Bill & Salome
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Got a question about an aspect of Samos history, life or culture? Or perhaps a more general query about Greece? It's likely Bill will know the answer and will be happy to tell you… for as long as you've got!

Here's some of the more frequently asked questions he's answered over the years. We'll be adding to these all the time and if you've got a question about an aspect of Samos or Greek culture, send it to us and we'll aim to answer it here… email askbill@billandsalome.com


Greek coffee… help! What should I ask for?

Making Greek coffee is an art form all of its very own and I could go on for ages about it… there are some basic things to know when ordering a Greek coffee.

Firstly, there are three sweetnesses to choose from:

  • Sketo - no sugar at all
  • Metrio - some sugar
  • Glico - plenty of sugar

Secondly, don't drink it all the way to the bottom!

Greek coffee is made in a small pan… the coffee grounds, water and sugar (unless it's sketo) are put in together and then brought to the boil. This delicious mix is then poured into your cup and this means that the coffee grounds are left in the cup. This creates a strong coffee with a kind of "mud" at the bottom of the cup. When you drink it, sip the coffee and don't try to empty the cup! If you like your coffee, you'll enjoy a Greek coffee and if you really like it, you can ask for a 'diplos' or double.


Why do I sometimes see people knocking their glasses on the table before a drink?

This is a custom you will still see around Greece that dates back to antiquity and the time of the Greek gods.

Like every culture, we in Greece enjoy a drink and when we are with friends, we often raise a toast. In Greek we say 'Yammas!' (like the British 'Cheers' or German 'Prost'). At this point, you might see people knock their glass on the table before drinking.

This tradition stems from the ancient belief that wine (and no doubt other alcoholic refreshment!) was the "nectar of the gods". As such, it should be enjoyed by every one of the five senses – smell, touch (holding the glass), taste (obviously!), seeing and hearing. But how to hear your "nectar"? Easy… knock the glass on the table and there you go! You are hearing your drink and satisfying all of your senses! It's thought that the tradition in many countries of raising a toast and touching the glasses together comes from the same notion.


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