Drinks of Cyprus

Find out about the traditional drinks commonly found throughout Cyprus...

Cypriot Coffee

There is a strong coffee culture in Cyprus with traditionally-made coffee often served in the morning. Cypriot coffee is made by mixing freshly roasted and ground beans with cold water and sugar in a briki, or coffee pot. The mixture is then bought to the boil, which produces a creamy foam (kaimaki) on top and is served short and black with a side glass of cold water.

In cafés, restaurants or one of the many coffee shops (kafenio) in Cyprus it is best to specify how sweet the coffee should be when ordering as it is served unfiltered and adding and stirring in sugar disturbs the sediment at the bottom of the cup. The thick layer of bitter coffee pulp at the bottom of the cup should not be drunk.

There are three main ways to drink coffee in Cyprus:

  • Sketo – plain with no sugar, strong and bitter
  • Metrio – usually with one sugar added, medium strong
  • Glyko – usually with two sugars added, sweet

Frappé coffee

Frappé is an extremely popular iced drink made with instant coffee. A little water and sugar (to taste) are added to one or two teaspoons of coffee, which is then whipped into a smooth foam with a small electric mixer. The froth is then mixed in a tall glass with cold water, milk or a mixture of both, depending on how the person likes to drink it. The glass is served with a drinking straw.

As with Cyprus Coffee, Frappés can be made in a variety of ways:

  • Sketos – no sugar
  • Metrio – one or two sugar
  • Glyko – two or more sugars
  • Olo gala – all milk
  • Miso, miso – half milk, half water
  • Mavro – all water, no milk

Beer

There are two breweries on the island, producing Leon, KEO and Carlsberg. The brewery also owns and operates the Cyprus Carlsberg brewery which opened in 1967.

Leon, first brewed in Cyprus in 1937, is the island's oldest beer.  It is still produced to the 1937 recipe at the Photos Photiades breweries. This was the first brewery outside Denmark licensed to produce Carlsberg beer. The Brewhouse was built in 2001 and used the latest technology to produce 30 million hectolitres per year. The Cyprus Museum of Natural History is located in the brewery's gardens just outside Nicosia.

The KEO brewery in Limassol, opened in 1951, produces about 30,000 hectolitres of lager monthly.

Wine

Cyprus is one of the world's oldest wine producers, however, with the new production methods Cypriot wine is sometimes referred to as "New World wine".

The most famous wine produced is the sweet dessert wine Commandaria. The native grape varieties are Mavro and Xynisteri but others are used too.

There are numerous wineries in Cyprus open to the public. Wine is also produced by monasteries, round the Troodos Mountains and production is based on traditional methods.

The town of Limassol hosts an annual Wine Festival in the Municipal Gardens at the end of August.

Zivania

Zivania is a traditional Cypriot alcoholic beverage with a light aroma of raisins. It is a distillate produced from pomace, the residue of grapes that were pressed during the winemaking process, mixed with local wine. The alcohol content is typically 45 percent by volume, though up to 90 percent can be found. Zivania is served ice-cold as an aperitif.

Zivania has been produced in Cyprus since the 14th Century but only became a protected product unique to the island in 2004. Zivania is usually served in a shot glass and drunk quickly.