Standart guide to Athens coffee culture

Keith Parkins
Aug 20, 2018 · 7 min read
Lycabettus Hill and Temple of Zeus

Standart is not easy to find, and even those who stock it have difficulty in obtaining.

I was therefore pleased to find the latest edition in Pelicano on a recent trip to Brighton. They have only recently started to stock. They also stock Drift.

I started with the review of coffee culture in Athens. I was going to offer to write this, and regret I did not, as the review of Athens coffee culture is a grave disappointment, and does a disservice to Athens. But then what to expect from two days in Athens? It is as much what is missing as what is written. I expect better from Standart.

I often spend a few days in Athens, last year exploring the coffee culture.

As I was reading, I had heard at lunchtime a stomach churning claim by EU describing their intervention in Greece as a success, a cause for Greeks to celebrate. Nothing could be further from the truth, Greece was destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states, the money pumped into Greece, was to bail out French and German banks, it flowed in and straight back out.

Wandering around Athens, people hate EU with a vengeance. The EU has destroyed Greece, the people are suffering and seeing no end to that suffering.

Taf

Taf is not for coffee tasting, it is a coffee shop with people relaxing and enjoying a coffee.

There is not an extensive choice of coffee, though yes an excellent choice.

Also on sale coffee making equipment.

Mr Bean

Mr Bean, I was recommended by Taf, it is across the road from Taf.

It has recently changed hands, the roastery the same.

Tailor Made

Other than in passing, Tailor Made not featured. Excellent coffee, good place for people watching, amazing cold brew tower.

The Underdog

The Underdog when I visited last year, four world champion baristas, and I am pleased to learn have won again.

Roast their own coffee.

Mokka

Mokka is one of the few places where will find Greek coffee heated over a bed of sand.

Mokka coffee shop and roastery is located outside the Athens Central Market, opens at six, closes at five, to serve the market traders.

Unfortunately not possible to buy their roasted coffee in the coffee shop. For this the retail shop next door, which closes at 3–30.

Kaya

Kaya I was not impressed by, the coffee undrinkable. Passing trade, not people relaxing to enjoy a coffee.

I have though been told it is worth revisiting.

Warehouse

Even less impressed by Warehouse where coffee not good and service terrible.

Not a good place for sitting outside, not unless enjoy breathing in traffic fumes. More a trendy bar serving coffee than a coffee shop. I did not try the wine.

A year on, passing by one Sunday, Taf closed, I decided to pay Warehouse a second visit.

The service improved, still not great. Coffee reasonable, but not in the same league as the best coffee shops in Athens.

Excellent craft beer. A choice of three.

Warehouse for wine, by the bottle or glass, but not coffee.

Sunday, little traffic, therefore pleasant to sit outside.

Just Made 33

No mention of Just Made 33, excellent coffee, excellent food, excellent cakes.

Conveniently located, just off Ermou, a few minutes walk from Syntagma.

Little Tree

No mention of Little Tree Books and Coffee, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, only a few minutes walk behind the Acropolis Museum.

Coffee is sourced from Taf, excellent food, a choice of several craft beers from micro-breweries on Greek islands.

When visiting Little Tree Books, it is worth paying a visit to Ελληνικα Καλουδια, Ellinika Kaloudia, a lovely little deli behind the Acropolis Museum, from where I picked up green olive oil, first of the season from Crete, regarded as the highest quality olive oil.

Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies

No mention of Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies, excellent coffee and food.

As with Little Tree, coffee sourced from Taf.

Not easy to find, and when closed and the shutters down, impossible to find.

Closes at four.

Taresso

Taresso is also worthy of a visit.

Good food, excellent coffee.

Coviar

Micro-roastery, coffee shop and bar.

External appearance is that of a five star hotel.

Impressive espresso machine, a bar of white marble from Tinos.

Coviar is run by Christos Loukakis, a former Greek World Champion Barista.

Excellent coffee and ambience.

Foyer espresso bar

Were it not for my walking into a shop selling dried fruit and nuts on my way to Taf I would have walked past Foyer espresso bar without giving a second glance. One of many coffee shops. Had I given more than a second glance, I would have noticed a board offering guest coffee from one of the top roasteries in Europe.

Location not pleasant on a busy main road, on the other hand ideal for passing trade and university nearby.

