy!? Everyone has time for coffee."  But aloud he said, "It's okay.  Sit.  Drink.  You can go afterwards."

"Never mind." He didn't understand.

We got up to leave and were in a half-standing half-sitting position as we both took one more sip of coffee and turned to go.

"Oh no!" The waiter was distressed, "Okay! Okay! You take it."  And he handed us the cups.

"Do you have a paper cup we can pour it into?" Nick asked him in Greek.

"Of course not!" It was a ludicrous idea--to take coffee in a paper cup. An idea as foreign as we were.  So we took the little ceramic cups with us in the car. We had to. The waiter insisted.

And, when I returned to Greece, 5 years later, coffee to go in cardboard cups, was common.

I'm just sayin' . . .