Christos Lentzos: The "king" of the frappe drank espresso!

Christos Lentzos

It is Friday morning in the mid-80s when three students of the 3rd Lyceum arrive at the famous Lentzos in the afternoon. There is no free table even for a sample, and when, at some point, Christos Lentzos, who happened to be outside, sees them and asks the trio what they want, he receives the classic answer: "We came for a frappe. Put us somewhere. We took two buses to get here from Galatsi." The "king" of the frappe smiles and squeezes them into one of his legendary tables with two other boys, takes an order and disappears into the depths of his legendary patisserie.

This cafe is where infinite dates were given, romances were born, relationships were ended, and thousands of people enjoyed the legendary frappe that brought groups of friends from the other side of Athens to drink it.

His passing inevitably is the definitive end of another era, intertwined with jeans, Elviella, leather jackets and high school boots accompanied by the phrase "Let's go to Lentzos for a frappe".

From Milies to Athens

Christos Lentzos frappe

Life in the 40s in Milies, Ilia, was more than poor for most families, and the family of the then-young Christos Lentzos was no exception. At 17, in 1957, he decided to leave for Athens, which had just begun to recover from the German occupation while the Civil War tore the country apart.

He gets a job at Papaspyros's pastry shop, where he will meet his wife. He did not imagine that years later, he would open the shop that would make the best frappe in Greece right across the street.

He already has the idea of ​​opening his pastry shop, and when he does, the owners of the pastry shop tell him that it would be better to leave their shop. He did so but took four other colleagues with him; he added two more people from his village and opened "Lentzos" on Vryaxidos Street.

A few years later, due to a sick employee, his famous coffee will be born, when Lentzos himself will take her position and begin the experiments for the perfect frappe, in his opinion.

Truths and myths

Christos Lentzos

"The preparation of the mixture from which the frappe was made cost a lot," he said years later in an interview. "I put four tablespoons of coffee. A cup of sugar and a glass and a half of water. I put these in the mixer and made four coffees. Someone in Thessaloniki had made the frappe with a straw. I was the first one to make it with a mixer. People came to drink my coffee, not only from all over Greece but also tourists worldwide."

He makes 300 coffees with the two-and-a-half-kilogram package an hour when the other cafes were making 1000, but this never bothered him, even if the cost was higher.
"Lentzos" quickly acquired the reputation of making the best frappe, and in the decades that will pass, almost everything will be heard about his famous secret recipe.

"He puts baking powder," says one, "he has an egg," claims another, "pour a little cream", was also another popular theory.

Christos behind the counter, with the glass blender roaring continuously making coffee, is an image remembered by thousands of Athenians. The shop opened at five in the morning and closed at two in the morning, with the "king of the frappe" incidentally preferring espresso and leaving late at night.

End of an era

All the coffees that came out were sweet; if someone wanted it moderate, Christos would add another spoon or two of coffee to the famous cream of his frappe. Its price went from double digits in the 60s to 700 drachmas in the 90s, when Pagratiou Square was flooded with people who wanted to enjoy it.

Manolis Rasoulis put Lentzos in his song when, one day, when he went for coffee with his girlfriend but bumped into his ex!

After the experience, the lyrics "I was sitting in Lentzos and drinking coffee, and I see a guy with you..." emerged effortlessly from the great lyricist.

Hear the song:

The history of this particular cafe begins to end with the arrival of the crisis and the freddo espresso, and in 2013, the iconic hangout closed forever.

At 83, Mr Christos became very sad and withdrew with the memories and reminders of other, more beautiful and innocent years. Yesterday's passing spread sadness all across Athens.

READ MORE: Taste Atlas: 3 coffees from Greece among the best in the world!

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