Guest coffee from roasteries across Europe, including Square Mile and Koppi.

The only coffee shop I found with Standart on sale.

A few minutes walk from Taf.

Peek a Bloom

Peek a Bloom, bar, coffee shop and micro-roastery, sister coffee shop of Mind the Cup.

Hidden down an alley and difficult to find.

Of the two, I prefer Mind the Cup.

The Rabbit Punch

Out of the way. If do not die of air pollution en route, risk getting killed crossing the road. En route site of the first Olympics in modern era. I almost walked past, but for seeing sign of The Underdog. Overlooks a square, would be pleasant but for the traffic.

The Rabbit Punch is sister coffee shop of The Underdog. A pleasant enough coffee shop, but if used to the The Underdog, a grave disappointment.

The big plus, Michalis Katsiavos Greek barista champion, No 4 world championships 2018 in Amsterdam. Noteworthy for the limited edition espresso machine.

I took a different route back. Down a road with traffic. Then a ghastly main road, but opposite Olympics site, took a route that headed to National Gardens which avoided the traffic.

Barelldier

The only reason I went in search of Barreldier featured by The Life Lab in their excellent short film Favorite Coffee Shops in Athens. No barista or coffee shop had recommended I try.

Not worth trying to find, which explains why no one has recommend to me, and when I ask, do not know what I am talking about.

A bar tucked in the entrance to a mall, nothing more. A bar serving corporate coffee.

via Metro

The coffee shops mentioned are all within walking distance of Plaka and The Acropolis.

If wish to venture further afield take the Metro. But be aware, ticket offices not manned.

Mind the Cup and Manor House are both reached by Metro, a few minutes walk from Petroupoli Metro Station and near each other in the same street.

Mind the Cup

Mind the Cup, coffee shop and micro-roastery, a few minutes walk from Petroupoli Metro Station.

The only female coffee roaster in Greece.

Starts to become busy early evening, open until the early hours, two in the morning.

Manor House

Manor House, a few minutes walk from Petroupoli Metro Station, across the street from Mind the Cup.

Outside seating, bar, coffee shop, rooftop terrace, awards on rear shelf.

Novel use of Chemex as lighting fixtures.

Open until three thirty in the early hours of the morning.

Cafeistas

Cafeistas is a weird set up and somewhat surreal, a coffee shop in the middle of a run down industrial estate. A showcase for a coffee roastery, part of coffee chain Coffee Republic (not to be confused with a coffee chain of same name in England).

To say the least not easy to find.

Athens

Cannot visit Athens without visiting The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Ancient Agora, Temple of Zeus, National Gardens, Lycabettus Hill and of course wander through Plaka. On cool wet days, many museums to visit.

To eat, Plaka Restaurant in the heart of Plaka, and for a view to die for rooftop restaurant at Athens Gate.

Two ice cream parlours worth a visit, Davinci in Monastiraki and Coco’s in Plaka, of the two I refer Coco’s.

No, it is not a hike to the Hill of the Muses, well worth the climb with stunning views over Athens. Also take a walk down Koine Road.

Two other hills to climb, Strefi Hill and Lycabettus Hill with a church atop.

A stroll past The Acropolis and along Dionysiou Areopagitou then a choice, Hill of the Muses, straight on, visit a church then a long valley which is pleasant to walk along one side and return along the other side, or follow around The Acropolis and right along Apostolou Pavlou which at weekends lined with stalls and musicians. It also leads a back way into Agora of Athens.

What was a pleasant stroll at weekends, a buzz with stalls and musicians, sadly no longer is. Draconian measures to regulate, have killed the area. At least had. The autonomous market has been given an temporary reprieve and at weekends once again buzzing. But for how long? No longer possible to enter the Ancient Agora via the back way, the entrance locked, staffing cuts.

And yet major problems with unregulated AirBnB.

On the first and third Sunday of the month, an autonomous market in Exarchia Square. Local farmers and producers have their wares on sale, cheese, wine, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, soap.

More of course than a day, or even two days,

I look forward to Drift bringing out an Athens edition.

Note: Updated November 2018 following a visit to Athens in October 2018.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Keith Parkins

Written by

Writer, thinker, deep ecologist, social commentator, activist, enjoys music, literature and good food.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

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