Cypriot coffee and coffee shops
No Cypriot village is complete without a traditional coffee shop, called “kafenio”. The “Kafenio” is a very important place since the majority of Cypriots-especially men, use that as a central point of communication, a place to meet friends, to play cards games and “Tavli”. “Tavli” is the Cypriot version of Backgammon.
Some other people just pass time by drinking a Cypriot coffee. Cypriot coffee is ordered “sketos”, “metrios” or “glykos”. Here is how to make it:
Using a cup of coffee as measure pour water into a small coffee pan. Bring the water to the boil.
For a “sketos” put one teaspoons of coffee into the boiling water and stir well, until it froths up.
For a “metrios” just add one spoon of sugar.
For a “glykos” just add two spoons of sugar.
Cypriot Coffee is always served with a glass of cold water.
If you are invited to someone’s house to drink a Cypriot coffee, don’t be surprised if they turn their cups upside down after drinking the coffee. There are some people-especially women, that they can read your future from the coffee drains. Don’t be afraid to let them do it. It’s a nice way to start some small talk!
Zivania (also called Zivana) is a traditional Cypriot spirit produced in the island, around the end of the 14th century. It is distilled from carefully hand-picked grapes (including the stems and seeds).
Zivania is characterized by its unique aroma and taste. It is colorless and it has a pleasant alcoholic with light aroma of raisins. The typical alcoholic content is 45% by volume. It contains no sugars and has no acidity. Keep it at freezer and served chilled with the local traditional “meze” or dried fruit and nuts.
Since 2004, Zivania has been protected under the European Union regulations as a unique Cypriot product and as such cannot be produced in any other country and marketed under that name.
Commandaria (it was known as the Cypriot “Manna”) is a sweet wine produced in Cyprus since 4000 years ago. Commandaria is the oldest “appellation d’origine” wine in the world. The Cypriot Manna drunk by Greek Gods and mortals.
The King of France crowned it the “Apostle of Wines” in 1223 after wine testing more than 100 wines from all over the world. This wine soon became famous all over Europe as “Commandaria”.
Commandaria gets its name from the Gran Commanderie, an area which is located west of Limassol. The Castle was the Commanderia (headquarters) of the Knights Templar’s in the 12th Century. The wine became very famous among the Knights. It was consumed locally but also was exported to many European Royal Courts.
The production recipe remains unaltered throughout all these years. Commandaria produced by local Cyprus black grapes (mavro) and a fruity white grapes (xinisteri). The grapes are spread out in the sun for two weeks before pressed.