Coffee. Without doubts European countries are affected by this culture. Coffee is a pleasure – sometimes a need – that a large number of people claim to be almost dependent. Swiftly consumed at the bar counter. Slowly drank at a bar table for hours.
Greece boasts – as well as Turkey and the Balkans – a deeply rooted coffee tradition. Despite the fact that in recent years the fashion of Freddo Cappuccino and Freddo Espresso is depopulated, Greek coffee remains a peculiarity.
Greek coffee is already surprising when it comes to ordering it. Usually they’ll ask you if you desire the coffee to be sweetened, half sweetened or bitter. Indeed, to prepare it, you have to boild the coffee powder in water; later you have to settle it for a few minutes. You should not mix the drink after the preparation. So that you can prevent it from laying on the surface. Then you can drink it.
After a few attempts you will be able to understand the exact amount of drinkable coffee. So that you can avoid to make your mouth black and white as the pitch. That adorable dust that transforms the mouth of a hell of dental tartar.
If you avoid to do not drink the pose for aesthetic and healthy reasons, you should also don’t waste it. As the ancient local tradition wants: in the dark dust there is the future. Your future.
To curb the protests of the agnostics, I would like to tell the experience that the I had going, unexpectedly, to meet my destiny at the coffee table. Living in a foreign country also means following its traditions. The most characteristic ones are even the most bizarre ones. I always used to associated the coffee reading costum with the Middle Ages. I never thought that it could still be so deeply rooted in the homeland of the oldest scientists in history.
In spite of Archimedes, the Greeks still have a strong link with mysticism. It is understandable by coming into places that are unlikely to appear, with unsuspecting people taking unexpectedly normal coffee. Looking carefully, you can see a single woman sitting at the table in the corner, looks around, smokes and smiles. And wait. After a few minutes a stranger sits in front of her and begins to talk. What a friendly Country is Greece! – you think. The continuous spin of the cup of coffee in her hands seems from the outside just the careless and unconscious gesture of someone who while chatting plays with a pencil.
Yet, that cup is really a pencil with which the woman is drawing the future of the person who is in front of her. What is the future? Humanity always wondered about future, and perhaps even Archimedes used to wonder about this, so enough that before dying, he exclaimed, «noli, obsecro, istum disturbare». Do not ruin, please, this drawing (Plutarch).
Being in front of a stranger who speaks about letters, cities, dreams related to the persons who have drank the coffee from that cup, seems to be a crazy moment typical of teenagers reading the horoscope. Yet, I assure you that the feeling of flame alive on my cheeks as the lady pronounced that word, that name and that city, I have really felt it.
The feeling of being in the Truman Show, turning around looking for a camera, watching the moon and greeting the director, came later. At that time, in front of that woman, I knew how to interpret her words. I’ve worked on it for weeks. I gave day by day an always different and more rational explanation. None of them, however, approaches the awareness had in that precise moment.
My conclusion is that the value of reading itself is nothing more than in our first interpretation.
Many generations share the coffee reading practice. And before the coffee grounds there were the cards. And earlier the animals’ offal, the birds and at the beginning – you can still see them if you look up – the stars. Before the stars, what was there?
Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια – In wine there is truth – said the ancient Greeks.
And in the coffee? Another adventure in this Country, another experience to feel a bit more tied to Thessaloniki.